By Joey Lopez
The older “Weird” Al gets, the less weird it seems that the man responsible for writing perplexing parodies such as “Beat It,” “My Bologna” and “Amish Paradise” is still selling out tours across North America, attracting audiences with his broad musical comedy.
Some might consider parody music low brow, but for the legendary Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic, it’s seen him nominated for five Grammy’s with a series of number one albums on the Billboard charts throughout his 40-plus year career.
Since he began releasing music in 1976, Yankovic has dominated the parody music scene as one of the only recognizable — and enduring — names in the off-beat genre. Yankovic was at the height of his weird streak during the 80s releasing hilarious versions of the biggest pop songs of the era at rapidfire. Most notable was his gastronomical parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” — “Eat It” — that transformed the pop banger into a deliciously catchy spoof. Its accompanying music video starring Yankovic sporting a massive fat suit while he dances and eats chicken wings was incredibly popular, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1984.
The end of the 80s saw Weird Al write and star in his first feature film, UHF, a hilariously absurd and underrated story about a strange comedian running his own indie fringe TV station that aired just about anything. It was a weird marriage between Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Tiny Tim’s performances on Johnny Carson.
Not the most sophisticated stuff, but his spin on Coolio’s “Amish Paradise” is arguably Weird Al’s greatest contribution to pop culture and he keeps on going with his latest “Strings Attached” Tour.
With the music industry often taking itself so seriously, it’s good there’s still someone like Yankovic, giving the relevant artists of our time the gears. Amidst the ever evolving pop culture landscape, Weird Al Yankovic remains relevant and, naturally, weird as hell.
“Weird Al” Yankovich performs on August 19 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Vancouver), August 21 at Save on Foods Memorial Centre (Victoria), August 22 at the Abbotsford Centre and August 24 at Arts Commons (Calgary).“Weird Al” Yankovic, Queen Elizabeth Theatre