"Weird Al" Yankovic

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I am Weird Al, and I dare to be stupid!
"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life."
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons, "That 90s Show"

Alfred Matthew Yankovic (born October 23, 1959, in Downey, California), is a musical humourist with a career spanning thirty years.

Raised in Lynwood, Al got an accordion and lessons for his seventh birthday; according to him, his parents made the decision because "The world needed one more accordion-playing Yankovic" (the first being Frankie, who isn't related). When he went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for an architecture degree, he worked for the school's radio station as a disc jockey, where he got the nickname "Weird Al".

He sent three songs to the Dr. Demento Show, "Belvedere Cruisin'", "Dr. D Superstar" (never aired), and "My Bologna", a parody of "My Sharona" by The Knack. The Knack's lead singer heard "My Bologna", contacted Al, and got "My Bologna" released as a single. Despite a slow start, including a disastrous opening for Missing Persons, Weird Al released his first album on Scotti Bros. Records in 1983.

In 1989, Weird Al starred in the film UHF, and he had a short-lived CBS "kids' show" in the 1990s, The Weird Al Show. He provided the voice of the Squid Hat on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. He has been involved with the Transformers franchise twice: his song "Dare To Be Stupid" was played in the 1986 movie, and he provided the voice of Wreck-Gar in Transformers Animated. He had a recent cameo (as himself) in the Scooby Doo crossover episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold, where he defeated the Joker with his accordion.

Usually releases a new album and goes on tour once every 2-3 years, thus John Garabedian of Open House Party has stated that "Every album is his comeback album, and then he goes away until the next one..."

Unlike other parodic artists, Al and his band (who have been together since the 80s) from the second album on (the first album used accordion on every track in keeping with Al's trademark talent) have kept extremely close to the original melodies and instrumentation of the parodied song. The most extreme example is in "Trapped in the Drive-Thru", based off "Trapped in the Closet" by R. Kelly. To those not in the know, it sounds exactly like the original. Al is very sympathetic to geek communities and frequently gives them recognition in his songs.

Responsible for the Weird Al Effect, where a parody remains popular long after the original, and his habit of using pop cultural metaphors (AKA "Pulling a Weird Al") led to his being the former trope namer for that.

Since there are a lot of songs floating around LimeWire and other peer-to-peer networks falsely attributed to Al, The Not Al List was created to catalog these. A lot of these songs are raunchy, offensive, and the lead vocal vaguely sounds like Al, so since Al is the most-visible parody musician, his name gets attached to them, despite having subject matter and lyrics he would never touch. Even with the occasional subtext, he still aims to be a family friendly performer.

The best way to tell if a given parody song is his is to look for music videos of them on YouTube. Take your heart medication first. Wouldn't want to Die Laughing.

Studio album discography:

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic (1983)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D (1984)
  • Dare to Be Stupid (1985)
  • Polka Party! (1986)
  • Even Worse (1988)
  • UHF – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Other Stuff (1989)
  • Off the Deep End (1992)
  • Alapalooza (1993)
  • Bad Hair Day (1996)
  • Running with Scissors (1999)
  • Poodle Hat (2003)
  • Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)
  • Alpocalypse (2011)
  • Mandatory Fun (2014)

EP discography:

  • Another One Rides the Bus (1981)
  • Selections from Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)
  • Internet Leaks (2009)

Compilation album discography:

  • Greatest Hits Album (1988)
  • The Food Album (1993)
  • Permanent Record: Al in the Box (1994)
  • Greatest Hits (Volume II) (1994)
  • The TV Album (1995)
  • The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic (2009)

Videography:

  • The Compleat Al (1985)
  • UHF (1989)
  • The "Weird Al" Yankovic Video Library (1992)
  • Alapalooza: The Videos (1993)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: The Ultimate Collection (1993)
  • Bad Hair Day: The Videos (1996)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: The Videos (1998)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic Live! (1999)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: The Ultimate Video Collection (2003)
  • The Weird Al Show - The Complete Series (2006)
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic Live! - The Alpocalypse Tour (2011)

"Weird Al" Yankovic is the Trope Namer for:

"Weird Al" Yankovic provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Affectionate Parody: Pretty much all of his original works fall under this. It helps that he always asks permission from the source artist to do a parody of one of his/her/their songs (even though legally he's not required to do so).
    • Jackson gave Al permission to parody any of his work that he wanted for the rest of his life. The only condition was that Al not record a version of his "Black or White" parody (titled "Snack All Night") as he felt it would cheapen the message of the song. Al agreed and plays the song only at his live shows.
    • The only song for which he didn't actually have permission was "Amish Paradise", but there was nothing malicious about it; a miscommunication led Al to believe he actually did have permission, and by the time it was cleared up, it was too late.
      • However, Coolio (the original artist), got over it and gave Al a hug.
    • And then he ended up having the exact opposite problem he did with Coolio, this time with Lady Gaga. He announced that his 2011 album was delayed after he was given a flat "no" by her manager when he sent her a recording of "Perform This Way", a parody of "Born This Way" which was intended as the leadoff single. After several hours of Internet Backlash it was revealed that the manager never gave her the song to listen to out of the assumption she would hate it. This of course, turned out to be completely untrue and that upon actually hearing it Gaga said she loved it.
    • The only Weird Al parody that isn't affectionate is the early 1980s demo "It's Still Billy Joel to Me," which may be part of the reason it didn't appear on his debut album.
    • Al has also said that "Achey Breaky Song" is pretty harsh, and apologized to Billy Ray Cyrus for it.
    • "You're Pitiful' a parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" received Blunt's approval and was all ready to be included on "Straight out of Lynwood". But at the last minute, Atlantic Records stepped in and said Al could not put the song on the album. So instead, he released it for free on the internet. And then performed it in concert, slowly peeling off layers of clothing (in parody of the original song's video), one article of which was a t-shirt saying "Atlantic sucks" (and later "Atlantic still sucks").
  • All of Them: In "Jerry Springer": "Baby, I've been sleepin' with your sister." "Which one?" "All of 'em!"
  • Animated Music Video: Several, including "Skipper Dan", "Another Tattoo", and "Party in the CIA".
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "The Night Santa Went Crazy" and "Christmas at Ground Zero".
  • Anti-Love Song: He's got five great ones: "Since You've Been Gone", "I'm So Sick of You", "You Don't Love Me Anymore", "One More Minute", and let's not forget "I Was Only Kidding".
  • Arc Number: 27.
  • As Himself: In the series finale of Johnny Bravo, he played himself alongside Don Knotts as himself and Gary Owens reprising his role of the Blue Falcon.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Al doesn't perform the song "Hardware Store" because he isn't sure he could pull the coda off again, especially live.
    • Similarly, "Albuquerque" - he saves it for the encore, as it wrecks his throat and makes it difficult for him to sing anything else afterward.
  • Bait and Switch Comparison: From the December 1998 edition of "Ask Al":

Stacy of Louisville, Ky asks: Do you like Barenaked Ladies?
Yes, very much. And I'm a big fan of the band, too.

  • Big Eater: Not Al himself, but some of his songs are about this (most obviously, "Fat", "My Bologna", and "Eat It") enough to compile an album in the early 90s. The trope is inverted with his song called "Grapefruit Diet".
    • In fact, Al became a Vegan in the 90s, severely lessening his chances of becoming a Big Eater in the future (though he's not a strict vegan).
      • He's also said that watching himself eat while in the fat suit during the filming of "Fat" convinced him he never, ever wanted to be fat himself.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi" uses Yiddish as a Second Language to make puns such as "The parents pay the mohel and he gets to keep the tip."
    • "Perform This Way" has « Excusez-moi, qui a pété? », which means "Excuse me, who farted?"
    • "Taco Grande", much like the song it parodies, is filled with Gratuitous Spanish. While Al's simple phrases are mostly things about foods he wants and paying for them, Cheech Marin's cameo in the bridge is a lengthy recommendation and description of a particularly hot dish and the side effects of eating it, ending by asking if the stupid customer can understand what he's saying.
  • Bland-Name Product: Taco Belle, Starbux, Toysaurus and Homey Depot among others in the music video for "I'll Sue Ya".
    • Also pretty much every product shown in the "Whatever You Like" video, which is interesting, since many real-world products are named in the song.
  • Blatant Lies: "(This Song's Just) Six Words Long". The title/chorus might be just six words, but the filler's certainly not. A common fan debate is whether the song's title and lyrics are actually "(This Song Is Just) Six Words Long", which makes seven words.
  • Blind Without'Em: His eyesight was extremely poor until he got Lasik surgery in 1997. By then, his glasses had become such an iconic part of his look that fans were disappointed.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: See Motor Mouth below for the example.
    • "Virus Alert" has many examples, but most notably:

Turn off your computer and make sure it powers down,
Drop it in a 43-foot hole in the ground.
Bury it completely - rocks and boulders should be fine,
Then burn all the clothes you may have worn any time you were online!

  • Brand Name Takeover: Arguably the reason so many non-Al songs are attributed to him. There are thousands of amateur parody artists out there (all you need is an idea and a recorder to make one), but Al is the big guy on the block - no other parody artist comes close to his success. His name has probably become so synonymous with song parodies that this trope kicked in. Al doesn't like it, for obvious reasons.
  • Brick Joke: After 11 minutes of insanity, the song Albuquerque finally winds its way back to the original point: AL...HATES...SAUERKRAUT!.
  • But You Screw One Goat!:
    • "Virus Alert" lists, among the other consequences of the virus, making you physically attracted to sheep.
    • The spoken interlude of "Jerry Springer" also mentions this. "That goat doesn't love you!"
    • In "CNR", Charles Nelson Reilly "made sweet, sweet love to a manatee."
  • Butt Monkey: Ruben Valtierra is often put down by everyone else, probably due to the fact that he was originally added purely to handle keyboard duties on tour while Al (who usually does them on albums) handles other duties. Mostly just played for comedy, though it's notable that he wasn't credited or appeared at all on any albums before Running With Scissors (where he appeared face-down, with scissors sticking out of his back).
    • His first non-concert appearance in Weird Al's works was the video for "Headline News", in which he portrayed Crash Test Dummies pianist Ellen Reid. A noble start.
  • Call Back: One of "Al'"s costumes in "Perform This Way" has a hat with a train on it; this hat was also seen in "White and Nerdy".
  • The Cameo:
    • In Al's work:
      • Al works his mentor, Dr. Demento, into many of his videos.
      • "I Lost On Jeopardy": The music video takes place on a reproduced version of the 1964-75 set and features both Art Fleming and Don Pardo reprising their roles plus cameo appearances by band members, family members, Demento, and even the guy who sang the song Yankovic was parodying (Greg Kihn).
      • Seth Green and Donny Osmond make pretty hilarious cameos in the music video of "White and Nerdy"; Weird Al later returned the favor.
      • Drew Carey shows up in "All About the Pentiums".
      • Dick Van Patten shows up in a lot of his videos.
      • The video for "Tacky" features Margaret Cho, Jack Black, Aisha Tyler, Modern Family Eric Stonestreet, and Kristen Schaal.
    • Al in other works:
      • All three The Naked Gun movies. The first and last were As Himself. In the second movie, he's the criminal who Frank opens the door on.
      • Rob Zombie's Halloween II.
      • He performed the theme song for Spy Hard.
      • He is Banana Man in one episode of Adventure Time.
      • Al has directed several of Ben Folds' videos, and appears as himself in his role as the director in the video for "Rocking The Suburbs".
      • Al has played the tambourine with Hanson quite a few times.
      • He also got a humorous moment in Michael Jackson's music video for "Liberian Girl", which is a music video about a bunch of celebrities waiting to film a music video...

Blair Underwood: [Seeing Al's hairdo from behind, and assuming it's Michael] Mikey?
Al: No, but I think Bubbles is here.

      • He was brought in to discuss Autotune on Know Your Meme.
  • Canada, Eh?: Parodied in "Canadian Idiot," which is a satire on American nationalism.
  • Careful with That Axe:
    • During the bridge of "Jurassic Park" and the end of "Cavity Search".
    • The bridge of "Nature Trail to Hell"
    • "Albuquerque", but a box of one dozen starving, crazed weasels will do that.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: "Skipper Dan" is built on this trope. It's the tale of a former up-and-coming, critically-acclaimed Broadway actor... who is stuck giving shows on the "Jungle Cruise" at Disneyland.
  • Cloudcuckoolander
  • Conspicuous CG: The video for "Perform This Way" features Weird Al's head digitally superimposed on a woman's body. The effect works for the most part, but it looks just slightly off...
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Cross Dresser: Just listen to "Truck Driving Song".
  • Curse Cut Short: The last part of "Another Tattoo", at the very end, is the closest he ever comes to swearing in a song (and those times he included "slut", "hell", and, if you count it, "crap" in his lyrics don't count, nor does "You cheap bastard!"). The line in question? "Ow! Motherf..."
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: To himself in "One More Minute".

I'd rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass
Than spend one more minute with you
[...]
I'd rather rip out my intestines with a fork
Than watch you going out with other men

Cause I'm stranded all alone
In the gas station of love
And I have to use the self-service pumps

  • Deadpan Snarker: Watching Al in candid interviews where he drops the act reveals a subdued, deadpan humor and very dry, very, very sharp wit. A good example of this is the VH-1 Behind the Music special.
    • From the man himself:

Al: I wrote "Eat It" because I wanted to buy a house. It worked.

    • And: "There's enough people that do unfunny music. I'll leave the serious stuff to Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline."
  • Deconstruction: Not by him, but with his participation: the Behind The Music featuring Weird Al -- who's never had any real career adversity (by music-industry standards) or scandal -- deconstructed entertainment behind-the-scenes shows.
  • Die Laughing: In the video for "Party in the CIA", some of the agency's enemies have caught up with Al, and Al dies this way.
  • Digital Head Swap: Most notably in the video for "Perform This Way", a parody of Lady Gaga.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted. Al doesn't have that many problems with people downloading his songs, and instead has many more problems with false attribution, the type that labels him as the author of such songs as "Wienie in a Bottle", "Elmo's Got a Gun", and others that he wouldn't be caught dead singing.
    • He parodied the phenomenon with "Don't Download This Song", which, ironically, was DRM-free when most online retailers were stuck with it and can be downloaded legally for free.
    • Al also has a habit of leaking one or more songs from his upcoming albums early, usually by posting it to YouTube or some other such site.
    • And now for some Irony. YouTube seems to have blocked one person's upload of his music videos in the U.S. due to copyright concerns from Sony... said person is Weird Al himself.
    • Al also mentions in the DVD Commentary for The Weird Al Show coming across a fansite that was distributing episodes of the show, saying that he was fine with it as long as they stopped after the official DVD release by Shout Factory.
    • Al himself authorized his album Alpocalypse to be streamed over the internet a week before its release date.
  • Disturbed Doves: These show up in the music video for "If That Isn't Love" during a couple of repeats of the chorus.
  • DIY Disaster: "The Plumbing Song".

When I flush the john, it turns the shower on!

  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • The last verse of "I Remember Larry". The singer ends up tying Larry's mouth with a rag, "[dragging] him by the ankles to the middle of the forest and [stuffing] him in a big plastic bag".
    • The end of "I Was Only Kidding".
  • Doo Wop Progression: The chorus of "Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me" uses it.
  • Downer Ending: More than a few of the music videos.
    • "Party in the CIA" readily comes to mind, as the protagonist is captured and is about to be executed.
    • Averted by "TMZ", which is more of a downer song with a sort of heroic The Dog Bites Back ending.
    • "The Night Santa Went Crazy". Depending on which version you listen to, it ends with Santa Claus either in jail for several hundred years, or dead.
  • The Eighties: The "Dare to be Stupid" video.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • "Albuquerque." Emphasis on "epic".
    • "Trapped in the drive-thru" and "Genius in France".
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The music video for "Smells Like Nirvana," in one hilarious moment:

It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss???
With all these marbles in my mouth

    • And according to the insert for the CD, those are the actual lyrics.
  • Fan Flattering: Al's band (not Al himself, though he loves his fans, too) recorded the song "Al's Band". The third to last stanza has:

Straight Outta Lynwood we hit top ten
White And Nerdy went platinum too
We really hope that someday we might do it again
If we do we know that it’s all thanks to you
All thank you's to you
And you're welcome too
Come and see us play when you can
Then you can see for yourself what is
Making all of this happen
You're the reason why we play

  • Four More Measures: Lampshaded in "You're Pitiful".
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In "CNR", Charles Nelson Reilly goes onstage and starts attacking Weird Al's band, then smashes the "screen".
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: "I'll Sue Ya" is based entirely upon this.
  • Forrest Gump: "Gump" (parody of The Presidents Of The United States Of America's "Lump"). A verse from the song provides the movie's page quote.
  • Funny Background Event: Whenever the basketball players appear in the video for "Smells Like Nirvana".
  • Fun with Palindromes: The lyrics of "Bob" (a pastiche of Bob Dylan) are all palindromes -- as is, of course, its title.
  • Game Show Appearance: The subject of "I Lost on Jeopardy". Amusingly, he later appeared on Rock & Roll Jeopardy!… and lost. (However, he played a celebrity edition of Wheel of Fortune in 1994 and won.)
  • Gem-Encrusted: Like a swimming pool.
  • Genre Roulette: His band is good enough to play any type of music.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Although he's a mostly family-friendly singer, lyrics in several of Weird Al's songs go into grey territory. Notable examples include "You Don't Love Me Anymore", which talks about a woman having sex with an entire hockey team, and "Headline News" which mentions the Lorena Bobbitt incident.
    • In the music video of "Amish Paradise", watch the guy churning butter after the girl walks by.
    • The singer of "The Truck Drivin' Song" mentions wearing nipple rings and crotchless panties.
  • Grammar Nazi: See here and here.
    • Let's not forget this part of "Close But No Cigar"

She was gorgeous, she was charming
Yeah, she was perfect in every way
Except she was always using the word 'infer'
When she obviously meant 'imply'
And I know some guys would put up with that kind of thing
But frankly, I can't imagine why

And for no reason now I'll sing in French
Excusez-moi, Qui a pété? (Translation: Excuse me, who farted?)

  • Greatest Hits Album: The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic, Greatest Hits, Greatest Hits II, and Permanent Record, a four-disc box set of Weird Al's favorite tracks from "My Bologna" to his then-latest single, "Headline News" (which was only available on that box set and Greatest Hits II).
  • Green Eggs and Ham: Sung to the tune of U2's "Numb", but refused by the Seuss estate.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: The heartbeat monitor in "Like a Surgeon".
  • Hell of a Heaven: "Everything You Know Is Wrong" has someone violating Heaven's dress code, and getting stuck with the room next to the noisy ice machine for all eternity. (Suggesting that Heaven is a mid-priced hotel.)
  • Here We Go Again: From the last verse of "I Lost on Jeopardy!":

Well, I sure hope I do better
Next weekend on The Price Is Right

  • Hitler Cam: Used in "One More Minute" at the end, where Al rips out 'his' (plastic) heart.
    • Also the cover of and promotional videos ("Transmission 1" through "Transmission 4") for 2014's Mandatory Fun.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: "I Remember Larry" which has Larry being murdered by the target of many of his malicious gags, with the target making it sound like it was only another malicious gag.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "Amish Paradise" contains the line "I know I'm a million times as humble as thou art"
  • Hollywood Nerd: Al played this image up early in his career with the large glasses, white guy Afro, and cheesy mustache. Once he ditched these, around the time "Running with Scissors" came out (although a few videos before then didn't have them), it was suddenly discovered that Mr. Yankovic is actually very good-looking to go along with his geeky charm.
  • Hollywood Silencer: A sound effect in "Party In The CIA"[1]. Lampshaded by the lyric "And my silencer was on".
  • Home Porn Movie: Here. Compare the "White and Nerdy" video
  • I Am Not Shazam: "Perform This Way"[2] has the line "I'm Frankenstein, I'm Avatar". Not an Example of Cowboy Bebop at His Computer though, as it was deliberately invoked.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Parodied in "Perform This Way"

I'll wrap my small intestines round my neck
And set fire to myself on stage

  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Real life example: one of his long time band members goes by "Bermuda" Schwartz.
    • Another possible example in "I Remember Larry," after he talks about tying the titular prankster's mouth with a rag and leaving him for dead:

If the cops ever find him, who knows what they'll say
But I'm sure if ol' Lar were still with us today
He would have to agree with me - it was a pretty good gag!'

    • Most of "Party at the Leper Colony", but especially:

There's a guy in the hot tub, I don't know who
Wait a minute, it looks like Stu!

    • From "Perform This Way," regarding Gaga's meat dress, which the woman in the video also wears:

I'll strap prime rib to my feet, cover myself with raw meat
I'll bet you've never seen a skirt steak worn this way

  • Inherently Funny Words: Frequently among his lyrics.
  • Ink Suit Actor: His roles on Transformers Animated and Lilo and Stitch: The Series. Also appeared as himself on The Simpsons. Of course.
  • In the Style Of: At least half of Al's non-parodies mimic the style of another significant musician, perhaps the most famous being "Dare To Be Stupid", his take on Devo. In addition, every album but the first and fifth contains a medley of recent hit songs performed as a polka.
    • "Dog Eat Dog" parodies the Talking Heads, and includes modified versions of lines from "Once in a Lifetime". Al even puts on a David Byrne-style giant suit when performing this song live.
    • "Trigger Happy" is a take on the style of of every Beach Boys song ever. Except for the "Pet Songs"-era ones he later homaged with "Pancreas".
    • "Bob" is a bunch of palindromes sung like Bob Dylan. The video even parodies "Subterranean Homesick Blues".
    • "CNR" is a style parody of The White Stripes.
    • "Close But No Cigar" is an absolutely spot-on pastiche of the band Cake's signature style, including blurty trumpet, ad-libs (yelled off-mic), and rampant Vibra-Slap abuse.
    • In a lot of cases, his "style parodies" are a result of not getting permission to do a parody of an actual song by the band. For example, after Trent Reznor refused to let him do any Nine Inch Nails songs, Weird Al came out with "Germs," which clearly borrows from several NIN songs.
      • For similar reasons, he has done two songs in the style of Prince: "Traffic Jam" and the indirectly Beck-styled "Wanna B Ur Lovr".
      • Likewise, the opening lines to the very early "Buckingham Blues" were obviously supposed to be the beginning of a parody of "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar Mellencamp; presumably permission was denied, and he reworked the parody into an original blues pastiche.
    • "If That Isn't Love" is mostly a style parody of his close friends, the boys of Hanson, but there's definitely a few jabs at Justin Bieber in there too.
    • In a slightly less musical example, Carnival of the Animals, Part Two (the B-side to Peter and The Wolf) includes recited poetry in the style of Ogden Nash.
  • It Came From the Fridge: The aptly titled "Livin' in the Fridge" provides the page quote.
  • It's All About Me: "Waffle King", "Why Does This Always Happen To Me?", and "If That Isn't Love" all feature this trope in different ways.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Al's first show with his band was opening for Missing Persons. It was a disaster, with people booing them offstage and Al wondering if he should give up music.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played for Laughs (obviously) in "Party in the C.I.A."
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: "Don't Download This Song"
  • Jumping the Shark: A line in "Couch Potato" says that King of Queens did this. In the first minute.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Al has almost always been seen wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, black trousers, and brightly-patterned Vans shoes since the 1980s. Until Al had his vision corrected with LASIK eye surgery in the 1990s, his distinctive large wire-rimmed eyeglasses were also part of his trademark look, as was his "white-guy afro".
  • List Song: Lots. "Hardware Store", "eBay", "Bob" (a list of palindromes done in the style of Bob Dylan), "Virus Alert", "I'll Sue Ya..."
  • Long Runners: He's been around for quite a while.
    • As one Adult Swim Eyecatch observed, if you went back to 1984 and told people that Weird Al was still relevant in 2006 while Michael Jackson had flamed out, they likely wouldn't believe you.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, Jim West, and Steve Jay have been with him for almost as long. This is an unusual example in that these three are almost totally overshadowed by Weird Al himself.
  • Loud of War: "Achy Breaky Song".
    • Al reportedly didn't realize just how harsh this was until the album was released. To make up for it, proceeds for the song were donated to Billy Ray Cyrus's charity of choice (United Cerebral Palsy Association).
  • Love Martyr: "You Don't Love Me Anymore" takes this trope to extremes.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Christmas At Ground Zero".
    • Also "Good Old Days", a James Taylor-esque folk ballad about childhood. However, this particular childhood involved torturing rats with hacksaws, burning down a corner store and brutally beating the shop owner, and taking a girl from high school to a dance, and shaving her bald and abandoning her in the desert.
    • The last verse of "I Remember Larry"
    • "Weasel Stomping Day"
    • "The Night Santa Went Crazy"
    • "One of those Days" combines this with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.
    • "Skipper Dan"
    • "You Don't Love Me Anymore"
    • "Party in the CIA"
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In "A Complicated Song", he is merely frustrated about being beheaded.
  • M. C. Escher: In "White and Nerdy", Al explains he is Al's favorite MC.
  • Manipulative Editing: Al TV's fake interviews, where Al adds weird questions to a famous person's answers (original/edited). And sometimes, the interviewee acts weird enough to help!.
  • Memetic Badass: In-song example -- Charles Nelson Reilly.
  • Memetic Outfit: Earlier in his career, there was a particular pair of horrendously ugly pants given to Al that he wore at every concert (which can be seen on his first album cover). He eventually ditched them. Later, he was known for his large collection of Hawaiian-print shirts and Vans sneakers. He still pulls these out, though not as frequently.
  • Michael Jackson: The only artist to have more than one song parodied on a studio album, and one of very few whose songs have been so high that Al had to change the key for the parody.
    • Also Al actually delayed an album (which would later be "Off the Deep End") just so he could do a parody of a song off Michael's new album (Dangerous).. only for Michael to offer Al any song but "Black or White" (wWhich Al wanted to parody), because Michael didn't want to lower the song's message.
  • Mind Screw: "Everything You Know Is Wrong", among others.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Or, as he likes to put it, "Close But No Cigar."
  • Minsky Pickup: He throws this into several of his polka numbers.
  • Misplaced Sorrow: "Why Does This Always Happen to Me?" is all about this.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • A perfect example is on the album Straight Outta Lynwood, after his Rage Against the Machine parody "I'll Sue Ya." After an angry song like that one, there's an abrupt guitar chord, which is directly followed by a one-second pause going into "Polkarama," which has the Dance Craze "Chicken Dance" as an intro. Of course, that goes into a polka cover of "Let's Get it Started" by The Black-Eyed Peas.
      • A similar example is on the album Running With Scissors, where the Nine Inch Nails pastiche "Germs" is followed by an intensely happy polka (the first track in the medley being the Spice Girls, for crying out loud). Mood Whiplash at its finest, folks.
    • Within the song "That's Your Horoscope for Today", the prediction for Sagittarius goes from the lighthearted, silly predictions for others to "Kill them" in a deep, evil sounding voice without any music playing, then jumps straight back to silly in the very next line.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Ducktorate: Given the content of the song "I Want A New Duck," one presumes a duck of less-than-ideal behavior was already being dealt with.
  • Motor Mouth: The middle of "Hardware Store". He speaks at a rate of 242 words per minute, or all of the below in 30 seconds and in one breath.

They've got Allen wrenches, gerbil feeders, toilet seats, electric heaters
Trash compactors, juice extractors, shower rods and water meters
Walkie-talkies, copper wires, safety goggles, radial tires
BB pellets, rubber mallets, fans and dehumidifiers
Picture hangers, paper cutters, waffle irons, window shutters
Paint removers, window louvers, masking tape and plastic gutters
Kitchen faucets, folding tables, weather stripping, jumper cables
Hooks and tackle, grout and spackle, power foggers, spoons and ladles
Pesticides for fumigation, high-performance lubrication
Metal roofing, waterproofing, multi-purpose insulation
Air compressors, brass connectors, wrecking chisels, smoke detectors
Tire gauges, hamster cages, thermostats and bug deflectors
Trailer hitch demagnetizers, automatic circumcisers
Tennis rackets, angle brackets, Duracells and Energizers
Soffit panels, circuit breakers, vacuum cleaners, coffee makers
Calculators, generators, matching salt and pepper shakers...

    • Let it be known that the aforementioned listing is the main reason Al won't do the song on tour. He apparently doesn't think he can do it again.
    • Also in the middle of "Your Horoscope for Today," also all in one breath:

Now you may find it inconceivable or at the very least a bit unlikely
that the relative position of the planets and the stars could have
a special deep significance or meaning that exclusively applies to only you,
but let me give you my assurance that these forecasts and predictions
are all based on solid, scientific, documented evidence, so you would have
to be some kind of moron not to realize that every single one of them is absolutely true.
Where was I?

  • Mockumentary: Two, actually. There's the rare "The Compleat Al," made to help promote the Dare To Be Stupid album, and the Disney Channel combination Mockumentary/Rockumentary There's No Going Home, which was included as an Easter Egg on the Running With Scissors album.
  • Mondegreen: Done In-Universe in the song "Trapped In The Drive-thru"

I hopped up and said, "I don't know, do you want to get something delivered?"
And she's like, "Why would I want to eat liver?
I don't even like liver."
I'm like, "No, I said 'delivered'."
She's like, "I heard you say liver."
I'm like, "I should know what I said."
She's like, "Whatever... I just don't want any liver."

  • Mouthful of Pi: In White and Nerdy the title character claims to know Pi to a thousand places.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Lots, but "Hardware Store" sticks out most.
    • I present to you the tale of his trip to Albuquerque.
    • "Trapped In The Drive-Thru".
    • Behold! The most epic paper-shredding ever!
    • "The Biggest Ball of Twine In Minnesota".
  • Naughty Birdwatching: "Melanie".
  • Nerdgasm: The singer in "Hardware Store".
  • Nice Guy: Although fair-use law regarding parody mean Al doesn't need anyone's permission, he makes sure that he does have permission from an artist in order to poke fun. This has worked out for him in several ways, with the original artists often contributing resources to the final project to thank him for his politeness.
    • For instance, Mark Knopfler insisting on playing the lead guitar part for "Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The UHF video, in which the parodied musicians include Robert Palmer (Addicted to Spuds" never got its own video), Prince, and The Beatles.
  • Nose Nuggets: "Gotta Boogie". ("Gotta boogie on my finger and I can't shake it off!")
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In the booklet that came with Permanent Record, Al notes that the song "Midnight Star" (about ridiculous tabloid headlines) contained mostly real headlines from various tabloids. He specifically noted that he held onto one about The Incredible Frog Boy from the Weekly World News for years.
    • The telephone company's new service that lets you talk to the dead came from a late 70s-early 80s issue of The National Enquirer.
  • Now How Much Would You Pay?: Called out verbatim in "Mr. Popeil."
  • Once an Album: Almost every album[3] contains a polka medley of songs popular at the time[4], and one song in any style ripping on TV shows popular at the time. There's also always at least one song about food.
    • In fact, back when records were still released on vinyl, one of his early albums had "More Songs About Food and TV" scratched into the inner, blank area between the final track and the label.
  • One-Scene Wonder: His opening song number in Spy Hard was the only memorable thing from that whole movie.
    • Heck, it's pretty much the only thing anyone actually likes about that movie. It is the first film made by Seltzer and Friedberg, after all.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: From Trigger Happy

Oh, I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the den
I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again
Now why'd you have to get so mad?
It's just a lousy flesh wound, Dad
You know I'm trigger happy, trigger happy every day

  • Parody Assistance: Sometimes Al gets more than just permission to parody an artist's songs. Michael Jackson donated the subway set used for "Badder" (the kid version of "Bad" filmed for Moonwalker) to Yankovic for his parody "Fat", Ray Manzarek of The Doors played keyboards and bass on "Craigslist", and Mark Knopfler would only allow Al to parody "Money for Nothing" if he was permitted to do the guitar work himself.
    • Ben Folds played piano on "Why Does This Always Happen To Me"... which is a parody of Ben Folds songs. "Genius in France", a style parody of Frank Zappa, features Frank's son Dweezil on guitar.
    • Though more of a stretch, singer and voice coach Lisa Popeil has done female backup vocals for Al since 1983. The first song to feature her? "Mr. Popeil", a song that makes fun of her father's products and brother's infomercials in the style of The B 52s.
    • James Brown arranged for Al to record the music video for "Living With A Hernia" using the backdrop where he performed "Living In America" in Rocky IV.
    • On Al's 2011 album Alpocalypse, he did a style parody of Hanson called "If That Isn't Love." Al and the Hanson brothers are friends, and Taylor Hanson plays keyboards on the song.
  • Peacock Boy: "Perform This Way" (he also wears it in the actual music video)
  • Poe's Law: Some people believed that "Don't Download This Song" was actually trying to spread the message that Digital Piracy Is Evil.
    • There is also a faction of gun nuts that take "Trigger Happy" literally.
  • Poke the Poodle: "Young, Dumb & Ugly" is a song about this.
  • Posthumous Narration: In "Melanie".
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Jerry Springer"; appropriately, Yankovic himself doesn't use the word, but guest vocalist

Tress MacNeille does during a portion of the song parodying a typical episode of the show:

Tress MacNeille: Woofie, you bitch!

My friends are getting kinda worried,
They think I'm turning into some kind of freak.
Aw, but they're just jealous, 'cause I've seen Porky's,
Twenty-seven times this week.

  • Self-Backing Vocalist: A large amount of the time. Notable exceptions include female vocals, lines low enough to be sung by Steve Jay, and several songs such as "Trigger Happy" and "Don't Download This Song".
  • Serious Business: Going through the Drive Thru is very serious, and don't you dare forget the onions.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: "Albuquerque" is a long rambling rant all sorts of stuff but ultimately about how he hates sauerkraut.
  • Shaped Like Itself: "That snorkel's been just like a snorkel to me!"
  • Shave and a Haircut: Often appears near the end of the polka medleys.
  • Shoulders of Doom: When performing "Dog Eat Dog", a style parody of Talking Heads, Al wears a suit with massive shoulder pads as a spoof of David Byrne's Memetic Outfit. He also wears it briefly in the "UHF" video.
  • Shout-Out: These lines from "Amish Paradise":
    • According to Word of Al, "Slime Creatures from Outer Space" includes a line from an SCTV sketch, and the vinyl of Dare to Be Stupid had "More Songs About TV and Food" etched into the inner groove.
    • "Alpocalypse" has a song called "CNR" which contains a shout-out to Jim Croce.
    • There is even a Shout-Out TO Al out there. Chamillionaire's remix of "Ridin'" called "Ridin' Overseas" mentions "White And Nerdy". (1:59 in the linked video)

A year later, after "White And Nerdy",
On the grind, still tryin', still flyin' birdies.

    • "Running With Scissors" has two shout-outs to Monty Python. "The Truck Drivin' Song" to "The Lumberjack Song" (both about a man in a masculine occupation who likes to dress in ladies' clothing) and in "Albuquerque" a donut shop that has no donuts (referencing the "Cheese Shop" sketch).
    • "White and Nerdy" also mentions Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • Shown Their Work: About the songs and artists he parodies.
    • "Trigger Happy" and "Pancreas", his Beach Boys homages; the former song has elements of "Fun, Fun, Fun", "Catch A Wave", "No-Go Showboat", "Surfin USA", and "Little Deuce Coupe" in it; the latter has elements of "Our Prayer", "Do You Like Worms", "God Only Knows", "I Know There's An Answer", "Wind Chimes", "Heroes and Villains", and "Good Vibrations", all in one song.
  • Signed Up for the Dental: According to "Party In the CIA", they have a better dental plan than the FBI.
  • Small Reference Pools: In addition to the part about parody musicians, there are a number of people to this day (as evidenced by the comments left on videos on YouTube) that don't realize Al does original songs as well, due to his biggest hits all being parodies.
  • Something Blues: "Buckingham Blues" and "Generic Blues".
  • Song Parody: What he's best known for making.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": He doesn't like it when people pronounce his last name "Yank-o-VITCH" (or spell it with an 'H'). His band elaborates in "Al's Band".
  • Spiritual Successor: "Polka Face" is essentially "Polkarama!" with more modern songs.
    • Face to Face with "Weird Al" Yankovic, a Web Original which sees Al "interviewing" celebrities, is this to Al TV.
  • Stalker with a Crush: "Melanie". Complete with peeping into her bathroom with a telescope and willing to jump out a 16 story window for her love.
    • Also, "Do I Creep You Out".
  • Stealth Pun: "Polka Face" uses a section of Frankie Yankovic's "Tick Tock Polka" as a bridge. The next song in the medley? "Tik Tok".
  • Stepford Smiler: at the end of the "Skipper Dan" animated music video. Keeping the same tone as the rest of the song, it's one of the saddest examples ever animated.
  • Stock Scream: During the "Perform This Way" video, after the line, "I'll poke your eye out with a dress like this." S/he hits a backup dancer with the spiky dress and, well... "AAUGH!"
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Al does this a couple of times to get around cursing, like in this couplet from "I'm So Sick Of You":

You don't have an ounce of class
You're just one big pain in the neck!

    • Also "This Song Is Just Six Words Long":

I know if I put my mind to it
I know I could find a good rhyme here [5]

    • From "It's Still Billy Joel to me"

It's a big hit,
isn't it,
even if it's a piece of junk!r

  • Take That: "One More Minute" was written to get over an ex, and he rips her picture in the video.
    • Not to mention the lengthy one against Atlantic Records over his James Blunt parody "You're Pitiful," which eventually led to Wikipedia being forced to lock Atlantic's entry due to excessive vandalism.
      • Which was caused by Al pretending to deface that entry in his video for "White and Nerdy".
    • And let's not forget "Don't Download This Song", mentioned above.
    • There's also the unreleased "It's Still Billy Joel to Me" (parody of "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"), which is no more than one long attack on Billy Joel.
    • Al generally tries to avoid blatantly making fun an artist who has given him permission to parody their work, but sometimes he does his fair share of good-natured ribbing, example include the above mentioned "It's Still Billy Joel to Me," "Smells Like Nirvana," and "Perform This Way."
    • What about "Achy Breaky Song" and "Brady Bunch"? Both of them are about how he would rather watch or listen to anything but those.
      • "Brady Bunch" didn't target Men Without Hats, so there's no problem there. As for "Achy Breaky Song", Al chose to donate the single's grosses to a charity of Cyrus' choice after deciding the song was on the harsh side.
    • "My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder" is more sarcastic than harsh, and Al even apologizes in the liner notes.
    • "I'll Sue Ya" is about Al's string of frivolous lawsuits. "I sued Delta Airlines, 'cause they sold me a ticket to New Jersey. I went there, and it SUCKED!"
      • Not to mention "I sued Ben Affleck... *Beat* Aw, do I even need a reason?"
    • Al rags on Pauly Shore every once in a while.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • Generally averted by Weird Al in his song "It's All About The Pentiums." Some of the jokes haven't aged well (Millennium Bug, the trademark "Pentium" itself has moved from top-of-the-line CPUs to cheap bottom-shelf models, etc.), but the "Hundred Gigabytes of RAM" remains a decently large amount, and the "Flat Screen Monitor Forty Inches Wide" is still huge. However, it is oddly appropriate given that he talks about getting a top of the line model that was obsolete before he even opened the box.
      • The screen issue in the song is an Averted Trope because TV companies have the same problem with TV sets as monitor manufacturers have - there's only so big you can make them. The ratio to human eyes and human perception remain the same. If the price for the bigger sets went down, they would have to introduce a room-size to be their top, money-making model, and living rooms are only so big. Getting back to Weird Al, he actually lampshades this in "Frank's 2000 Inch TV". (A 2000 inch TV set would be 166 feet on the diagonal.)
    • Weird Al's first popular music polka medley was released in 1984 and titled "Polkas on 45", referring to 45 rpm record singles. At the time it was a bit of a joke - polkas were from an era long before 45's. Now that 45's have been out of mainline production for almost a quarter century so both are considered quaint now, taking away from the original intention.
      • It's likely his original intention was to reference Stars on 45, a group well known for making disco medleys of other people's songs. He did the same thing, but with a polka! (The title of his second polka medley, "Hooked On Polkas", referenced fellow disco medley project Hooked On Classics.)
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: Apparently the Columbia Record Club is too big of a commitment for Al.
  • Trekkie: "White and Nerdy":

The only question I ever thought was hard
Was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?

  • Turn Your Head and Cough: In the song "Living With A Hernia," the narrator goes to see his physician, Dr. Jones, who we are told takes off the narrator's pants and tells him to cough.
  • Triple Nipple: "CNR" claims that Charles Nelson Reilly had a third nipple on the back of his neck.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: Appropriately used in "Truck Driving Song". Lampshaded in "I Need a Nap":

Change keeeeeeeeey!

"Every twenty-seventh customer will get a ball peen hammer free!"

I gotta tell ya, life without a head kinda makes me irritated
What a bummer

  • Unintentional Period Piece: All of his parodies hark back to some (possibly forgotten) hit or the era it came from. "Headline News", however, is not only a parody but recounts a few of the big news stories of the early 1990's:
    • The "Kid who took a trip to Singapore" is Michael P. Fay
    • The "Girl who swore that someday she would be a figure skating champion" is Tonya Harding
    • The "Guy who made his wife so mad one night that she cut off his wiener" is about John and Lorena Bobbitt
  • Useless Spleen: "Pancreas" has the line "My spleen just doesn't matter."
  • What Could Have Been: Bassist Steve Jay almost got a chance to audition for Frank Zappa, but didn't quite make it. So then he answered a newspaper ad from some guy named Al...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out if Al got his snorkel back or not in "Albuquerque".
  • When I Was Your Age: The subject of the song of the same name.
  • Wiki Vandal: He pretends to replace the entire Atlantic Records Wikipedia entry with the phrase "YOU SUCK!" in 72-point letters during the video of "White And Nerdy."
    • As mentioned above, the real Wikipedia entry for Atlantic Records had to be locked because of legions of ticked-off Al fans doing the same thing.
  • Writer Revolt: Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch, widely considered his worst song by a wide margin, and deliberately so.
  • Yes, Virginia: Now Santa's Doing Time. In a Federal prison, for his infamous crime.
    • Or... Yes, Virginia: Now Santa Claus Is Dead. Some guy from the SWAT team blew a hole through his head.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: "Pretty Fly For A Rabbi," among others.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Al looks almost nothing like the above image nowadays, thanks to laser eye surgery and an image change. Some early videos ("Ricky", "UHF") foreshadowed his modern appearance.
    • Al himself has relayed a story of a television appearance he had soon after the surgery and shaving off his moustache (The Drew Carey Show, season 4 episode 4, "Drew Between the Rock and a Hard Place"). The people at the TV studio wanted him in his "classic" look, and got him prop eyeglasses and a fake moustache. Al described the experience as surreal, "like I was wearing a Weird Al costume". See it here.
    • Averted, however, with a recent appearance on How I Met Your Mother -- the segment Al appears in takes place in 1985, and he looks almost exactly like he did in those days.
  • Your Head Asplode: Al's head explodes while holding out the last note to the opening theme of Spy Hard, a Shout-Out to the rumor that Tom Jones passed out while holding the last note of the opening theme of Thunderball.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Al has described himself as watching too much television. Also the focus of a few songs, like "Cable TV".
    • Al has a song about television on nearly every album. Enough for his label to compile them into a full-length album of its own.
    • Hell, the song "Jerry Springer" is basically all about this trope.
      • So is "Couch Potato", probably even more so.

Notes

  1. A lyrical parody of "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus
  2. A lyrical parody of "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga
  3. "Weird Al Yankovic" and "Even Worse" are the odd ones out here
  4. The exceptions being "The Hot Rocks Polka", which is a medley of Rolling Stones' songs from a wider span of time, and "Bohemian Polka" is a double-speed full cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  5. Probably a rip on the parodied song rhyming the word "it" with ..."it."