“Weird Al” Yankovic

By: Sarah Weinman
October 23, 2009


To call “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC (born 1959) a parodist is to understate his technical proficiency and artistic skill. Anyone can satirize a song or a movie and upload it to YouTube, but Weird Al is a craftsman, first finding the comedic nut graf of his chosen song (from “My Bologna” to “Amish Paradise”) and then, line by line, rhyme by rhyme, polka riff by polka riff, matching song and parody down to the last semiquaver. Had Weird Al stopped there, he would have remained a regular staple on the Dr. Demento Radio Show, merely a curious oddity. His career coincided with the rise of the music video, however, and he extended his parodic gifts into that medium. Now not only was he turning the hyperkinetic rhythms of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” into the embrace of corpulence that is “Fat,” but his “Fat” video mirrored every detail, from the wristbands to the dance moves to the set, of the Scorsese-directed Jackson video. Even in today’s user-generated sea of funny, Yankovic has demonstrated to a younger, more jaded generation that is it possible for one and all to embrace being “White and Nerdy.”


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Baby Jane Holzer |

READ MORE about members of the Original Generation X (1954–1963).


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