July 22nd, 2014
Are you as happy as I am that Weird Al is back? I’m already calling it the comeback of the year, and the one that the music industry desperately needed. It feels great to laugh again!
Al released his 14th studio album Mandatory Fun on July 15th, and along with it kicked off eight straight days of new video premieres (Foil being my personal fave so far). But right now is also the perfect time to look back at Weird Al’s best and funniest parodies and after over 30 years in the music business, he’s got a HUGE catalogue to choose from.
It’s so hard to pick just 10, but these are my top 10 Weird Al parodies of all time:
10. It’s All About The Pentiums (1999)
With his hideous shiny suits and in-your-face excess, plenty of people were making fun of Puff Daddy in the late ’90s. Weird Al got in on the jokes with It’s All About The Pentiums, his geeky send-up of Puffy’s rock remix of It’s All About the Benjamins. It pokes fun at everything that is cheesy about the original — the clothes, the girls, Puff Daddy trying to be a rock star — while also poking fun at late ’90s computer culture. Bonus points for Drew Carey’s cameo as Mase!
Funniest Lyric: “You say you’ve had your desktop for over a week? Throw that junk away, man, it’s an antique”
9. Headline News (1994)
Remember the Crash Test Dummies? You probably don’t, but the Canadian alt-rockers were honored with their very own Weird Al parody in 1994, a first for a Canadian artist or band. Headline News is a parody of CTD’s biggest hit Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, but pokes fun at the biggest tabloid stories of the time, including figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, and Lorena Bobbitt (you know, she’s the wife who cut off her husband’s penis). It’s a hilarious send-up of the kind of over-the-top tabloid culture that was just starting to take shape in the early ’90s but now surrounds us every day.
Funniest Lyric: “And then, there was this guy who/Made his wife so mad one night that she cut off his wiener”
8. Like A Surgeon (1985)
Weird Al could have picked any number of Madonna songs to parody in the mid-’80s, but Like A Virgin was a no-brainer since it was Madge’s most controversial song at the time. But instead of playing a virgin in heat, Weird Al plays an underachieving surgeon who’s nervous about “cuttin’ for the very first time.” And as a bonus, he also manages to poke fun at Madonna’s Lucky Star video at the very end.
Funniest Lyric: “It’s a fact – I’m a quack/the disgrace of the A.M.A./’Cause my patients die, yah my patients die/Before they can pay”
7. Living With A Hernia (1986)
Hernias aren’t funny. Like, ever. Except when Weird Al parodies James Brown’s Living In America and calls it Living With a Hernia. Just watch.
Funniest Lyric: “Can’t run, barely crawl/Got a bulge in my intestinal wall”
6. Trapped In The Drive Thru (2007)
You’d think it’d be impossible to parody something as utterly ridiculous as R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet, but that’s exactly what Weird Al did with Trapped In The Drive Thru. It may not be as well-known as some of his other songs and videos, but Weird Al really outdid himself with this one. It’s an 11-minute (!!) animated opus about ordering food at the drive-thru, so it’s basically a song about nothing. And it’s also only slightly less self-indulgent than the R. Kelly original, which is exactly the point. Weird Al never made multiple chapters to Trapped In The Drive Thru, but he should have – he really, really should have.
Funniest Lyric: “I said ‘You always get a cheeseburger!’/She says ‘That’s not what I’m hungry for’/I put my head in my hands and screamed/’I don’t know who you are anymore!’”
5. Eat It (1984)
Considering that he was the biggest star in the universe circa 1984, there was no way that Weird Al wasn’t going to poke fun at Michael Jackson. Good thing he did, because Eat It, Al’s parody of Beat It, is one of his funniest and most memorable. It’s also the one that introduced Weird Al to the masses and made him a star in his own right. Al admits that Eat It isn’t his most clever spoof, but MJ himself gave it the thumbs up, which was all the cred Al needed to get parody permission from other huge stars. The video is a near shot-by-shot recreation of the original, but instead of the gang members fighting each other with knives, they pull out forks and spoons. LOL. So gangsta.
Funniest Lyric: “You better listen, better do what you’re told/You haven’t even touched your tuna casserole”
4. White & Nerdy (2006)
“Gangsta” Weird Al is absolutely my FAVORITE kind of Weird Al, so naturally this spoof of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ is near the top of my list. If you’re a geek/dork/nerd and proud of it, than this really is your theme song and who better to write the ultimate geek anthem than the man who made playing the accordion cool (just a little bit). After being out of the spotlight for a few years, White & Nerdy was the song that introduced Weird Al to the YouTube generation. It also peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Al’s biggest hit to date.
Funniest Lyric: “I’m nerdy in the extreme and whiter than sour cream/I was in AV club and Glee club and even the chess team”
3. Fat (1988)
Weird Al had already spoofed MJ with Eat It in 1984, so Fat – the parody of MJ’s 1988 single and album, Bad, is a natural and hilarious sequel. Sidenote: in another nod to MJ, Al called his own album Even Worse! It’s easily one of Al’s most famous videos, partly because he’s spoofing MJ again and that’s always funny, but also because it’s SO WELL DONE. MJ let Weird Al use the same subway set as the original video, and he went through hours and hours of makeup every day to achieve the perfect “fat” look (pre-CGI, kids). Just like the rest of the world, MJ loved the video.
Funniest Lyric: All of them. It’s impossible to choose just one!
2. Amish Paradise (1996)
Most artists – including MJ and Madonna – had a good sense of humor about their Weird Al parodies, but Coolio (remember him?) wasn’t one of them. Legend has it that the rapper wasn’t laughing at Amish Paradise, an absolutely brilliant send-up of his 1995 Grammy Award-winning hit Gangsta’s Paradise. How anyone could not love this, especially Coolio himself, boggles my mind since it’s easily one of Weird Al’s most hilarious and clever parodies. It’s actually a better song than the original. But seriously: whatever happened to Coolio, anyway?
Funniest Lyric: “And I’ve been milkin’ and plowin’ so long that/even Ezekiel thinks that my mind is gone”
1. Smells Like Nirvana (1992)
Kurt Cobain himself said he knew Nirvana had made it when Weird Al released this send-up of their biggest hit, and really, it’s the mother of all Weird Al parodies. It’s so well done that it’s basically a shot-by-shot recreation of the original video, and even featured the original janitor and some of the original cheerleaders and audience members. Everything about this video is absolutely hilarious, from the lyrics, to Weird Al’s impersonation of Kurt Cobain, to the totally random things happening in the video (the guy on fire! The janitor in a tutu! The Dick Van Patten cameo!). To this day I can’t watch Smells Like Nirvana without crying from laughter. I challenge you to try!
Funniest Lyric: “It’s hard to bargle nawdle zouss(?)/with all these marbles in my mouth”Tweet