FEW WOULD HAVE GUESSED that “Weird Al” Yankovic – who as a shy, accordion-playing teenager got his start sending in homemade tapes to the Dr. Demento Radio Show – would go on to become a pop culture icon and the biggest-selling comedy recording artist of all time with classic song and music video parodies such as “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” “White & Nerdy” and “Word Crimes.” Now in his fourth decade as America’s foremost song parodist, he has been honored with four Grammy® Awards and fifteen nominations, including his most recent win in 2015 for Mandatory Fun.
In 2015 and 2016, Weird Al’s Mandatory World Tour encompassed 200 shows throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, including two nights with a full orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl and a sold-out show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. In the fall of 2017, Legacy Recordings will release Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic, a career-spanning box set of all 14 of Al’s studio albums remastered for 150-gram vinyl and CD, plus an exclusive rarities album and 100-page book of archival photos, all housed in a replica of Al’s trademark accordion.
Mandatory Fun, Yankovic’s 14th studio album (released July 2014), became the first comedy album in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and the first to even reach the top of that chart since 1963. On Spotify, Yankovic set the U.S. record for having the most tracks from one album in the viral top 10 at one time, taking the first four spots. Internationally, the album debuted in the Top 10 in both Canada and Australia (#3 and #9 respectively). In addition, ”Word Crimes” debuted in the Billboard Top 40, making Al one of only three people to have had Top 40 singles in each of the last four decades, the other two being Michael Jackson and Madonna.
For Mandatory Fun, Al released eight music videos in eight days, including “Tacky” (a star-studded parody of Pharrell Willliams’ “Happy”) and “Word Crimes” (an animated grammar lesson to the tune of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”). Combined, the videos accrued more than 46 million views in their first week alone.
In the wake of his 1989 cult-hit feature film UHF, his late 1990s CBS Saturday morning series The Weird Al Show and numerous AL-TV specials he has made for MTV and VH1 over the years, Yankovic has remained a staple of film and television, from appearances on The Simpsons and 30 Rock to a musical production at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards. More recently he has guested on ABC’s Galavant (as a singing monk) and The Goldbergs (as the ‘80s version of himself). In the spring of 2015 Yankovic joined the fifth and final season of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! as its co-host and bandleader, and he can currently be heard as the voice of the title character in Disney XD’s new animated series Milo Murphy’s Law (from the creators of Phineas and Ferb). Additional voiceover work includes Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Adventure Time, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, The 7D, Teen Titans Go!, We Bare Bears, Pig Goat Banana Cricket, Uncle Grandpa, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Bojack Horseman, and the DC animated feature Batman vs. Robin.
2016 saw the release of George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison (featuring Al’s live performance of “What is Life?”), while NECA Toys debuted the first in a line of retro-clothed Weird Al action figures.
In the last decade, Yankovic’s music and videos have only become more popular. His 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood spawned the Platinum Billboard Top 10 single “White & Nerdy,” the video for which spent two months at #1 on iTunes. In 2009 he wrote, directed and starred in the themed attraction Al’s Brain: A 3-D Journey through the Human Brain featuring cameos by his mother-in-law and Paul McCartney. Two years later, Comedy Central released the concert special “Weird Al” Yankovic Live: The Alpocalypse Tour, filmed at Toronto’s venerable Massey Hall. In 2012, The Nerdist Channel debuted Face 2 Face with “Weird Al” Yankovic, a fake talk show web series where Al got to “interview” some of his “close, personal friends” in the entertainment biz.
Yankovic added “New York Times bestselling author” to his resumé with the release of his 2011 children’s book, When I Grow Up (HarperCollins). The following year welcomed Weird Al: The Book (Abrams), an illustrated hardcover on Al’s life and career, followed by another Al-penned kids’ book, My New Teacher and Me! in 2013. An animated series based on those children’s books is currently being developed in partnership with the Jim Henson Company. Among other publishing milestones, on April 21, 2015 Weird Al had the honor of becoming MAD Magazine’s cover boy and the first guest editor in the magazine’s 63-year history.
For more information on Weird Al, please visit weirdal.com.