“Weird Al” Yankovic is America’s favorite musical parodist. His latest album is titled Mandatory Fun and it features such songs as “Tacky,” which is a parody of Pharrell Williams’s “Happy,” and “Word Crimes,” a send-up of both Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and poor grammar.
But, if you’re a fan of “Weird Al,” you don’t only like the songs. You like the videos, too. So, in honor of all that, here are the top ten “Weird Al” music videos.
10.) “My Bologna”
This is “Weird Al’s” take on “My Sharona” by The Knack. His lyrics, as usual, are completely ridiculous and hilarious, but the video is not — and that’s because he never released a real one. What we see here is a demo. Still, this deserves to be included on the list, because it was one of his first songs. According to his Wikipedia page, he recorded the song in a bathroom. And, unlike his later parodies, he had only his accordion to use. That’s impressive.
9.) “Perform this Way”
In this video, “Weird Al” parodies Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” by directly spoofing Ms. Germanotta herself. His first line: “My momma told me, when I was hatched, act like a superstar.” Also, instead of cross-dressing, he superimposed his head onto Lady Gaga’s body. It’s a bit jarring, yes. But it’s also priceless—especially since Gaga herself is so strange. And, even better, she reportedly enjoyed the parody. So good for her.
8.) “White and Nerdy”
“Weird Al” released this song back in 2006, and it’s his version of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty.” In the accompanying video, he portrays an extremely awkward and geeky white guy who keeps trying to talk to a couple of dudes cruising through his neighborhood in a low-riding car. And he’s not your average geek, mind you. This is someone who “knows pi to 1,000 places” and spends most of his time playing Minesweeper. Oh, and he still wears braces. Did you catch the comedians playing the two guys in the car? It’s Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, the stars of “Key and Peele,” the hit sketch show on Comedy Central.
As mentioned, this is his take on Pharrell’s “Happy,” which, arguably, is the pop song of the year. And “Weird Al” does a pretty accurate rendition of its video — with its goofy, upbeat dancers and its cityscapes. But it’s also a great critique of, you know, us: the social media generation. As he says in the song, “I instagram every meal I’ve had.” How often do we see people on Facebook or on Instagram proudly telling us that they’re about to have a sandwich? The answer: all the time.
6.) “Smells Like Nirvana”
Man, ’90s grunge. Musicians looked like they hadn’t showered, wore plaid, and wrote angry and depressing songs. I wasn’t old enough to truly experience it — I’m only twenty-five — but that doesn’t matter, because grunge never really left. Kurt Cobain is still seen as a kind of secular saint, after all.
And “Weird Al,” with “Smells Like Nirvana,” did a perfect send-up of him. It’s a parody of what is perhaps Nirvana’s most famous song: “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” In it, we are greeted with a “Weird Al” who has put on a messy blonde wig and has adorned a Cobain-like green shirt. His eyes are spacey, and he stares directly into the camera — just like Cobain. Some lyrics: “What is this song about?” and “How do the words to it go?” and “Now I’m mumblin’ and I’m screamin’.”
Sounds about right.
5.) “The Saga Begins”
It’s the Star Wars version of “American Pie.” Here, “Weird Al” plays Obi-Wan, and he’s describing the start of what was then the new trilogy. He released it back in 1999, right when George Lucas gave us The Phantom Menace. Most of it takes place in Star Wars‘s famed cantina, and it features these lines, which everyone who has heard this song knows: “My, my this here Anakin guy. Maybe Vader someday later, but he’s just a small fry. He left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye, sayin’, ‘Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi. Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi.'” It’s filled with fantastic references.
4.) “Dare to be Stupid”
This one isn’t a parody. It’s an original song. Still, the video is a hilarious take on Devo. And it’s just so weird — like, well, Devo. It has a talking chin, a bunch of people wearing traffic cones, magnified mouths, a green man slicing kiwis, a cowboy, “Weird Al” popping out of a bunch of mashed potatoes. What more could you want? Nothing? Good.
3.) “Amish Paradise”
Look out, everyone. After they’re done selling quilts, those Amish are about to party like it’s 1699. This is “Weird Al’s” parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” and it’s actually one of the few times which the original artist wasn’t too happy with the song. Coolio, according to Wikipedia, did not give Al permission to do the song, but Al thought he did. And he said “Amish Paradise” had “desecrated” his work. But he’s no longer mad and finds the parody pretty funny.
And that’s good, because it gives us a glimpse into the life of the Amish. It’s a hard, rough life — and a boring one, as Al’s character tells us in the song. “We haven’t even paid the phone bill in 300 years,” he says.
They have nothing — “not a single luxury.”
2.) “Like a Surgeon”
“Weird Al’s” doing surgery! And he’s really, really bad at it. He’s “finally made it through med school” — somehow, that is. He’s “barely passed at the institute” and now he’s doing surgery “for the very first time.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, this is “Weird Al’s” parody of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” It has him wielding a chainsaw in an operating room. He’s also eating a cheeseburger while working. And the poor patient’s eye just popped out…
This, friends, is the KING of “Weird Al” videos. Get it? Because it’s a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and he was the King of Pop, just like Al is the King of Satirical Songs.
Yes, I know that was bad. Okay, I’ll stop.
Still, that fat suit. And the crotch-grabbing. And the Jackson-style dancing while wearing that massive fat suit. Oh, the sound effects — and that fact that, if we don’t watch our mouths, he’ll sit on us.
I’ve watched it about six times today. I can’t get enough of it.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: “Eat it,” “It’s all about the Pentiums.”
“Weird Al” has been around for a while and has released many songs. Thus, many of you probably disagree with this list. So, which songs would you select in your top ten?