Parody prodigy “Weird Al” Yankovich has been skewering pop music’s biggest stars with his much-loved mad-genius music videos and songs for nearly four decades. Many acts might rest on their laurels after such an illustrious career, but “Weird Al” is just warming up. In 2014, his 14th album Mandatory topped the Billboard 200 – his first No. 1 on the chart and a testament to his enduring importance as a pop culture agitator.
Now, The Mandatory World Tour has fans around the world – ourselves included – dying to see his wacky, way-over-the-top splendor in concert.
Here we created the essential “Weird Al” music video playlist to get you in the mood. Even if you can’t make the show, these lol-worthy clips will make your day. Enjoy!
1. “Weird Al” – Eat It
This hilarious 1984 parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” was one of Al’s first hits, and he joked at the time that its success was due to his “uncanny resemblance” to the King of Pop. MJ loved it – he was a big fan of Al’s work and allowed him to parody several of his songs.
2. “Weird Al” – Like a Surgeon
Not even Queen Madge was safe from Al’s razor-sharp wit. Madonna’s massive 1985 hit “Like a Virgin” became “Like a Surgeon” in the troublemaker’s deft hands, complete with an operating room video featuring loads of surgical shenanigans.
3. “Weird Al” – Fat
Al once again turned his eye to the King of Pop for 1988’s “Fat”, a parody of Jackson’s worldwide smash “Bad”. The zipper-busting clip features a padded Al and a crew of dancers recreating the epic dance battle from Jackson’s iconic video. Essential viewing.
4. “Weird Al” – Smells Like Nirvana
In this 1992 classic, Al lampoons Kurt Cobain’s famously unintelligible lyrics with a hilarious mumble-filled ditty of his own. The music video closely follows the band’s original, with some, um, minor adjustments (a janitor eating donuts from a mop bucket, a singing lamb, fans in flames, and more).
5. “Weird Al” – Amish Paradise
This parody of “Gangsta’s Paradise” caused controversy upon its 1996 release when Coolio claimed he hadn’t given his permission for use of the song. Al had apparently gotten the green light from the rapper’s label, but a miscommunication left some uncertainty. It’s all water under the bridge now, though – Coolio and Al have since made amends, with Al stating in a 2013 interview that “Coolio’s cool with me now”.
6. “Weird Al” – White & Nerdy
This self-deprecating parody of Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone’s 2005 hit “Ridin’” was Al’s first Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot 100, and for good reason. The spot-on video features a bespectacled Al nerding-out by collecting comic books, riding a Segway, and namechecking his favorite emcee…MC Escher.
7. “Weird Al” – Trapped in the Drive-Thru
Al’s 2007 parody of R. Kelly’s infamous rap opera “Trapped in the Closet” was named one of the best songs of the year by Rolling Stone. The animated short film that accompanied the release follows the track’s purposefully banal storyline in hilarious, wtf-worthy detail.
8. “Weird Al” – Perform This Way
This wicked parody of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” incurred the ire of Little Monsters everywhere upon its 2011 release. The video features a scantily clad Al putting his own ridiculous spin on some of Mother Monster’s most outrageous and iconic looks.
9. “Weird Al” – Tacky
Pharrell’s incredibly catchy “Happy” was literally everywhere in 2014, making it a perfect target for the “Weird Al” treatment. As usual Al didn’t disappoint, putting a hilarious spin on the tune and taking “Tacky” to tasteless new heights (or should we say depths) in the uproarious music video.
10. “Weird Al” – Word Crimes
English teachers and copy editors across the country issued a collective “YAAASSS” upon the 2014 release of “Word Crimes”, Al’s hilarious and grammatically correct take on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”. Al drove the message home with a supremely instructive music video that will appeal to all you visual learners out there.
All told, pop’s most prolific rabble-rouser has made 54 music videos over the course of his career — and he’s obviously not running out of ideas. This constant creativity extends to Al’s off-the-wall live shows, where he treats fans to an all-out music and comedy spectacle that always leaves fans rofl.
Check out a full list of The Mandatory World Tour dates, and pick up your Weird Al tickets today.