Combining music and comedy is such an enviable thing and for Weird, a man of immense talent, he combines both effortlessly which makes him arguably the best comic-music act in history.
Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic is an American songwriter, composer, satirist, comedian, actor, film and record producer with a career that has lasted more than two decades.
Weird Al’s records are mostly known for making people laugh as it mimics popular culture and often parodies specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several famous songs. He also performs original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, as well as polka medleys of several popular songs, most of which feature his trademark accordion.
His genres include Parody comedy polka and he has won and four Grammy awards and 11 other nominations in different categories.
Weird Al Yankovic: Early Life
Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born on the 23rd of October, 1959, in Downey, California. Yankovic is the son of Mary Elizabeth and Nick Yankovic. He spent his childhood in Lynwood. His father was of Yugoslavian origin and had moved to California after serving in the Second World War between 1939 and 1945.
While Al was growing up, his father always urged him to “do for a living whatever makes you happy.” Just before Yankovic turned seven, he had his first accordion lesson. Al’s love for music would stem from his initial passion for this instrument. After three years, Al Yankovic started to teach himself how to play the accordion, and he learned how to play rock n’ roll music by listening to Elton John songs.
In terms of comedy, he was inspired by people such as Frank Zappa, Shel Silverstein, and Spike Jones at an early age. Yankovic started Kindergarten a year early and ended up starting high school two years younger than his classmates. During his high school years, he took part in plays and joined several clubs, including the National Forensic League and the “Volcano Worshippers Club.”
Weird Al got his first accordion lesson on October 22, 1966, one day before his seventh birthday. He first took up the accordion when a salesman came around to solicit business for a music school.
Weird Al’s Education
He attended Lynwood High School, where Al graduated as valedictorian (when he was just 16). He went on to attend the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo to study architecture, a field he chose because it was listed first in the catalogue (although he has said that he chose it on the recommendation of a guidance counsellor). He finished with honours.
He had a radio show at Cal Poly and that was how he got the nickname “Weird Al”.
Weird Al Yankovic: Professional Career
His first recording was in 1978, titled, ‘Take Me Down’ which parodied the popular tourist destination ‘Bubblegum Alley’. A year later, he also recorded a parody of ‘My Sharona’. In 1983, he published his debut self-titled album, ‘Weird Al” Yankovic’ and in 1984 “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D’, his second album was released.
In 1985, he also released his third studio album, which had the hit single ‘Eat It’, the parody of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ and in 1986 he released ‘Polka Party!’ which however didn’t achieve great success. Furthermore, he continued to record albums most of which were successful, and in September 1997, he hosted a TV show ‘The Weird Al Show’.
The show ran till December, that year. During 1999, he also released ‘Running with Scissors’ and in 2003 he came up with ‘Poodle Hat’. Moreover, his recent works include ‘Straight Outta Lynwood’, and on June 21, 2011, he also released his thirteenth studio album, ‘Alpocalypse’ in which he mocked Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ with his version, ‘Perform This Way’.
Film and Television
Weird Al Yankovic’s most enterprising film project was UHF, a parody of the movie industry. The film fell flat and weakened Yankovic’s confidence for years. However, UHF later became a cult classic, and VHS copies of the film are now worth hundreds of dollars to collectors.
Weird Al has also acted as a host for various MTV shows, and CBS’s The Weird Al Show. Also, he voices the character of Squid Hat on Cartoon Network’s The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.
He has published over 150 original songs, appeared in movies and have hosted a handful of shows in a career that is over 20 years old. He is said to worth about $20m.
He’s married to Suzanne Krajewski since February 10, 2001. They have a child namely, Nina Yankovic. He is also said to be a Christian as he shy-away from drugs and alcohol.