DID YOU READ

10 Essential Weird Al Yankovic Videos

Weird Al

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He’s weird, he’s Al, he’s Yankovic. The enduring icon of pop music parody, and the lovable goofball who makes polka medleys. There’s nobody who’s made a career out of novelty hits like “Weird” Al Yankovic, and thus there’s nobody who’s endured, evolved and improved in that craft so much that his original songs are often more entertaining than his spoofs. As he’s matured in the decades since his initial Dr. Demento hit “My Bologna” to riff on The Knack’s “My Sharona,” Yankovic has also gone into directing videos for other bands as well, which you might’ve guessed by the memorable inventiveness of the ones he puts forth for his own music. So let’s take a look at ten essential music videos from “Weird” Al Yankovic’s extensive catalog, stretching back over the last 30 years.


1. “Eat It”

This incredibly faithful shot-for-shot skewering of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” really put Al on the map, pointing out all of The King of Pop’s oddball foibles at the height of his fevered-pitch fame and worldwide adoration – back before anyone thought he even had them… even though he wore spangly jackets with epaulets. Either way, the attention to detail, the random nuttiness and riding a sped-up riff that was the most popular hit in the world delighted kids and adults alike. It was hilarious to watch this dorky white guy with glasses and a mustache mocking MJ’s every move and even his intensity.


2. “I Lost on Jeopardy”

This Greg Kihn Band parody is essential more as a time capsule than anything else, as few people remember that Jeopardy! existed before Alex Trebek. The original host was Art Fleming, and Don Pardo handled the announcing duties, and three months after the release of this song, Trebek showed up to take the reins, where he continues to this day. This video also features an appearance from Dr. Demento himself, the man responsible for exposing “Weird Al” to the world through his legendary novelty hit radio show.


3. “Dare to be Stupid”

The three staples of the Weird Al method of satire are A.) up-tempo parodies of popular hits of today, B.) polka medleys of popular hits of today and C.) original songs that aren’t direct riffs, but rather a great encapsulation of an artist’s particular style or genre. The title track to his 1985 album celebrated all things Devo… and all things stupid. Crazily imaginative and absolutely absurd, this video is a visual feast of strange old film footage and new-wave madness, and the song somehow ended up on the soundtrack to 1986’s “The Transformers: The Movie.” Go figure.


4. “Fat”

Returning to Michael Jackson – it was hard NOT to, considering his dominance of the popular music scene throughout the 1980s, and it was hard not to want to, considering that Jackson was a big fan of Al’s work – he donned a massive suit of pseudo-flesh to take MJ’s “Thriller” follow-up “Bad” into territory obese with comic potential. Legend has it that, when seeking out his compatriots for this video, he put an ad in the paper that just asked for “fat dancers,” and these guys all showed up – on the same actual set Jackson used for his video. Again, the shot-for-shot detail is impressive, and the crotch-grab is now in full-force, as are the inexplicable whiplash sound effects that MJ had taken to. The mouse-trap gag never gets old, either. He even pokes fun at the pompous extended edition of “Bad,” and there’s no line of dialog in popular culture anywhere as powerfully effective as “Yo, Ding Dong, man, Ding Dong. Ding Dong, yo.” 


5. “Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies”

To be honest, this particular clip – the “Beverly Hilbillies” theme computer-animated like the Dire Straits video – isn’t so much essential in its own right, but it’s included here because of the necessity of the hilarious movie it’s culled from. “UHF,” Al’s feature film that got drowned out at the box office by Tim Burton’s “Batman,” has become an absolute cult classic with its clever sketch comedy woven through a narrative that features the pre-Kramer Michael Richards going full-bore crazy with physical comedy. Much like the original version of “Jeopardy!,” folks today likely don’t even remember what UHF even means. It’s a reminder of the pre-internet days of television’s wild frontier – if you found a station on the UHF band, chances are it was something weirder than Al.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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