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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.