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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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