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A Definitive, Inarguable Ranking of Every Weird Al Album

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No comedy musician has sustained a career with the relentless furor of “Weird Al” Yankovic. For almost 40 years, he’s skewered the hits of the day with his trademark nasal voice and pumping accordion. Without him, he wouldn’t have the artists featured on CollegeHumor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame. To get you ready for his induction tonight, and because as humans it is in our nature to bring order to chaos, we felt it appropriate to rank Al’s entire oeuvre from worst to best for your listening pleasure. Note: This is studio albums only, not compilations or EPs or the Peter and the Wolf collaboration album he did with Wendy Carlos, so don’t get sassy.

14. Poodle Hat

The early ’00s were a pretty dire time for music, and Al’s 2003 release Poodle Hat reflects that with an uneven album of rap rock and Avril Lavigne parodies. (“Trash Day,” a tepid spoof of Nelly’s “Hot in Here,” includes lines like “There’s something rotten here/you better hold your nose.”) The disc’s only single, “eBay,” was a flaccid Backstreet Boys parody, and it’s one of only three Weird Al releases to not go gold on the Billboard charts. The only high point is the polka medley, which includes an unforgettable bit of “Chop Suey” by System of a Down.


13. Polka Party!

Al had his first commercial misstep with this 1986 release, which featured formulaic takes on a number of mid-’80s hits. His record company insisted he spoof another artist on the label for the album’s single, so we got the James Brown riff “Living With A Hernia.” When the album flopped, Al thought it was going to be the end of his career.


12. Running With Scissors

Al bailed from long-time label Scotti Brothers at the end of the ’90s after his career was in a tailspin, but it wasn’t enough to save this disappointing disc. 1999’s Running With Scissors seems like a rush job, with the geek-pandering “The Saga Begins” (set to the tune of “American Pie”) the biggest hit. Again, source material is a problem – when the artists you’re parodying include Puff Daddy and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, your album’s gonna suck, daddy-o.


11. UHF Soundtrack

Al’s 1989 movie effort UHF is a cult classic, but the soundtrack album doesn’t fare so well. The Dire Straits/Beverly Hillbillies mash-up is one joke stretched out way too long (and suffers without the video’s neat visuals), and the rest of the material hasn’t aged well. One track of note is “Isle Thing,” Al’s first rap parody which spoofs Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing.”


10. Alpocalypse

It took almost five years for Yankovic to put together 2011’s Alpocalypse, and taking away the up-to-the- minute nature of his parodies is the kiss of death. This album’s not technically “bad,” per se, it just doesn’t have any real reason to exist. The drama around Lady Gaga’s management denying him permission to parody her was more interesting than the song (“Perform This Way”) itself. One high point was the variety of animated videos created by Bill Plympton, Liam Lynch and others for many of the tracks.


9. “Weird Al” Yankovic

Al’s self-titled debut was released in 1983, and while it was a strong offering and featured four singles, it’s obvious that this was an artist who hadn’t realized his true potential. While the instrumentation is primitive, with the accordion featured on every track, the album has a low-fi charm and presence of an all-time classic (“Another One Rides The Bus”) is enough to make it a must-listen.


8. Bad Hair Day

“Weird Al” had a hard time adapting to the rapidly-changing face of music in the mid-’90s, but Bad Hair Day is perhaps his best effort from that era. Some of the tracks are forgettable (remember U2’s song from the Batman Forever soundtrack? What about Al’s dental-themed parody of it?), but the Coolio spoof (“Amish Paradise”) pissed off the rapper so much that Al feared for his life.


7. Alapalooza

Al’s 1993 album came only a year after Off the Deep End, and its rushed quality makes it a bit of a mixed bag. Doing a “Jurassic Park” spoof set to the tune of “MacArthur Park” is pretty genius, but parodies of Billy Ray Cyrus and Talk Soup (oddly enough Al’s song was originally intended to be the theme song for the long-running E! clip show) haven’t aged very well.


6. Straight Outta Lynwood

After a fallow period, Al came roaring back in 2006 with the biggest hit of his career to date, the Chamillionaire parody “White & Nerdy.” Tackling R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet,” a song so ludicrous it almost defies parody, put the album over the top. Boo to James Blunt, who nixed a parody called “You’re Pitiful” from the album (listen to it here), but his career is dead now anyway.


5. Even Worse

Al went back to the Michael Jackson well with “Fat,” and it created one of his most unforgettable videos ever. The rest of the LP is solid as well, with Yankovic hitting his stride with originals like “Stuck in a Closet With Vanna White.” Both Prince and George Michael turned him down when he asked for parody rights, making us weep for what could’ve been.


4. Mandatory Fun

Al’s 2014 triumph proved that the old dog still has tricks in him. On release, this platter of parodies of everyone from Iggy Azalea to Crosby, Stills & Nash shot to #1 on the Billboard charts – a first for any comedy LP – and the material is wall-to-wall solid. Al sampled from the entire history of pop for this one, nailing Imagine Dragons with the same vigor that he does a nine-minute Cat Stevens spoof.


3. Off the Deep End

After a downturn in his popularity post-UHF, Al took a few years and came back stronger than ever with Off the Deep End, satirizing the ludicrousness of the grunge era in classic style. “Smells Like Nirvana” nailed the Seattle sound at the perfect time, and the other parodies nailed ’90s stalwarts like NKOTB and MC Hammer.


2. Dare to Be Stupid

For all of Al’s success since, it’s inarguable that his heyday was probably the mid-’80s. His third release, Dare to Be Stupid, has him at the height of his powers. After “Eat It” brought him mainstream fame, Al became more ambitious with the follow-up. The Devo pastiche title track was so good that Mark Mothersbaugh called it “the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.” And it gave us “Yoda,” the Star Wars spoof that still inspires singalongs at Al’s concerts.


1. In 3-D

1984 was the moment that “Weird Al” broke through to the collective consciousness, and even 31 years later Weird Al Yankovic In 3-D still holds up. Part of it is due to the source material – Michael Jackson, The Police, Bob Marley – and the rest is due to Al coming in to his own as a confident parodist. This album also marked the first of Yankovic’s polka medleys, which would become a staple on every album to come.

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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.