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Weird Al White And Nerdy

Video Freak

Weird Al’s 10 Best Music Videos

Comedy Bang! Bang! gets "weird" this Friday at 11P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Weird Al/YouTube

When it comes to pop parody, there’s “Weird Al”, and then there’s everyone else. It’s been 37 years since a young Al recorded “My Bologna,” a riff on The Knack’s “My Sharona,” in the bathroom of his college’s radio station. Thanks to radio icon Doctor Demento, who promoted the song and the young artist, it became a hit, and opened the door for three plus decades of masterly mimicry. Now, with Al taking over the keyboard on IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, we thought it was time to rank his 10 best music videos.

10. “The Saga Begins”

“Weird Al” and Star Wars go together like Cheese Wiz and spam, so it makes sense that he’d pull out all the stops for his take on Star Wars: Episode I. Al, sporting an Anakin-esque rattail, retells the entire saga complete with an Unplugged-style Cantina performance.


9. “Jurassic Park”

Al has often experimented with animation for his videos (his 2011 album Alpocalypse featured videos from several different animators), and his parody of the Steven Spielberg dinosaur blockbuster was the perfect vehicle for Claymation antics.


8. “Word Crimes”

A stand out track on Al’s recent Mandatory Fun album, “Word Crimes” achieved viral success thanks to its visually distinctive video which demonstrated the many grammatical errors we encounter every day on the Internet.


7. “White and Nerdy”

Think about what it takes to master as many styles of music as the prince of parody has. Here’s a guy who started out playing the accordion, and yet here crafts some truly legit, tight rhymes about X-Men comics, fanny packs, riding Segways and Ren Fairs. The song — thanks in part to a clever video which featured cameos from Seth Green and Donny Osmond — became Al’s first Top 10 Billboard hit. (Look for Key and Peele as the guys in the car who can’t believe how white and nerdy Al is.)


6. “Amish Paradise”

Featuring The Brady Bunch‘s Florence Henderson in the Michelle Pfeiffer role, Al perfectly lampoons Coolio’s video and song from the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. There’s actually a bit of controversy surrounding this song. While Al always asks for permission before moving ahead with his parodies, there was some miscommunication between Al and Coolio’s record label. While Al thought he had permission, the rapper later claimed he never gave it. Years (and quite a few royalty checks) later the two made amends, and Coolio admitted he was stupid for ever having a problem with the song.


5.”Smells Like Nirvana”

Al had a bit of trouble getting permission to move ahead on this song, too. Apparently, Kurt Cobain proved hard to track down. When Al finally got him on the phone during Nirvana’s appearance on SNL, the grunge rocker had one question: Would the song be about food? When Al explained that it would actually be about how no one could understand what he’s singing, the rock star loved it, and gave permission on the spot. Weird Al would go on to use many of the same extras in his video that appeared in the original video.


4. “Dare to Be Stupid”

A pitch perfect parody of Devo’s music videos, lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh actually told VH1 that after hearing the song for the first time, “I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and… I hate him for it, basically.” The song would go on to be the theme for the Junkions in 1986’s Transformers: The Movie.


3. “Fat”

No one was bigger in the 1980s than Michael Jackson. Well, okay, no one except for Weird Al in “Fat,” who must have clocked in at a solid five-hundo, thanks to all the “ham on, ham on, ham on whole wheat or rye.” This classic video actually won the Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video in 1988, cementing Weird Al’s status as the king of parody.


2. “Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies”

Here’s a song with a fairly straightforward idea, combining the music from Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” and the lyrics from The Beverly Hillbillies theme song. It was the music video, which first appeared in the Weird Al feature film UHF, that stood out, using early computer graphics to precisely mimic the original video. In fact, the boys from Dire Straights were such fans of Weird Al’s spoof, band members Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher actually played on the song.


1. “Eat It”

In a catalog of classics, “Eat It” just might be Weird Al’s most famous hit. A shot for shot remake of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” the song riffed on all of the King of Pop’s bizarre quirks at the very peak of his fame. This is the video that took Al from a cult hit to a superstar in his own right.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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.