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An Ode To Al

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the vixens-in-therapy-and-donners-still-nervous dept.


bwfcusa16 writes "The Boston Globe has up a feature story on Weird Al in its Sunday edition. The article refers to his staying power as prince of the parody. It's an ode to his determination, talent, and relevance ... and, of course, the funny." From the article: "Novelty artists--and he is one--have a notoriously short lifespan. They age badly, they run out of gags. But Al, by simply refusing to stop, has turned himself into a sort of cultural Geiger counter, ticking and squawking around the hot zones. The oddity of a humorist titling himself like a pro wrestler (there's no "Funny Jerry" Seinfeld) has long since worn off--he's the champ, and he's earned it.

cancel ×


Moo (4, Informative)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542490)

Nice that he got an article, but....

it isn't comprehensive in the slightest.

doesn't mention Al-TV "taking over" M-TV for a half-hour.

doesn't mention the problems he's had except one album.

Must be slow news day.

Re:Moo (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542538)

I had an email from Al in my inbox this morning. It was an invitation to enter a contest that would send me to Vegas for a Weird Al Show. Sadly, the contest turned out to not include people outside of the USA. And here I thought Al wanted to be my pal.

Still, I'll enjoy all of his albums, even though my heart broke just a little today.

Perhaps this will make you feel better: (4, Informative)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543662)

From Al on MySpace: (no, I can't be bothered formatting it)

Hey everybody, Apparently there is some creep out there pretending to be me, and he has been spamming my MySpace friends list with offers to see me in Las Vegas if people sign up for a lot of garbage online. Just to be clear, this is definitely NOT ME. This is an IMPOSTOR, and we are looking into having his MySpace account yanked, after which he will hopefully be flogged and tortured. I'm very sorry if any of you were inconvenienced by this. Really, I don't suck. Thanks, Al Yankovic

I never actually got the invite, though I did get a very similar-sounding one supposedly from the Goo Goo Dolls. I guess that was a dud too.

Re:Moo (1)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542584)

Must be slow news day.

Could've been worse. It could've been kdawson, in which case we'd have yet another "Stolen Election Sunday".

Not Artificial Intelligence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542494)

The gratitude of ACs everywhere goes to anyone posting an Ode to A.I.

Re:Not Artificial Intelligence? (1, Funny)

Instine (963303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543734)

For many dream of a silocone pal Less fake than Pam, more friendly than HAL For others its purpose is clear , to help missiles stear But AI has but one reason d'etre, for a real geek Which is to learn to speak. Not in a robotic and predictable way, But convincing enough for it to say: Jonny can't come to school today.

Is this what passes for a story nowadays? (0, Troll)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542498)

I mean, come on; I like Al just as much as the next guy, but wow.... a front page story to this story, which has very little on Al or his career? Given, it does have some highlights. ...

I'm going to bed.

Article summary: (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542500)

"Pretty fly for a weird guy."

Re:Article summary: (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542934)

Spot on.

Nothing to see here, please move along (4, Informative)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542512)

Seriously, there is nothing in that article worth reading for anyone with a passing aquaintance to Weird Al. Why don't you spend your time by going to iTunes or the record store and picking up his new CD (he has said he makes vastly more money from the CD sales, if that makes your decision easier). "White and Nerdy" is one of the funniest songs I have ever heard, and I've all but adopted it as my personal anthem.

Re:Nothing to see here, please move along (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542594)

Code Monkey [] is a close second.

Re:Nothing to see here, please move along (1)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542670)

Theme song is the most eccentric one, by far. Must. . . Live. . . In. . . Sewer. . ..

DRM? (1)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542916)

I saw this CD in the store, but it had a sticker saying it "doesn't conform to CD standards" and "may not play in some computer CD drives", so I passed. If this is a parody sticker, too, then I might reconsider, but if he's seriously into helping the record companies with this, I'll move on.

Yeah, he had "Don't download this song" but you never know...

Re:DRM? (4, Informative)

Mr. Hankey (95668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543170)

FWIW, to my knowledge there's nothing on the disc that prevents it from being copied. As I always do with my CDs, I ripped the disc to my computer and put the CD on the shelf. After looking at the videos on the other side that is. I suppose I might have watched the DVD half more if it had the "White and Nerdy" video on it, but the animations aren't terrible and the album itself doesn't disappoint this long-time Al fan. For those who care, which excludes myself, there are enhanced stereo and surround versions on the DVD side as well. Anyway, White & Nerdy, Canadian Idiot and Trapped in the Drive-Thru (a great sendup of Trapped in the Closet) were the album's high points for me. Even "Don't download this song" has enough sarcasm to make it funny, in a "We are the world" parody sort of way.

Re:DRM? (2, Informative)

FuzzyFox (772046) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543214)

I read that sticker with some trepidation too, but I haven't had any trouble ripping the tracks and encoding them for my MP3 player. The disc appears to be a standard red book audio disc. I can't figure out what is supposed to be different about it. The only thing odd is, of course, that it is a DVD on one side, and a CD on the other side. I believe that makes it slightly thicker than a normal CD? Perhaps that is what makes it "non-conformant" to the CD standards.

The disc is not copy-protected in any way that I can detect.

Re:DRM? (2, Informative)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543428)

At least some computers (such as mine) have issues with ripping it.

And my car CD player doesn't like the CD/DVD - there's potential jamming issues with the DualDiss format.

Re:DRM? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543296)

That sticker was there because the "CD" is actually a DualDisc [] , which contains a DVD side and an audio side. The DVD side conforms to DVD standards. The audio side does not conform to Red Book CD standards because it is too thin, however it should still work with most* drives.

As far as I can tell there is no copy protection on the audio side, and there is also nothing on the DVD side (well maybe CSS, I didn't try to copy it but it played fine in VLC).

*It did not work in my LiteOn drive but it did work in my brother's noname DVD drive and all the standalone CD players I've tested it in.

Horror of DualDisc (3, Informative)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543582)

As one poster has pointed out, the disc is a DualDisc format. This is not copy protection, but a 'clever' way of having DVD and CD content on one CD. And you know what? It sucks. So much so that I ebayed my DualDisc version and bought the Australian version which, while not having the Karaeoke option of the US DVD, actually does run on a PC. Then I sold the DualDisc version on E-Bay and I sure as hell won't ever be buying a dualdisc version again. The only way I could get the DualDisc version onto my MP3 player was to make a copy of the CD, then put that copy in the computer. The disc completely failed to either play on my Apple Mac Mini or my PC, and could only be read by one particular laptop I tried. It may not be actual copy protection, but it sure as hell worked like it, well, until I found a laptop it worked on.

Re:Horror of DualDisc (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544560)

It worked fine on my computer (well, the DVD menu was screwy, but that was more likely my computer than the disc). I tried it in a DVD drive. Maybe it doesn't work right in regular CD drives?

Re:Nothing to see here, please move along (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543826)

while "white and nerdy" is nice, "generic blues" is much much funnier

This guy has staying power! (5, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542514)

White and Nerdy [] - need I say more?

There's no doubt that Weird Al is seriously funny. How many comedians or comedic singers are around for 25 years, and have people remember their songs? I doubt even funnymen like Adam Sandler will have followings like him in another 10-15 years. My personal favorite song ... 'This is the Life', probably released in 1985 or so. I eat filet mignon seven times a day, my bathtub's filled with perrier and I have women lined up outside my door, they've been waiting there since the week before, who can ask for more, this is the life. Genius =).

While he had more duds than hits over the past 10 years, it seems like he's had some resurgance ... particularly over the past 2 years. Note: the link above is to a work-appropriate humor site I contribute to ... I couldn't resist, hopefully I don't get flamed too hard, I'm a die-hard fan.

Re:This guy has staying power! (2, Interesting)

weav (158099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542662)

Alfred Yankovic has not only taken the humor and a great deal of the style of Lindley Armstrong "Spike" Jones to new heights, he's surpassed Jones's, Sherman's, Lehrer's and Silverstein's longevity by a good way.

Al, you rock. And the fact that you took time to see a John Hartford show when your touring paths crossed in upstate New York speaks even more highly for you...

Re:This guy has staying power! (1)

Don Giovanni (300778) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543142)

People are always saying that about him.

Re:This guy has staying power! (4, Interesting)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543166)

I wonder what the chances of getting a slashdot interview with him would be.

Re:This guy has staying power! (2, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543204)

"A local boy kicked me in the butt last week.
I just smiled at him and I turned the other cheek.
I really don't care in fact I wish him well.
Because I'll be laughing my head off while he's burning in hell." - Amish Paradise

"I just can't understand it
Why won't you return my phone calls
Are you still mad I gave a Mohawk to your cat
If you'd just say the word
I'm certain that our love would last forever and ever
Or are you too dumb to realize that" - Melanie

"Since you've been gone
Well, it feels like I'm getting tetanus shots every day
Since you've been gone
It's like I've got an ice cream headache that won't go away
Ever since that day you left me
I've been so miserable, my dear
I feel almost as bad as I did
When you were still here" - Since You've Been Gone

"Well, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
There's panic in the crowd
We can dodge debris while we trim the tree
Underneath a mushroom cloud

Oh, it's Christmas at Ground Zero
And if the radiation level's okay
I'll go out with you and see the all new
Mutations on New Year's Day" - Christmas at ground zero

"You make me wanna hang out in a trailer park
Then take my hamster to the beach
You make me wanna do my laundry in the dark
And use a recommended bleach
When I'm with you I don't know whether I should study neurosurgery or go to see the Care Bears movie" - You Make Me

And, of course, no discussion of Weird Al would be complete without bringing up Tom Leher, so a few quotes from Al's pop culture predescessor

"Oh, soon we'll be out amid the cold world's strife.
Soon we'll be sliding down the razor blade of life. " - Bright College Days

"On Christmas Day you can't get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There's time to rob him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four." - A Christmas Carol

"Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell.
He's from Georgia, and he doesn't speak the language very well." - It makes a fella proud to be a Soldier

"And we will all bake together when we bake.
There'll be nobody present at the wake.
With complete participation
In that grand incineration,
Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak." - We Will All Go Together When We Go

"Egypt's gonna get one too,
Just to use on you know who.
So Israel's getting tense.
Wants one in self defense.
"The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm,
But just in case, we better get a bomb." - Who's next?

Re:This guy has staying power! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16545248)

You mention Tom Lehrer without mentioning National Brotherhood Week?

Shame on you.

Re:This guy has staying power! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16545304)

The good stuff in National Brotherhood Week was all at the beginnings of verses. I had about half the song included in an early draft of the post, but it was just too long. At that point I might as well have posted an MP3 file of myself singing it. Which, trust me, would not have promoted world peace.

And the song about the bomb already mentions hating Jews.

Re:This guy has staying power! (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545588)

I was raised Catholic, and Lehrer's "The Vatican Rag" never fails to leave me in stitches.

Re:This guy has staying power! (2, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545550)

How could you miss "The story begins"?

"My, my, this here Anakin guy,
Maybe Vader, someday later
Now he's just a small-fry.

He left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye,
singing 'Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi,
Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi'"

Re:This guy has staying power! (1)

Lex-Man82 (994679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545664)

What about Frank Zappa he was around for a long time.

Addicted to Love - Miscredited (5, Informative)

joeware (672849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542516)

"Addicted to Love" was done by Robert Palmer not Robert Plant. Duh.

Re:Addicted to Love - Miscredited (1)

Tsuzuki (442471) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542684)

My thoughts exactly! Talk about disrespecting the dead...

Re:Addicted to Love - Miscredited (2, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544540)

Robert Plant is dead?

Re:Addicted to Love - Miscredited (1)

drcagn (715012) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544870)

No--Robert Palmer is dead.

Quit While You're Ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542532)

It's amazing what a guy can accomplish when he's been able to avoid the funny house for so long. Some of those albums he did should have had him committed alone.

George Carlin comes to mind when it comes to comic longevity, but Carlin is funny. Weird Al is just, well weird.

So to Al, party on!

If Todd at Cisco reads this, first post bro. You finally got me hooked on /. :-)


Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (5, Insightful)

RallyDriver (49641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542586)

As a foreigner living here, I find that American culture often needs a little help to laugh at itself. Parker and Stone may have made doing so mainstream, but Al was ahead of the curve when he started it.

Aside from that, the simple fact is that using different words matching the same rhythm and rhyme of well known music is simply intrinsically funny, and he does a very good job of it - he also has a decent amount of musical talent, and he has shown superb diversity in keeping up with the times and parodying whatever is currently hip.

In short, Al is a key contributor to American culture, and deserves to be lauded for it.

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (4, Funny)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542700)

As a foreigner living here, I find that American culture often needs a little help to laugh at itself.

That's not funny!

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542870)

+1 Insightful!

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (3, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542930)

Not only that, he also seems to have a keen musical talent. Not just his use of rhythm. For example, listen to the use of harmony in "Hardware Store" on his MySpace page [] It's an original song and it's fantastic IMHO.

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543366)

As a foreigner living in America, you're sadly out of touch. Dr. Demento's show was around before Weird Al ever got big. And America's best target for laughs is always itself - there are a million movies and TV shows that demonstrate this.

In short, Al is a minor contributor to American pop culture, and deserves a moderate amount of praise for it.

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (3, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544574)

Dr. Demento's show was around before Weird Al ever got big
On the off chance someone didn't know, Weird Al started his career by having his songs played on the Dr. Demento show.

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544762)

Ah, sorry.

Let us rephrase that into "Weird Al makes jokes in a way that we non-Americans can laugh *with* him, instead of *at* him or Americans."

By using the pop culture as his reference, he allows those of us outside of the US the hope that not all Americans drive SUVs, write bad songs about their trucks and dedicate them to their mothers/spouses and invade other countries.

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544126)

As a foreigner living here, I find that American culture often needs a little help to laugh at itself. Parker and Stone may have made doing so mainstream

Keep in mind that those two are (were?) Canadian.

- RG>

Re:Self-Deprecating Humour is the Key (2, Informative)

Willy Wong (905014) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544444)

No they're not. Matt Stone was born in Houston and then his family moved to Colorado, and Trey Parker was both born and raised there.

Al's greatest work (5, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542654)

If you want proof of Al's talent, look no further than "Bob," a brilliant tribute to the lyrical stylings of Bob Dylan. A parody of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Bob" is done entirely in palindromes while still retaining the lyrical absurdities of the original song. Al also interjects several completely unnecessary 1-second harmonica rifts in the song, poking fun at Dylan's use of the instrument. I'm a huge Dylan fan and this was by far one of the most original tributes to the man. []

Re:Al's greatest work (1)

fortunato (106228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543054)

Ok.. this guy is totally an overlooked genius. "A Toyotas a toyota."

I love it! :)

Re:Al's greatest work (1)

ProfM (91314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543192)

Well, how else would you know what a toyota is?

It may be necessary to point that out ... especially if you're wondering "Was it a car or a cat I saw"

To someone who can't tell the difference ... knowing "A Toyotas a toyota" may be very important.

Re:Al's greatest work (1)

Anomolous Cowturd (190524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543872)

"Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog".


Mr. Tambourine Man (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543056)

I'd have to vote for John Corigliano's "Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan" as both a tribute and original. But if you have no taste for modern music, you might certainly not like it.

Re:Al's greatest work (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543362)

Glad you're modded up, thanks for the link. That's the funniest song (+ video) I've heard in a really long time...

Ode to AI? ( I and l and | (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542696)

We really need to have fonts distinguish between I and l and | (as used in subject ).

I even listen to Al after the jokes wear off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542710)

The band behind Al is seriously talented. It's a great way to listen to some good music without incredibly pretentious lyrics.

Twenty years from now... (5, Insightful)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542720)

I wonder what Weird Al will be like 20 years from now... will he be remembered as one of the "greats" of comedy, a name living long after everyone forgets the jokes? What will his parodies (and polkas) be like? Will he continue to be the pop culture barometer that we've come to know and love? Regardless, all of his songs have been a constant companion on my playlists and CD jackets and tapedecks, and I think I remember his songs with more clarity than the originals. Maybe he will be known as the last successful accordion artist. *grin*

Re:Twenty years from now... (3, Insightful)

ChaosWeevil (1004221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542792)

Yeah, though those of us with a ton of his CDs won't forget him in 20 years... Unless we're all dead. But a lot of his songs aren't pop-culture dependant. I mean, sure, "I Want a New Duck" is getting less understood, but "One More Minute", "This is the Life", and "Dare to be Stupid" will stick around for quite a while. Even a good number his parodies don't require knowledge of the original song to laugh at.

Re:Twenty years from now... (0)

jmauro (32523) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543360)

To this day, I still claim Lola is a blantant rip off of Al's Yoda.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542846)

I wonder what Weird Al will be like 20 years from now...

I bet you he'll still be white and nerdy.

Re:Twenty years from now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542954)

I have a theory that Weird Al will still look exactly the same, over the past twenty odd years he has barely aged a day. Obviously he is in league with dark forces.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543074)

Yea but no one is saying that about Dick Clark anymore either...youth can change in a day.

I love his music but I would guess that he will eventually end up like Ray Stevens. Not that being Ray Stevens is a bad thing, he was popular for over 30 years and still has a tune that rates a bit of radio play once in a while. Other than that he lives comfortably and still does occasional shows. While Weird Al is definately the King of Parody, Stevens will always be IMHO the King of Novelty songs. I just hope Weird Al doesnt go the Brason route like Ray did.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544368)

He could just be a Time Lord, you know. They don't age either--they regenerate. It's the curse of the Time Lords.

Re:Twenty years from now... (5, Interesting)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543392)

I saw a quote in a signature file or blog entry or something that went something like:

"If someone had told you in 1984 that in 2006 Michael Jackson = flameout and Weird Al = still relevant, you would have laughed your head off."

It's just so true.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545484)

Even stranger that I've recently purchased some of his older stuff and found myself thinking "Hey, this song sounds familiar..." more than a couple of times. Only to realize that I had purchased Weird Al's album, and many of the songs he's parodied have almost completely faded away. I mean who even remembers Milli Vanilli? Odd that my only recollection of some music that was once blockbuster material is through sort of obscure parodies of it.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544266)

If you thought that 20 years ago then you must have listened to Dr. Demento to hear his stuff.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545404)

He is the Groucho Marx of our times.

Re:Twenty years from now... (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545642)

I still hear "The Saga Begins" whenever "American Pie" is playing.

Damn Weird Al ...

Weird Artificial Intelligence? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542774)

I read it as An Ode To Artificial Intelligence... The Boston Globe has up a feature story on Weird Artificial Intelligence.

Is that something like fuzzy logic?

No Funny Jerry (5, Funny)

KewlioMZX (992347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542824)

(there's no "Funny Jerry" Seinfeld) This article makes a good point. X3

Re:No Funny Jerry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542896)

here's no "Funny Jerry" Seinfeld

What's up with that, anyway?

Curse Sans-Serif (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542826)

I was just thinking, "Yeah, if they'd only cut off the last half-hour and the whole reviving his mother so he could say goodbye, it would have been a pretty awesome movie. JUst leave him trapped under the ferris wheel."

Put then I realized it was "An Ode to AL" and not "An Ode to AI". Whoever originated the Sans-Serif L should be shot ;).

Re:Curse Sans-Serif (1)

capkanada (935285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543400)

Yeah... they got me too.

Not that I mind much, though.
Kinda glad of it, actually.

Re:Curse Sans-Serif (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545380)

AII l have do ls to pay carefuIl attentlon to the context.

About to buy my first CD in months..! (1)

funkdancer (582069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542836)

Just listened to DDTS from the link above and it's a cracker. So is white & nerdy.
So I am about to purchase my first album in several months! :)
I listen to as a paying customer from work - incidentally my ISP offers all their channels for free.
F*ck the MPAA dudes. I used to buy CDs by the dozens before they started all their virus infesting thingies, I actually find it safer to download my music now.

Not that I really care to do do - quality out there is hard to get at. Just look at how the only Australian Idol contestant of any worth (Bobby Flynn; highly interesting) got voted out over an incompetent but cute little schoolgirls.

Re:About to buy my first CD in months..! (1)

Teflik (4823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543648)

I actually find it safer to download my music now.

Interesting. That makes me think: I wonder what the expectation value is for the cost of fixing up a PC that's been infected by Sony, compared to the expectation value of getting sued by RIAA? Meaning: the odds of getting infected by a media company * the cost of repairing the damage, vs the odds of getting sued by a media company * the cost of settling.

At some point it becomes more cost-effective to break the law. Not that I'm suggesting that anyone break the law. Cause, you know, it's illegal and all. (Of course, on the other hand, it was more cost-effective to break the law before RIAA started the lawsuits... that didn't make it right. Or, well, legal, anyway.)

Who else thought? (-1, Redundant)

airencracken (993443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542862)

That it said an ode to AI. As in artifical intelligence. Sigh...

There is no lack of material (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542900)

The first thing to do is forget about writing original material. You are surrounded by material. Just look around. The things the rich and famous do ... you can't make that kind of thing up. All Weird Al has to do is just give up trying to be creative; all he has to do is be a bit observant. His stuff will practically write itself.

A similar example is the Simpsons. es [] The Simpsons are American culture lite. The Simpsons have referenced everything important about American culture that has happened in the last half century. Example: How do my kids know about 'A Streetcar Named Desire'? They saw it on the Simpsons. [] The Simpsons parody everything. Another example: Marge on the Lam is a parody of Thelma and Louise. []

I'm not surprised that Weird Al has lasted so long; I'm surprised that more people don't do the same. Maybe Weird Al and the Simpsons just do it better than anyone else.

Re:There is no lack of material (5, Insightful)

Khomar (529552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544630)

I'm not surprised that Weird Al has lasted so long; I'm surprised that more people don't do the same. Maybe Weird Al and the Simpsons just do it better than anyone else.

One of Weird Al's strengths is the fact that he keeps his humor clean, and the Simpsons has remained relatively clean compared to its competitors. There are many other comedians and parody artists who allow vulgarity and low-brow humor to slip into their work which undermines it. No one has a guilty conscience for listening to Weird Al's songs, so his humor is able to reach a larger audience. It also often takes more talent to be funny and clean as you are not relying on the "shock" factor as many "colorful" comedians do. There is something magical about a comedic routine that people of all ages and walks of life can enjoy.

WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542902)

Why the fuck is this here? this is just out of hand anymore. Slashdot: a pale shell of what it use to be.

err (5, Interesting)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542928)

Granted, I have not rtfa, but I'd like to chime in: I've been listening to Weird Al for close to 20 years now. Sure, I love his parodies, but they are NOT what he does best. The attention to detail that he pays in his original music is staggering. He simply does not get enough credit for his fantastic sense of music, style, and composition. His original works come in two main flavors: A parody in a particular style/genre, as well as fully original compositions. His style parodies are AMAZING. Even DEVO (was it Mark Mothersbaugh who said this?) has gone on record saying how much they simply hate Weird Al because Dare To Be Stupid (song, not album) was EXACTLY the kind of sound they had gone for all along. It's a friggin' great song, to boot. His fully original compositions, however, emulate the thoughts and ideas of his self-proclaimed musical influence, the late and great Frank Zappa. Be it Genius In France (featuring Dweezil Zappa, album Poodle Hat, which in and of itself is a direct reference to Zappa regarding the mention of poodles. This is touched upon more in Zappa's Project/Object theory, sorry, no link), or Fun Zone from the UHF OST, the man simply knows how to arrange a piece of music to appeal to the professional musician in all of us. Obviously, though, if really LISTENING to the music isn't your thing, you won't get it. It's like how Wesley Snipes said, in White Men Can't Jump, you can HEAR Jimmi, but you aren't LISTENING to Jimmi. Maybe it was the other way around, it's been a while, but my point should be fairly clear. I consider myself a severe musical snob, even to the point where I egotistically feel I'm being fully objective about why the music I like is so great. Weird Al has always secured himself a place in my musical interest, and although he is generally obligated to cover what's 'popular' at the time (both for economical reasons, as well as pleasing the majority of the listeners, who themselves listen to that kind of music [rap, most recently], it's his original pieces of work that continue to fill my mind with wonder, awe, and sheer admiration for his skills. I would love to keep rambling about why I think Weird Al is a DAMN FINE musician, but then this post would never end. Weird Al, granted you probably won't read this since you spend 12+ hours a day logged into MySpace, muahaha, you share a place in my mind right up there with Zappa, and I feel that your ingenuity as well as your raw talent is quite possibly equal to Zappa in my mind. I will be a fan of yours always, even if I don't listen to particular tracks off of particular albums because the music does not apply to my taste (for the most part, more recent material than anything else). Keep up the amazing work, and I will continue to buy your music as often as you release it. Please, don't ever stop. I won't even get into how aware the man is of technology, as well as world events, and humor. One last note: For the first time ever, you have grossed me out. Weasel Stomping Day is the first piece of work you've ever made that just seemed to catch me off guard. Then again, maybe I just love animals! Of course, I didn't mind it that time you had a wolverine in your underwear, and suddenly the guy behind you starting screaming evything you know is wrong. Again, I will always be an adoring fan.

Jonathan Coulton (0, Redundant)

Perdo (151843) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542942)

Is heir apparent to the throne but Al certainly has some life left.

Only one thing to do in the meantime: Collaborative work.


Re:Jonathan Coulton (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543012)

I like Jonathan Coulton, but I think The Great Luke Ski [] will be the heir to the Al throne.

And yes, I do think Al and Luke should collaborate together.

a couple of points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16542966)

1. Weird Al never goes out of style because all he has to do is parody whatever is in style, thereby always staying current. For instance, his new album has R. Kelly, Taylor Hicks, Green Day, etc... He doesn't have to come up with the "new thing" himself. This isn't to say that Weird Al doesn't kick ass, cause he does!

2. Weird Al's parents died recently from carbon monoxide poisoning which sucks. Sorry if its been mentioned in TFA.

Ultimate Proof of his Greatness (5, Interesting)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542972)

For me, the proof that Weird Al really impacted our culture and was relevant was walking into a store and seeing, between "Rock" and "Country" an entire "Weird Al" section. I guess you just can't pin that guy down :)

Re:Ultimate Proof of his Greatness (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543102)

At the Virgin Megastore where I snagged my "Straight Outta Lynwood" copy on release day had him categorized in the "Comedy" section. I believe he took up a significant portion of the isle.

Re:Ultimate Proof of his Greatness (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544592)

I spent probably 20 minutes searching the music section at Barnes and Noble for the new CD. I finally found it in the "Show" section. I was really confused.

Weird Artificial Intelligence? (-1, Redundant)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#16542982)

I'm kind of confused. I was expecting a story about strange artificial intelligence. However, perhaps this discussion about artists and humor can digress into the merits of a font which can distinguish between lowercase "L" and uppercase "i".

boom chucka boom (1)

todd10k (889348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543048)

If you'll be my bodyguard, i will be your long lost pal. (do doo do do, do do do do)

i can call you buddy, and buddy when you call me you can call me al!

Re:boom chucka boom (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543162)

It's "buddy"?

Oh god. For years, when I've sung that song I've always sung it as "Betty"!

"I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me you can call... me... Al!"

And here I thought Paul Simon was just a weirdo.

Re:boom chucka boom (1)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543454)

Huh. I always thought it was "I can call you daddy."

Re:boom chucka boom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16544034)

No, it's definitely Betty.

Re:boom chucka boom (1)

Ruby Wednesday (979168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543806)

Err... that's not Al (it's DogHorse's 'Call Me Al Quaeda')

Prince of parody? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543132)

I don't know if I'd go that far. In my not-so-humble AC opinion, that title shall forever belong to Tom Lehrer.

Anyone remember the Fat Video? (2, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543232)

They must have run Fat on MTV like once every 10 videos for what seemed to be a year. I thought MTV was pretty awesome back then.

Re:Anyone remember the Fat Video? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544382)

like once every 10 videos
Once every ten never is still never.

Al deserved it! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16543694)

Weird Al is truly the prince of parody, he really deserved it!!!
You can see all the videos and the originals he makes fun of here: []

Weird Al's college days (5, Interesting)

Joosy (787747) | more than 7 years ago | (#16543930)

In 1980 I was a DJ with Weird Al at KCPR, the radio station at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo, California). For some idiotic reason the powers-that-be wanted the station to act like a commercial station, playing mostly the same bland hits that the commercial stations played. Someplace I've saved a hilarious interview in the student paper with Al, in which he says "They can tell me I have to play certain songs, but they never specified at what speed, or what direction to play them in!"

He was a very friendly guy, by the way. Always upbeat and helpful to everyone even though he was already something of a star.

haha (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544268)

one of the things i love most about Weird Al, is his ability to make a really horrible song, in to a really great song by blessing it with his parodic gift.. for example, I hate the band P.O.D., and I hate Fiddy Cent, and just about any song by any artist he's ever included on one of his Polka Medleys.. I can't help but appreciate, respect, and LOL at the talent he puts forth in making those amazing Polkas.. every album keeps getting amazing.. and i hope that one day he'll let me play tuba on one of his medleys ;D that'd be the shit

On file sharing and leaking videos (5, Insightful)

freeweed (309734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16544386)

Interesting quote from the article:

"His new album, "Straight Outta Lynwood" (Volcano), shot into the Billboard Top 10 upon its release last month--his highest chart placing since he opened his one-man spoof-factory in the early '80s."

So after all of those Internet hackers have been destroying musicians' careers with their file sharing, and leaking videos, and other piratical nonsense...

You make something people want, and it SELLS.

Considering the exposure Weird Al had in the 80s (his videos were in heavy rotation for years, every news organization wanted to talk with him and leech off the Michael Jackson bubble), to be selling even better today speaks volumes.

Slate ran a better Yankovich essay (5, Interesting)

TheViewFromTheGround (607422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545194)

Slate's Weird Al essay [] by Sam Anderson is infinitely more insightful and thoughtful than the Globe's coverage: "He's not like them, he's like us. To the millions of us flitting around the edges of hipness, he is our Geek Bard, our Troubadork. Unlike his prey--the rappers and the rockers, the folk-pop shamans and the techno wizards--Weird Al is, in the only meaningful sense of the phrase, keeping it real."

Oh, AL not AI (0, Redundant)

cinexero (983612) | more than 7 years ago | (#16545442)

I could have sworn the title said and ode to AI, I was expecting a song about artificial intelligence. So confused....
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