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Availability: Generally Availability
Demographics: Under 18,18-25,25-35,35-50
The American parodist, actor, and producer known as Weird Al Yankovic was born Alfred Matthew Yankovic in 1959 in Downey, California. Young Al grew up learning to play a variety of instruments, starting with the guitar and accordion. He also excelled academically, graduating valedictorian of his high school class after having skipped multiple grades. After graduation, he earned a degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University, but instead of becoming an architect, Yankovic started a career as a musician/comedian.
While in college, Al had spent a year at the university’s radio station, working as a disc jockey. Around this time, he started to adopt the moniker Weird Al, and so after releasing his first recording – a parody of famous landmarks throughout the region – he began to perform under that name. His first successful song of parody was “My Bologna,” after the Knack’s hit “My Sharona.” The song earned him a deal with Capital Records, and the rest, as they say, is history.
After “My Bologna,” Weird Al released dozens of other parodies of classic and hit songs, including: “Another One Rides the Bus” (parody of “Another One Bites the Dust”); “I Love Rocky Road” (parody of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”); “Eat It” (parody of “Beat It”); “I Lost on Jeopardy” (parody of “Jeopardy”); “Like a Surgeon” (parody of “Like a Virgin”); “I Want a New Duck” (parody of “I Want a New Drug”); and “Amish Paradise” (parody of “Gangsta’s Paradise.”) The music videos for each of these classics are as popular as the parodies themselves.
Weird Al Yankovic has also enjoyed a career in film, appearing in such movies as Spy Hard, Safety Patrol, Haunted Lighthouse, Halloween II, and Batman vs. Robin. Often his roles are as “himself,” since Al has become such a recognizable public persona. Weird Al has also made appearances on the television shows How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, and most recently, on the new series Galavant. Yankovic also wrote and starred in his own television show, The Weird Al Show (1997) and the film UHF (1989.) Weird Al currently has four Grammy Awards; three for Best Comedy Album and one for Best Concept Music Video. He has also written two books for children.
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