Weird Al Yankovic

June 27, 2013

I am “Weird Al” Yankovic – Ask Me Anything!

Hi, I’m “Weird Al” Yankovic, but you can call me Al. I record songs and make music videos and do concert tours and write books and sometimes do stuff in TV and films. You can Ask Me Anything. Except about the movie Rampart, I will not talk about that.

By the way, it’s a complete coincidence that I happen to be doing this AMA at the same time as the release of my new children’s book My New Teacher and Me!… but I should also mention that if you buy a copy today you will automatically be my new best friend in the whole world.

Look, it’s really me. See?

Still not convinced? Here’s definitive photographic proof. I guarantee this has not been Photoshopped.

Okay… whaddaya wanna know?


My book signing event here in Cincinnati is about to start, so I’m afraid I’ve got to leave. Thanks, everybody, this was really fun! Let’s do it again sometime!

Do you like Kirk or do you like Picard?

There are some questions I'm happy to answer freely, and some questions that will never be answered in this or any lifetime. This is one of those questions.

When I moved to Albuquerque, I went to The Sizzler and asked them about your song in which they were mentioned, and they had no idea what I was talking about. How could they forget the employee of the month who put out a grease fire with his face?

Also, when you sang "Albuqueruque" at the Toledo zoo a few years ago, you said "one armed" hamafrodite instead of "one-nostriled", and then played it off by rambling on a bit about how he also had one arm. I thought it was planned until I saw illegal tapes of you performing in other towns and saw that it was a legitimate mistake on stage, and my question is do you guys practice to keep going on with the riffs in the music in case something like that happens? Because you made it seem like it wasn't a mistake and I thought that that was pretty impressive.

There are no mistakes on stage. I wrote all those songs, and I reserve the right to change the lyrics AT ANY TIME.

What are the chances of a reissue campaign featuring your early albums happening? It would be great to have those albums with all original artwork, comprehensive liner notes, and (perhaps?) bonus tracks.

Given the state of the music industry, I wouldn't hold my breath. But I'd love to see that too!

Good day sir! What is the best venue you have played in and what made is so great?

I might have to say, in all my years of playing live, probably Bonnaroo, which I did just a week ago. I had 10,000 people going completely insane - it was beautiful. At the end of the show I just stood at the end of the stage and tried to soak in all the energy - I'd never felt anything quite like it.


I'm always glad to hear when my music helps people get through difficult times in their life. But your aunt was right, I AM disgusting.

Quick answers to your questions:

  1. No - I get asked that a lot, and it's very flattering, but I think if people enjoyed UHF, I should just let them keep their fond memories of it and not do UHF The Next Generation.

  2. You can call me Al.

  3. Yes - out of respect for them I won't mention any names, but it's happened a few times.

  4. Not up front, but they get royalties.

  5. There would be way too many legal clearances necessary for a retail release - so feel free to nab copies from friends or off the Internet.


Hey Weird Al, Thank you in advance for doing this AMA. I had a summer camp consular who introduced me to your music, we went through your entire discography at least 4 times. Including an advance copy of craigslist that he got from you. One of my favorite memories of summer camp was driving for hours listening to your songs. Anyways to my question,

1) Do you have a process to choosing your parodies? Do you just Ad-lib to the radio?

2) How did the cover to MF DOOM's song "Accordion" come about?

3) Did you get any reaction from DOOM about the cover?

EDIT: The cover [link] Thanks to /u/Chucke4711!

  1. No, I don't freestyle my lyrics - they're the result of a fairly substantial amount of time and effort.

  2. I was the guest accordion player for the Roots on an episode of the Jimmy Fallon show, and while we were rehearsing Questlove suggested we jam on the MF DOOM song. He recorded our performance, and it went kind of viral. I LOVED playing with the Roots - one of the coolest things I've ever done.

  3. I'm not aware if DOOM's heard it.

Big Fan here of both your music and all of your work in the 'Alternative' comedy scene (Tim & Eric, Comedy Bang Bang, etc.) really psyched about this AMA.

1)You've slowly lost your glasses, why change?

2)What shampoo do you use?

3)In your interview with Nardwuar it seemed very tense between you two, did I just interpret that wrong or is there another side to the story?

  1. Actually I lost my glasses pretty quickly - right after my LASIK surgery in 1998. If I don't need to wear glasses anymore, why should I? I'm all about KEEPING IT REAL.

  2. Whatever they have in those little bottles in the hotel shower.

  3. Nardwuar and I were having a great time - I love being interviewed by him. If there was any tension, it certainly wasn't on MY end!

Hey Al, thanks for stopping by!

A few years ago it was reported that you were writing and directing a feature film, but Cartoon Network Dropped it and you were shopping it around studios-- is that movie still in the works?

Not really - it was really kind of geared for Cartoon Network. And I've already cannibalized jokes from that script to use for other projects.

At what moment did you realize that your career was going places?

Tuesday, 3:18 PM.

My ex-girlfriend's father claims that he wrote "Dare to be Stupid". He has a picture of you and him together and a typewritten set of lyrics. His name is Bryan Baker.

I've always wondered-- is there any truth to this?

You mean the BIG FAT LIAR Bryan Baker? No.

Is there a parody that you've made that you wish you could un-make?

I've done parodies in the past that I'm... well, let's say not as proud of as I'd like to be. But I've found that even my crappiest songs have their fans. Humor is subjective, after all.

Hi Al! Long-time fan. "Dare to be Stupid" was the first album I ever bought. My questions:

  1. That has never appealed to me. I like doing the kind of music that I do, and I'm more than happy to leave the unfunny music to everybody else.

  2. Absolutely. I'm pitching a few ideas around town right now.

  3. I sang really, really fast!


I've always been a big fan of kid lit - I loved Dr. Seuss when I was a small child and I've always been a huge admirer of Shel Silverstein - so when I was offered a chance to do children's books by HarperCollins, I jumped at it. Nathan Rabin and I wrote that biography/coffee-table book which came out at the end of last year, so I don't have any hankering to release anything else of that ilk - and I don't have any real strong desire to write novels. So, I think I'm sticking with the children's books.

My girlfriend stuck at work wants to know "Have you ever had the balls to perform 'I'll Sue Ya' in New Jersey"?

Absolutely. My fans have senses of humor, after all. The biggest reactions I get for "Canadian Idiot" are when we play it in Canada.

Hi Al, I wanted to say, thanks for finally coming to Europe a couple of years ago, went to London from Denmark just to see you, and it was all worth it.

Are you planning to come back to Europe Again??

And will you make a UHF 2?

It was a real thrill for me to do my (truncated) European tour a couple years ago. It's very expensive to fly all the equipment overseas to perform there - I wish I could perform there a lot more often, but we have to wait until we can line up a tour where I don't wind up losing money. I remember I was quite sick when I was in the UK - I desperately want to go back and show the fans there what I sound like when I DON'T have strep throat!

Hello Al!!

Back in 1997, I was a senior in high school on Long Island and a bit on the nerdy and shy side. I was also a BIG fan of yours, and I thought about how much fun the prom would be if you took me. I wanted to write and ask you, but feared your rejection, which I didn’t think I could handle.

As a more mature woman in my 30s who can better handle rejection now...would you have gone to prom with me?

Totally! It would have been awesome! Man, I'd hate to live with the kind of regret that YOU'RE probably feeling right about now! Whew!

Who is the nicest famous person you've met?

I probably would say Paul McCartney. He agreed to do a cameo in a short film I made a couple years ago called "Al's Brain in 3-D" ... which he certainly didn't need to do because he's freaking Paul McCartney. Even though I was a lifelong fan before, that catapulted my admiration into the stratosphere.

How do we make UHF 2 a reality?

Just close your eyes tightly and imagine it...

I'm truly grateful for all the interest in a UHF sequel, but I honestly don't see it happening. I'd love to do another movie, but... I'd prefer to let people just have their fond memories of UHF and try something a little different in the future.

Was at a place you were at with your wife and kid (our kids were in the same "performance") . Saw hundreds of people throughout the day approach you, ask for a picture, shake your hand and basically distract you from watching your kid perform. I was shocked to see you acknowledge and converse with every person but at the same time I felt bad for you having to deal with people literally every 3-5 mins wanting a picture. Is it hard being Al and maintaining a family life?

My wife and daughter deal with fans and crowds pretty well (and I've had a fair amount of practice too) - we're able to navigate in public without too much trouble. And most people are actually pretty respectful of our privacy, so it's rare when a situation gets uncomfortable or out of control.

Is Coolio still upset about Amish Paradise?

Coolio's cool with me now. We ran into each other a few years ago and it's all water under the proverbial bridge.

My old boss is your next door neighbor. I once used your driveway to turn around. Are you okay with that? Sorry I didn't ask 7 years ago.

As I've found throughout my life, it's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Having said that... I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN.

My wife and I were married on June 9th and not only did we play one of your songs at our wedding (The Saga Begins), but your concert in Dallas during your Alpocalypse tour was our second date! So thank you for being awesome and rocking my whole life!

Question though: What makes you laugh and can you even listen to music and NOT come up with a parody?

Being shackled to a wall and tickled with peacock feathers makes me laugh.

99.9997% of the time I listen to music, I'm not simultaneously coming up with a parody in my head.

Dare to be Stupid is the greatest album ever. Also, thanks for making my childhood wonderful!

Thanks, and my pleasure!

Do you usually write the lyrics once you find a song you'd like to parody, or do you have the lyrics written out waiting for the right song to adjust them to?

Yes, I had the lyrics for "Eat It" written in 1974. I was SO HAPPY when Michael Jackson came out with "Beat It" 9 years later so I could finally put them to good use!

What did you find to be the hardest song to parody?

The hardest songs to parody are the ones that don't have a whole lot of words, or are extremely repetitive. That's why I did my '80s George Harrison parody "This Song's Just Six Words Long" - where I basically just make fun of the repetitiveness of the song.

What was Leslie Nielsen like? How awesome was it working with him in Naked Gun?

Leslie was amazing, and it was an enormous thrill working with him. He took such joy in his work and was always fun to be around on set. Terribly sad that he's no longer with us.

What is your favorite leg?


What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you?

"What is your favorite leg?"

Hi Mr. Yankovic, thanks for doing the AMA!

What's the best/funniest gift a fan has ever given you?

What is your favourite movie?

Is it true that if I kill you, I become you?

  1. Hard to pick, but I've gotten some amazing fan art over the years.

  2. Top Secret

  3. Only one way to find out! Wait...

What is one question that nobody has ever asked you in an interview, that you really really really wish someone would ask?

May I give you this box full of money?

Can you make a homepage for my dog?

Could. Shan't.

Do you age?

Well, the picture in my attic sure does!

Were you able to get that rabid wolverine out of your underwear? Also, please do a song with The Lonely Island!

First of all, I don't particularly mind the rabid wolverine in my underwear. And secondly, I love The Lonely Island and would be happy to do anything they wanted me to do that didn't involve dolphin torture or genital mutilation.

How should I spend this Saturday?

Pondering your mortality and eating Doritos.

I own all your albums (including a few of the rare box sets) but I'm genuinely curious how do you feel about music piracy?

I think it's only wrong when it happens to ME - then it really SUCKS!

who would you not dare parody, if anyone?

There's nobody off limits. Everybody should just take a number, I'll get to you all eventually.

Hello Al! I'm coming to your book signing on Saturday. Anything I can bring you? Snacks? Drink? Snorkel?

Maybe try bringing a BOOK. It's a stinking BOOK SIGNING, after all.

So what had you learned from your "Internet Leaks" experiment? Will you be doing so again for the new album?

"Internet Leaks" served a few purposes - it allowed fans to enjoy 5 of my songs a couple years before the full album came out, and it allowed me to play those songs in my live show, and it even got me an extra Grammy nomination! But I'm not inclined to do it again, because when Alpocalypse finally did come out, a number of fans groused that they were disappointed because they'd heard half the album already. So ultimately, I think I'd like my next album to be perceived as all new material when it comes out in 2019.

Has anyone ever made a parody of one of your original songs? How do you feel about folks making parodies of your songs?

Well, I'd be living in a glass house if I had a problem with that, wouldn't I? I've heard a number of parodies of my original songs - one of which is a big favorite of my daughter's (Steve Goodie's parody of "Hardware Store" called "Dumbledore").

Why did you kill the old Weird Al look?

I haven't needed to wear glasses since my LASIK surgery, I felt that I would be able to slip into characters better without facial hair, and I just like wearing my hair longer because otherwise it kinda poofs out. Sorry - maybe you'll get used to it after ANOTHER 15 years.

Whats one thing you want to do before you die?

I'm gonna go with "death rattle."

Who would you want to play you in your biopic?

Well, Aaron Paul is the obvious choice. If he's not available, maybe Alanis Morissette.

Favorite Star Wars movie?

Don't be ridiculous. In order, it's 5, 4, 6, 3, 2, 1. Obviously.

Will UHF ever be available on blu-ray?

Man, I would love that. My manager has been looking into it, but MGM is saying things like "There's not enough interest" and "Nobody's buying Blu-Rays anymore." Feel free to have a flash mob protest in their parking lot.

Not often someone gets to express gratitude to a respected musician. Between accordion playing and innovative lyrical genius, you're a very multi-talented individual which I highly respect and admire. I start everyday at work listening to "Your Horoscope for Today." (I'm a Pisces). Just wanted to say thanks, keep doing what you're doing, and... uh... question...

As a multi-talented individual, what talent do you have that not a lot of people know you have, or that no one knows you have?

Thanks Al.

edit - grammatical

I can paint highly detailed images on the head of a pin. As long as the pin is at least 3 feet wide.

Hey Al, I wanted to say thanks for everything. I'm a huge fan and I have a lot of respect for you. I can't help but notice that there was no AL-TV to promote Alpocalypse. Was this a decision made by someone else like your label or a TV channel? Or was this your decision?

Well, MTV has not been interested in me for a decade or so, and VH1 WAS interested, but I think they wanted a half hour show, and they wanted full legal clearance for all of my fake interviews (which I'd never gotten in the past - the artists signed wavers allowing the network to use the footage for any purpose they liked). Meanwhile, my friend Chris Hardwick asked me to come up with a show for his YouTube Nerdist channel, and I thought - hey! I can just do my stupid interviews THERE! Nerdist was extremely supportive - the Face to Face series has way more production value than any of the old AL-TVs ever had.

Hey Al, I'm a huge fan and such. I have 3 questions for you.

  1. I can't/won't say that I have just one favorite comedian. Check out whom I'm following on Twitter - that will give you some idea of my taste in comedy.

  2. A little bit of everything, but I prefer music that some might label "alternative."

  3. Whatever's in the bathroom shower.

I received my first hand job with "I Wanna New Duck" playing in the background. I wanted to say thanks for inspiring her to get in the mood. I'm not sure what that says about her, but still. Thank you.

What an amazing coincidence! I... never mind.

Here is a list of video links collected from comments that redditors have made in response to this submission:

Source Comment Score Video Link
Alias28 6 Weird Al interviews Ozzy Al TV
Alias28 6 UHF - Original Movie Trailer
gulpeg 1 Nardwuar vs. Weird Al pt 2 of 2
gulpeg 1 Nardwuar vs. Weird Al pt 1 of 2
The_Homestarmy 1 Weird Al Yankovic - Albuquerque: THE MOVIE
Mayo_On_My_Apple 1 "Weird Al" Yankovic - shopping trip
marcoosha 1 Be your lover: Alpocalypse tour
EasierSaidThanPun 0 Weird Al SHREDS!!!
RickyTV8 0 Polkamon Weird Al Yankovic Pokémon the Movie 2000 Soundtrack
just2good 0 Al-polka-lypse a polka medley of "Weird Al" Yankovic original songs by jimlapbap
Alias28 0 Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al


Al, first let me just say, I am a huge fan and I love every single album you put out. Alpocalypse in particular I thought was exceptional. I’m only 14, but I’ve gone back and listened to lots of your earlier work too. My favorite song is probably Albuquerque.

Anyway, my questions:

  1. When is UHF 2 coming out?

  2. On June 15th, 2010 in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, my mom, brother and I waited outside of the concert venue where your band was doing a sound check for the 2010 tour which began the next day. Eventually you and your band came out, and I was lucky enough to be able to meet you. Here is a picture of us. Anyway, I’m not sure why but at the moment I asked if you could follow me on Twitter, @nachozrule, to which you replied “I’ll see what I can do.” It is now over three years later, and you have yet to follow me on Twitter. I demand an explanation.

Sometimes it take a LONG, LONG, LONG TIME to see what I can do!

Hey Al! I'm a big fan of yours, here's a pic. Anyway, I just wanted to know, why are all those songs of yours about food and can I get a clear version of "Snack All Night"?

  1. They're not.

  2. You can't.

I read somewhere that you promised Kurt Cobain that you wouldn't make your parody of Smells Like Teen Spirit about food. But if you HAD written it about food, what food would it be about?

Scalloped potatoes.

Have you ever written a song then said "This is too inappropriate" or "This is too offensive" And scrapped it?

No - all my editing takes place in the concept stage. I might have an IDEA and think that, but never would I write a whole song and then say, "Wait a minute - this is completely inappropriate!"

I have a few questions: 1. How many push-ups can you do? 2. On a scale from 1-10, how much do you like scales from 1-10? 3. If you could have any ONE superpower, what would it be?

Thanks for your many years of keeping my family and I entertained, I feel like I owe you a Twinkie Wiener Sandwich.

  1. 3 more than you.

  2. 7.536

  3. The power to floss my teeth in my sleep.

Have there been any songs you thought were "too good" for parody, or had a hard time deciding to parody? I'm guessing no, but I've always thought it was interesting that you devoted an entire polka to Bohemian Rhapsody. That's the only song to enjoy that distinction, I think?

Also, what convinced you to change your hair and shave your mustache? That was such an iconic look!

I've never been afraid to tackle a beloved, iconic song ("American Pie," anyone?) so no, I've never felt a song was "too good" to parody. My parodies are done with love and respect. Well, in most cases.

Exactly how much of your life has been spent living in an Amish pardise? And how's the food?

  1. Less than 3%.

  2. Okay, I guess.

Which one of your parodies do you consider your favorite so far? Edit: corrected grammar.

My stock answer is "White & Nerdy," because I did a lifetime's worth of research in order to write those lyrics.

Which celebrity that you have met is even 'weirder' than you are?

Well, let's see... hmmm... MOST OF THEM.

I have been a fan of your work since I was seven. My parents used to take me on incredibly long car trips, and I had only a greatist hits cassette and a Food Album cassette to keep me sane when I couldn't stand any more Ray Stevens. Your sense of humor and your style have been a soothing beacon affixing me to reality for over two decades now that I'm 30.

But that wasn't a question, so I'd like to know, how do you like board games? Wanna hang out?

  1. I like them just fine - I play them with my daughter all the time.

  2. Yeah, okay.

How do you maintain your glorious mane of hair?

I hot-glue the follicles to my scalp every morning. It's painful and time-consuming, but well worth it.

Hello Al! What was the best response you had from an artist you asked to parody?

Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits said, "Well, okay, but you have to let me play guitar on it!"


What was it like getting permission from Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, B.O.B. and Bruno Mars to parody them on Alpocalypse? Did you ever hear a response to your parodies from them?

Also, what were the videos for "Couch Potato" and "You're Pitiful" going to look like? What would we have seen had you gotten actual permission to shoot them?

Have a great tour! See you at the Boulder Theater next month! I'll be wearing my "Craigslist" shirt!

Your pal, Casey

  1. Actually, no, I haven't heard back from any of them, but I did get their permission in advance, so I'm assuming they're okay with what I did!

  2. The "Couch Potato" video was going to be a big budget, heavily produced clip where I recreated pretty much every show name-checked in the song. The "You're Pitiful" video would have been a direct parody of the "You're Beautiful" video - and part of me is actually glad I didn't have to do that one because I would have had to take my shirt off (as James Blunt did), and I didn't want to have to work out in a gym for 2 months to prevent the world from being grossed out by my less than stellar physique.

How and why did you write the chant you sing after/during Yoda at concerts? I had a DVD with one of your concerts on it, and when I was a really tiny kid that was my favorite part, but have also always been fairly confused about its existence.

That's just something that's grown over the years - we started doing the Indian chant part in the early 90's, I think, and we've just kept adding to it every tour, to the point where it's now just this incredibly long, crazy thing.

i loved seeing you on Comedy Bang! Bang! and i was thinking about how incredibly sweet it would be if you collaborated with Reggie Watts on a song. thoughts?

I love Reggie! He's a master of improv, and I'm not really very comfortable with that, but if he wanted to collabo on something, I'd be game!

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Weird Al Yankovic conducted on Reddit on 2013-06-27. The Reddit AMA can be found here.