The 6 Least Necessary "Weird" Al Parodies

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Full disclosure: I loved "Weird" Al Yankovic as a kid. Loved, unconditionally and non-judgmentally, the way I loved ice cream and Nintendo, until at least the sixth grade or so. Which is to say, Al, if you're reading this, you'll always be my homie -- lord knows you've written some iconic, even legendary parodies. Songs that even people who would never claim to be a fan can name -- "Fat," "Amish Paradise," maybe even "White and Nerdy." You could make an argument that the music world needed these songs; in an industry of big egos, they took self-proclaimed kings of pop and hip-hop down a peg, and made us laugh at something that was, in retrospect, ridiculous anyway: Michael Jackson telling us he was "bad," Coolio ripping off Stevie Wonder to attain his biggest hit, etc. But Al doesn't always hit the mark, and sometimes even the songs he was parodying, popular at the time, are virtually forgotten in the intervening decades. Here are six such parodies which haven't stood the test of time.

"Addicted to Spuds"

Robert Palmer's megahit "Addicted to Love" has become one of those anthems of the 80s; "Weird" Al's parody, on the other hand, has gone gently into that good night. That's probably because it doesn't really make fun of Palmer, or the song itself, or anything real; "it's funny 'cause it's true," they say, and I've never met anyone who was addicted to potatoes. File this in the "huh?" section of Al's many food-related songs:

"I Want a New Duck"

A parody of Huey Lewis & the News' "I Want a New Drug," Al's parody sounds more like children's music than rock and roll. (Maybe that's why I liked it so much as a kid.)

"Living with a Hernia"

I actually find the complete absurdity of this song (and video) kind of charming. Plus, it's got a flossy vibe: Al's parody of James Brown's "Living in America" (from Rocky IV, Al's second Rocky-themed parody) includes lots of real information about hernias, including the names of the most common types of hernia: incomplete, epigastric, bladder, strangulated, lumbar hernia, Richter's hernia, obstructed, inguinal, and direct. (Actually, on second thought, I love this song!) I can't embed the video, but you can watch it here.

"Beverly Hillbillies (Money for Nothing)"

In a rare move, Al's actually parodying two cultural phenomena at once here: Dire Straits' hit "Money for Nothing" and the television "classic" Beverly Hillbillies. But there's an old rule in comedy that you don't want to make a joke try to do too many things at once, or it falls flat. And anyway, Beverly Hillbillies was already so ridiculous, it didn't really need to be made fun of.

"Gump"

If anything, I think this song should've made more fun of Forrest Gump, but I get the sense that Al actually rather liked the movie, and the song definitely pulls its punches.

January 19, 2009 - 6:37am
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