FEW WOULD HAVE GUESSED that “Weird Al” Yankovic – who as a shy, accordion-playing teenager got his start sending homemade tapes in to the Dr. Demento Radio Show – would go on to become the biggest-selling comedy recording artist in history and a pop culture icon. Now in his fourth career decade as America’s foremost song parodist, he has been honored with four Grammy ® Awards and fifteen nominations, including his most recent win in 2015 for Mandatory Fun, the first-ever comedy album in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts, capping a career’s worth of accolades for classic song and music video parodies such as “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” “White & Nerdy” and “Tacky.” Following his wildly successful 2015 Mandatory World Tour, traveling to more than 100 cities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, the tour continues beginning on June 3, with Yankovic bringing his high-energy comedy rock show to another 80 cities across North America including New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and two nights at the legendary Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles where he will be performing with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
In the wake of his 1989 cult-hit feature film UHF, his late 1990s CBS Saturday morning series The Weird Al Show and numerous AL-TV specials he’s made for MTV and VH1 over the years, Yankovic has remained a staple of film and television, from appearances on The Simpsons and 30 Rock to a musical production at the 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards. Most recently he has guested on ABC’s Galavant (as a singing monk) and The Goldbergs (as the ‘80s version of himself). This spring Yankovic joins the fifth season of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang! as its new co-host and bandleader, and this fall he will be heard as the voice of the title character in Disney XD’s new animated series Milo Murphy’s Law (from the creators of Phineas and Ferb), in the wake of other voiceover work for Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Adventure Time and the DC animated feature Batman vs. Robin. His live performance on George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison was recently released across all formats, while Legacy Recordings is planning a career-spanning box set featuring all 14 “Weird Al” Yankovic studio albums digitally remastered later this year. Also, NECA will debut the first in a line of retro-clothed Weird Al action figures in May.
In the last decade, Yankovic’s music and videos have only become more popular. His 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood spawned the Billboard Top 10 single “White & Nerdy,” the video for which spent two months at #1 on iTunes and garnered over 150 million web hits. In 2009 he wrote, directed and starred in the themed attraction Al’s Brain: A 3-D Journey through the Human Brain featuring cameos by his mother-in-law and Paul McCartney. Two years later, in tandem with the release of his album Alpocalypse, Comedy Central aired the concert special “Weird Al” Yankovic Live: The Alpocalypse Tour, filmed at Toronto’s venerable Massey Hall, and released the unedited version of the concert on DVD and Blu-ray. In 2012, The Nerdist Channel debuted Face 2 Face with “Weird Al” Yankovic, a web series where Al got to “interview” some of his “close, personal friends” in the entertainment biz. In July 2014 Yankovic released his 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun, which would go on to win Best Comedy Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
The album features parodies of some of the biggest hits of the previous year, including Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (“Tacky”), Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (“Word Crimes”), Lorde’s “Royals”(“Foil”), Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”(“Handy”) and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (“Inactive”). Thea lbum also features several inspired originals and pastiches (“Lame Claim to Fame,” “Sports Song,” “My Own Eyes,” “Mission Statement,” “First World Problems” and “Jackson Park Express”) along with Al’s latest accordion-fueled medley, “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!” Mandatory Fun debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, the first time a comedy album debuted at #1 and the first tim ea comedy album reached the top of the chart in more than 50 years (the last one being Allan Sherman’s 1963 release My Son, the Nut). On Spotify, Yankovic set the U.S. record for having the most tracks from one album in the viral top 10 at one time, taking the first four spots. Internationally, the album debuted in the Top 10 in both Canada andA ustralia (#3 and #9 respectively). In addition, ”Word Crimes” debuted in the Billboard Top 40, making Al one of only three people to have had Top 40 singles in each of the last four decades, the other two being Michael Jackson and Madonna. For Mandatory Fun, Al released eight music videos (“Tacky,” “Word Crimes,” “Foil,” “Handy,” “Sports Song,” “Lame Claim to Fame,” “First World Problems” and “Mission Statement”) acrosse ight days, resulting in more than 46 million views combined in its first week. For the videos he teamed up with various production partners such as Nerdist Industries, CollegeHumor, Yahoo!,Funny Or Die and TruScribe, as well as talented auteurs like Liam Lynch, Jarrett Heather and Tim Thompson.
Yankovic added “New York Times best selling author” to his resume with the release of his 2011 children’s book, When I Grow Up (Harper Collins). The following year came Weird Al: The Book (Abrams), an illustrated hardcover on Al’s life and career, followed by another Al-penned kids’ book, My New Teacher and Me! in 2013. Currently in the pipeline is a television show based on his children’s books, being developed with the Jim Henson Company.