Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Irrepressible, Irresistible Weird Al Yankovic

I must admit to being a big fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic, America's parodist par excellence.  I've liked his stuff ever since the days of "My Bologna," "Ricky," and "Another One Rides the Bus," and he continues to amaze me with his wit, creativity, and ability to stay relevant regardless of changing musical styles and sensibilities (and no matter how old he gets -- heck, he's only a few months younger than I am).  The greatest irony associated with Weird Al's pop-song parodies is that they're almost always more memorable than the original tunes and artists.  If I may borrow from Abraham Lincoln: The world will little note, nor long remember The Greg Kihn Band (and "I Was in Jeopardy"), Coolio (and "Gangsta's Paradise"), or Puff Daddy (and "It's All About the Benjamins"), but it can never forget Weird Al and "I Lost on Jeopardy," "Amish Paradise," and "It's All About the Pentiums."  I can't say I've ever stood in awe of Bob Dylan, but I do marvel at Weird Al's "Bob," in which he manages to take fifty-or-so nonsensical palindromes (I know -- redundant), make them rhyme, and wrap them up in a package that sounds more profound than anything Dylan ever wrote.  And technology has enabled him to keep the lines coming even faster than a human being can physically sing them, as evidenced by more-recent classics like "Hardware Store" and "White and Nerdy" (see the YouTube embed below).  In short, "Weird Al" is comedic greatness personified.