The Immense Career Of Weird Al – Laser Time #315

If you’re under 40, odds are you’ve never known a world without Weird Al. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music, you’ve probably seen him pop up in cartoons, TV shows, movies, commercials, Youtube, podcasts, and every other realm of pop culture available. How does he stay relevant after all these years? Listen to find out!


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16 thoughts on “The Immense Career Of Weird Al – Laser Time #315

  1. Finally the Weird Al episode (sorry Bob)
    Btw guys it’s 4pm on the east coast and this still isn’t in my iTunes feed.

  2. I’m usually surprised how Matt can be a dozen years younger than me, but usually seems to fit in with the other guys, who are a handful of years younger than me. The last few weeks, though, Matt’s made a point of calling John Landis a murderer several times, which feels like someone who grew up with the internet telling him that John Landis was involved in an accident on set, instead of associating him with Spies Like Us, or Coming to America. It’s too bad youngsters have to be involved in rolling everything that’s ever happened in a celebrity’s life into hating their work, I feel like they’re missing a lot of good older content because of their outrage.

    I know my first Weird Al tape was Even Worse, I can’t remember if I saw an Al TV show at an uncle’s house, or a Dr Demento show, and that was why I got into Al. I got all his tapes before UHF came out, and my friend and I were huge fans, and couldn’t wait for the movie to come out. When it did, we were 12, and since UHF was rated PG 13, his mom wouldn’t let him go see it, so we went to see Uncle Buck instead. Uncle Buck seems like there’s a lot more in it that would offend churchy types than UHF, but try arguing with a churchy mom. I saw UHF a week or two later, and loved it, and its soundtrack, which had the song UHF on it, I don’t know why Chris would say it’s only on the movie. I never liked grunge music, and didn’t really like Off the Deep End, and though I’ve gotten all of Al’s albums since then UHF was the last one I really liked. Some of the original songs on later albums are good, but I don’t like parodies much any more, and parodies of musical styles I don’t like don’t appeal to me, and parodies of old songs like McArthur Park and American Pie felt like he was getting lazy. Now that he’s not planning to do albums, just “singles,” I wonder if he’ll still do originals, or just release parodies as new hits come along?

  3. I was hoping to see one of my favorite 80s cult movies included with Weird Al appearances. 1988’s Tape Heads, its such a weird funny movie staring John Cusak and Tim Robbins featuring a fictional parody of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. So many great cameos in it. I really look forward to it later this year on 30-20-10

  4. i love how Al can adapt in interviews. Has any of the lasertime crew/community seen his Nardwuar interview? Nardwuar’s insanely researched interviews usually surprise/sometimes put off the interviewee…but not Al. Al rolled with the punches and played along quite well.

  5. Great tribute to one of the most unique and influential voices in comedy boys.

    Funnily enough, everything I had to say about my personal experience and observations with Weird Al was brought up in this episode. I’m 6 years younger than Matt so I kinda missed the peak of Weird Al. I was aware of his existence through the mid 2000s because of stuff like White and Nerdy, but it never really registered. It’s only in the past 3-4 years that I’ve really developed an appreciation for Al, and it all started from hearing him on Comedy Bang Bang (the podcast) and then seeing his appearances and bandleader run on CBB (the tv show). Additionally, he made 2 hilarious appearances on Childrens’ Hospital, which is one of my favourite shows ever (watch the episode ‘Up at 5’ for a very good Weird Al joke/cameo).

    I went from appreciating Weird Al to legitimately loving him when I saw him in summer 2015 at Ottawa Bluesfest. I had a full festival pass and when I saw he was on the lineup I was interested although as a nice throw-in rather than a main attraction. I was enjoying the publicity he was getting for Mandatory Fun and the singles he put out were all pretty solid, but I wasn’t expecting much.

    Wow was that wrong. Weird Al’s set on a Sunday afternoon (the last day of the festival) obliterated my much too low expectations. It was a great crowd that showed the demographic that Weird Al has spanned, and the longevity that he has add. There were superfans there from day 1, people my age who got into him when White and Nerdy came out. AND there were children of superfans who have been introduced to Weird Al by their parents. 3 generations which was real powerful. And that doesn’t even cover the show. I can’t say enough how impressive Als showmanship and commitment to entertaining are. His live performance in the dead of summer featured several costume changes and he’s still running around giving a very physical performance like it’s nothing. The use of clips making fun of him in pop culture, or cameos from appearances in TV and movies is so brilliant because it means the show was never dragging during the costume changes. Also, there are some deep cuts in that clip reel (I believe there was once of him in some sort of yogurt commercial or parody commercial with Megan Amram). He played White and Nerdy during which I had the revelation similar to Chris that the parody has eclipsed the source material because I didn’t even know what the original song was.

    And the topper for all of this, speaking of his showmanship and ability to entertain and please a crowd. He closed his set (which as Matt said is very long, but in a good way) with Canadian Idiot. Keep in mind that this is during the Mandatory Fun where his big hits are Word Crimes, Foil, and Tacky. He played the first two and those were both awesome. BUT HE LEFT TACKY OFF THE SETLIST (arguably the biggest hit off that album) so he could close out with Canadian Idiot to play to the Canadian crowd in the country’s capital. And the performance ended with red and white confetti shot out of two confetti cannons on both ends of the stage. To me, that was the coolest fucking thing, and I’m smiling all over again thinking about that amazing concert.

    TL;DR – I need to watch UHF I guess

  6. I HATED Weird Al and thought he was a hack(still kinda do) until I started hearing him in CBB the podcast as a regular person and got used to a world of other parody singers and saw his amazing talent shine through.

  7. One of my absolute favorite “Weird Al” pieces of media is his mockumentary “The Compleat Al”. It was a feature length special on Showtime back in the 80s and is now available on DVD and can be purchased for streaming. It’s biographical and gives a fairly accurate history of Al’s life and career up to that point but also has a lot of comedy, complete nonsense, and skits that are kind of the proto-UHF. It also has a lot of clips from things like Al TV and Dr. Demento if you haven’t seen those. The only part that is hard to watch now are the scenes with his real life parents who tragically died in a gas leak.

  8. Bad Hair Day was my first CD I got. From there it got me into other songs due to the polka versions of them.
    Mandatory Fun was the FIRST Digital Album I’ve ever purchased.

    Recently he took my Simpsons Tapped Out Screenshot and shared it on Twitter. So at some point he saved my photo on his phone. That makes me feel very happy


    Then Weird’s Al’s

    I want you guys to do another one please but this time do a discograpy I’ll EAT IT !

  9. Recently, Weird Al is the main character on Disney’s Milo Murphy’s Law. It’s a great show by the Phineas and Ferb creators. I highly recommend it!

  10. For being such big fans of the show I’m kind of surprised you didn’t reference the line Hank says in King of the Hill “Al Yankovich Blew his brains out the the late 80s after people stopped buying his records.”

  11. For those who grew up in Canada in the 90’s, we saw Weird Al videos played a lot on MuchMusic, the Canadian version of MTV. And Al would even do occasional specials called Al Music where he would take over the channel, making jokes, doing skits, playing the edited celebrity interviews, and editing / talking over music videos. I remember him talking over almost the entirety of Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box, and whenever I see that video some of his jokes still come back to my head.

  12. My first exposure to Weird Al was on a flight from New York to Orlando to visit DisneyWorld. In the early-to-mid 90s, when Delta was the official airline of Walt Disney World, they had a Weird Al channel on their on-board radio, but only on flights to Orlando. I guess the idea was that, since so many families fly to Orlando for vacation, they would provide a “family friendly station” that everyone could enjoy. I loved it so much, that I didn’t shut up about it then entire week we were at Disney World. I just kept singing “I’m afraid these things will harm me, cuz they sure don’t look like Barney” over and over and over again, because it was the only thing I could remember. I’m sure it was obnoxious, but my parents were happy because, rather than pouting that we had to leave Disney World, I was excited to get on a plane to listen to that funny song guy again… … … except the Weird Al Station wasn’t available on flights FROM Orlando, only flights GOING to Orlando. Our flight home had the regular dumb channels for dumb grown-ups.
    I thought I’d never hear those songs again, but I came home from school a few weeks later to my dad yelling “Will you turn down your stupid music!” He had bought me “Weird Al’s Permanent Record,” a 4 CD boxed set with that collected everything up to “Alapalooza” and was blasting it in the living room when I got home. It was the first CD I had ever owned, and we listened to it CONSTANTLY.
    It’s one of my favorite memories, not only because my dad put a lot of work into the pageantry of giving me CDs, but because we both got way into Weird Al, together. He is still obsessed with Al, maybe even moreso than I am – he spent real money on tickets to see him at The Hollywood Bowl. “What happened to that boxed set?” you ask? Well gee, I haven’t seen it since I went away for college, but my dad sure does seem to have a lot of Weird Al on his stereo. HMMM INDEED!

    PS – I can’t believe that no one brought up The Weird Al Show, and that no one has left a comment about it after almost 2 weeks. SHAME!

  13. Its strange that you guys missed what must be my favorite Al nod/Easter egg, especially because you mentioned all those other parody acts, but I guess its pretty minor. Still I just love the Novelty Hitmakers Magazine gag from Flight of the Concords 🙂

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