10 Most Iconic Weird Al Music Videos
It goes without saying that Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of song parodies. His nearly 50-year career outlasted some of the artists he parodied, with some of his songs becoming better known than the original songs Weird Al parodied. Weird Al’s parodies are iconic in their own right and prove that you don’t have to be vulgar or mean-spirited to be funny, just creative and maybe a little quirky.
Rising to fame in MTV’s early days, part of Weird Al so famous is his equally hilarious music videos which often parody the videos of the song he is aiming for. Every Weird Al video is full of sight gags and pop culture references to make viewers laugh. His parodies and music videos go hand in hand, and over the years there have been some truly iconic Weird Al videos.
10/10 “Jurassic Park” is a Claymation classic
“Jurassic Park” is a parody of “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris, who Harry Potter fans will know that Dumbledore of the first two films. The song, along with the video, is a humorous account of the plot of jurassic park. This is one of many instances in which Yankovic’s parody is actually better known than the original song.
“Jurassic Park” was Yankovic’s first fully animated video, something that would become a staple of his career. This was done using Claymation, giving the video a unique and unorthodox feel, which is exactly what a Weird Al video should be. The “Jurassic Park” video was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video short video, although she did not win.
9/10 ‘Trapped in the Drive-Through’ Takes the Weird and Makes It Hilariously Banal
At nearly eleven minutes, “Trapped In The Drive-Thru” is Weird Al’s longest parody, but also one of his best. Weird Al usually takes the original song and makes the lyrics weirder than they already are, but for R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closest” which Yankovic said “was already weird to begin withhe reversed the formula. Instead, it tells the extremely mundane story of a couple queuing at a drive-thru, and the result is nearly eleven minutes of comedic gold.
The music video for “Trapped In The Drive-Thru” was animated by Doogtoons’ Doug Bresler and perfectly captures Weid Al Yankovic’s overlong gag. The video was featured in various animation festivals and even won a few awards.
8/10 “Word Crimes” is funny and educational
By the early 2010s, song parodies had become extremely popular on Youtube, and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was among the most parodied songs. While most focused on the song’s controversial lyrical content, Weird Al wanted to stand out and instead delivered the hilarious “Word Crimes”, which parodies the misuse of proper English grammar.
The music video is made in kinetic typography, which is an animation technique that mixes movement and text. The video is endlessly entertaining and quite educational too. It has even been compared to other educational programs for children like the old one School Rock! musical cartoons. Although this is one of Weird Al’s “new” parodies, it is already one of his most popular videos.
7/10 ‘The Saga Begins’ tells the story from Obi-Wan’s perspective
Any fan of star wars is probably familiar with “The Saga Begins” by Weird Al. The song parodies “American Pie” by Don McLean with lyrics humorously summarizing the plot of The Phantom Menace of Obi Wan Kenobi perspective. Like “Jurassic Park,” “The Saga Begins” is both hilarious and legitimately a good summary of the film’s plot.
The video for “The Saga Begins” sees Weird Al don Obi-Wan’s iconic Jedi robes and perform at the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine. The video features “cameos” from Star Wars characters such as Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu and yoda. george lucas would have been a huge fan of the song and video, as was Don McLean. Now if only true phantom menace was also good.
6/10 “Fat” is a video parody masterpiece
Weird Al’s Second Michael Jackson Parody, “Fat” was an instant hit, winning the Grammy Award for Best Concept Music Video in 1988. The song and video continue to be one of Weird Al’s best-loved parodies.
It’s actually breathtaking the attention to detail that Yankovic puts into this video. The costumes, choreography and sound effects virtually mirror Michael Jackson’s original video for “Bad.” Weird Al even went so far as to use the exact same set that Jackson used for his video. Although it is one of his most beloved songs, it should be noted that some lyrics have not aged well.
5/10 ‘Smells Like Nirvana’ ushered Weird Al into the grunge era
According to the story, Weird Al called Kurt Cobain when he was on the set of Saturday Night Live to ask permission to parody “Smell Like Teen Spirit”. Cobain gave his permission, but not before asking:It’s not about food, is it??” to which Yankovic replied, “No, it’s about how no one can understand your words.” The song, “Smells Like Nirvana,” became a huge hit for Yankovic and helped re-energize his career.
The music video for “Smells Like Nirvana” is another example of Weird Al going to extreme lengths to make his video as identical to the original as possible. Not only did he use the exact same set, he even hired the same actors and extras.
4/10 “Like a Surgeon” Wasn’t Weird Al’s Idea
“Like a surgeon” which is a parody of Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”, is the only time Weird Al came up with the idea for a parody of the original artist, as it was Madonna who came up with the parody title. The song and video make a wonderful satire of the medical profession and offer sight gag after sight gag.
Usually, Weird Al simply parodies the music video the song is based on, but for “Like A Surgeon”, Weird Al parodies multiple Madonna music videos in one. Both. “Lucky Star” and “Burning Up” are imitated to some extent in the video. “Like A Surgeon” saw heavy rotation on the new launch MTV Network which helped it become one of Yankovic’s biggest hits.
3/10 ‘White & Nerdy’ brought Weird Al to the YouTube generation
One thing that really helped revitalize Weird Al’s career in the early 2000s when MTV started playing fewer music videos was the creation of YouTube. There, Yankovic found a new, younger audience and saw his career reach new heights. Among one of his earliest uploaded videos was “White & Nerdy,” which parodies Chamillionaire’s “Ridin.” “White & Nerdy” quickly became Weird Al’s most popular video and highest charting song.
The video for “White & Nerdy” satirizes and celebrates nerd culture and includes many references to stereotypical “nerd activities” like playing Dungeons & Dragons and collect figurines. It also features a hilarious cameo from Jordan Pele and Key Keegan Michael who play “gangstas” that Al can’t ride with because he’s “just too white and nerdy.”
2/10 “Eat It” turned Weird Al into a superstar
‘White & Nerdy’ may have revitalized Weird Al’s career, but “Eat It” is what started it. This parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” is how a majority of the world was introduced to Weird Al Yankovic, and nearly 40 years later, the joke is just as funny.
The “Eat It” video shows Yankovic’s dedication to carefully recreating his parody videos even early in his career. It’s almost a shot-for-shot remake that can be played perfectly in side-by-side sync with Jackson’s original. The only difference is Weird Al’s sight gags. Similar to “Like A Surgeon,” “Eat It” saw heavy rotation on MTV, which helped it become Yankovic’s most successful single to date. the release of “White & Nerdy”.
1/10 ‘Amish Paradise’ Captures Everything Fans Love About Weird Al
“Amish Paradise” perfectly encapsulates Weird Al’s brand of humor that is able to poke fun without being petty. It parodies “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, who wasn’t cool with Al’s parody when it first came out, but later admitted he found it funny.
The video was directed by Weird Al himself, and like most of his videos, it looks a lot like the original, but for “Amish Paradise,” he takes the sight gags to the Nth degree. From the stroller sticker to the two young boys looking at an “erotic” magazine from the ankles of a woman to Al’s face getting progressively sweatier each time he sings the chorus. “Amish Paradise” is easily Weird Al’s funniest and most iconic video of all time.