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Weird science

Al Yankovic's coming up on 30 years in music. No joke


The above photo serves as solid proof that Alfred - Yankovic is an O.C.  original comedian.
  • The above photo serves as solid proof that Alfred Yankovic is an O.C. original comedian.

There's no denying that Alfred Matthew Yankovic known better to the world as "Weird Al" has had the most unlikely of careers.

"It's an amazing niche I've carved out for myself," Yankovic says over the phone from a tour stop in Ohio, "and I'm really thankful that I've taken my two passions comedy and music and I was able to fashion some kind of vocation out of it, which, against all odds, I'm still doing to this day."

He adds: "Rock needs a court jester, I suppose, and I think I might be fulfilling that position."

From his first noteworthy success in 1979 with "My Bologna," parodying The Knack's hit "My Sharona," to last year's Top 10 hit "White & Nerdy," which mimicked "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone, Yankovic has sold more than 12 million albums, earned three Grammy Awards and become a fixture in mainstream popular culture.

So when did he know that this hobby of his had transformed into a career?

"I don't know if I ever reached that point," Yankovic says. "I was thinking it was going to end any day now. I don't know, I never really thought beyond a couple of years in the future. Certainly nobody had much confidence in me when I got signed to a record deal. They thought I might have a novelty hit or two, and that would be the last people would hear from me.

"People, I think, were amazed I was able to hang in there and kind of ride the coattails of pop culture for all of these years. And probably nobody more so than myself."

Affirmation has come to Yankovic in many different forms. Early on, he received positive response from the oddball comedy program The Dr. Demento Show, but it wasn't until a decade or so into his career, after MTV made him a household name, that he began getting the attention of the superstars he was parodying.

"I guess certainly one of my favorites is Nirvana, because both Dave [Grohl] and Kurt [Cobain] mentioned that they really liked the song ["Smells like Nirvana']," Yankovic says. "The line from them I like quoting all of the time is, they didn't realize they had made it until they heard the Weird Al parody. So they really took it as an homage."

Among those who didn't approve of a Weird Al parody were Paul McCartney and Eminem. But Yankovic makes it a point to personally talk to all artists prior to releasing a song. The 47-year-old says a contract regarding royalty splits are agreed upon by both parties.

Life is definitely good for Yankovic, who has returned to the road this summer for another tour. Considering he parodies artists for a living, it's apropos that Weird Al, when asked how long he can go on performing, uses his current tour to take a shot at Baby Boomer acts.

"This is my farewell tour," Yankovic says, laughing. "Until my next tour."

Weird Al Yankovic

Colorado State Fairgrounds, 1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo

Thursday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $20 (includes gate admission if purchased in advance); visit

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