Lanky comedian "Weird Al" Yankovic is best known for his goofy but dead-on send-ups of pop hits and their videos. He attempted to translate his popularity to feature films with UHF (1989) with little success. He has made cameo appearances in feature films as well. In 1997, he launched a children's television show in which he showed his video parodies and played different characters. It was canceled after a single season, not because the show was bad, but because the network, CBS, canceled all of its live-action children's Saturday morning programming due to consistently low ratings.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Influences include Spike Jones, Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, Allan Sherman, Shel Silverstein and Frank Zappa.
- Valedictorian of his high school class.
- Began his career while a teenager in the 1970s by sending cassettes of his accordion-powered ditties to Dr. Demento, whose syndicated radio show featured comedy and novelty songs.
- Deejayed on his college radio station under the name "Weird Al."
- Released his first single, "My Bologna," a parody of the Knack's "My Sharona," in 1979.
- Well-known parodies include "Another One Rides the Bus" (Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust"); "Eat It" (Michael Jackson's "Beat It"); "I'm Fat" (Jackson's "I'm Bad"); and "Amish Paradise" (Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise").
- Released the first musical-comedy album on CD with Dare to Be Stupid in 1985.
- Receives permission from the writers of the songs he parodies (although, legally, he doesn't have to).