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Let us now praise 'Weird Al' Yankovic

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153239__white_lAs most of us are painfully aware, not all ’80s icons are still churning out high-quality musical parody. But the great ”Weird Al” Yankovic — humorist, parodist, polkaist — has remained remarkably consistent over the years, though some would argue that the notorious shave-and-Lasik of 1998 was a misstep from which he’s never recovered.

It occurred to me this morning that Al is the only artist I’ve bought consistently since 1986. This probably says more about me than it does about Al. But, if his sales figures are any indication, it says something about a lot of us. So today, I’m moved to praise Al’s “White and Nerdy,” his riff on Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’.” I listened to it in passing before, but… man, it’s actually good, isn’t it? I mean:

“Shopping online for deals on some writable media
I edit Wikipedia
I memorized Holy Grail really well
I can recite it right now and have you ROTFLOL.”

Am I wrong (or white? or nerdy?), or does that actuallty possess the fabled “flow”? (In both Javascript and Klingon?) Al’s the elder statesman (and really the only “serious” practicioner) of song-parody, a field that ranks just below roadie’s-apprentice on the music-biz respect-o-meter. He is King Dork of Nerd Mountain (Ben Folds is Secretary of State), and “White and Nerdy” is, in many ways, the apotheosis of his art. Like a bird-chested man in glistening plastic pecs, the song takes possession of an edgy gestalt the singer can’t possess; then it blunts that edge, but blunts it with skill, with respect, with a tip of the hat to the artist who originally created it. I’ll always feel a little sorry for those who resist a good Yankovizing. Me, I’ve got it in my will: I would like my life polka-parodied by Al. It’s better than having your head frozen.

Keep it weird, Al. We laughed in ’86. We’re laughing now. Either we’re idiots or you’re a genius. Or, most likely, both.