Next story: Dancing With a Piano
by Andrew Esposito
Friday, October 4, 8pm
Hamburg Casino at the Fairgrounds Event Center
$24.95 to $34.95; All ages.
Weird Al Yankovic brings his deranged musical comedy to the Hamburg Casino
What one thing do all great puppeteers have in common? Talented puppets? Perhaps they use special strings that don’t snap under the glare of a disdainful crowd.
For living legendary musical comedian Weird Al Yankovic, the answer probably has something to do with persistence and humility. Already well into his third decade of international prominence as an actor, musician and all around fantasy-weaver, Weird Al is showing no signs of slowing. His upcoming show at the Hamburg Fairgrounds is one of many stops on tour in support of his latest chart-topping studio album, Alpocalypse. The album’s success is due largely to opening track “Perform This Way,” a brilliant, if acidic, response to Lady Gaga’s illusory public image as a genuine freak. He’s just had his second children’s book published, and has recently appeared (with hilarious results) in such television programs as Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Yo! Gabba Gabba, and Comedy Bang Bang.
One can only assume that Mr. Al has a few deep-fried secrets up his sleeve for staying relevant and, more importantly, deranged.
AV: In a nutshell, how have you stayed ripe for so long?
Weird Al: [No comment.]
AV: Your upcoming show is an all-ages event. How essential are children to the live Weird Al experience? Do you tend to feed off of youthful energy in a live setting?
Weird Al: I’ve always had a family friendly show and its very gratifying for me to look out into an audience and to see a multi-generational crowd and everybody enjoying my comedy on a different level. It’s nice that there’s something about my comedy that appeals to so many different kinds of people.
AV: What sort of advice would you give to talented young musicians who may feel a need to repress their comedic impulses?
Weird Al: You have to be who you are. There are some people who will denigrate you if you try to be funny doing anything because they somehow feel that if it’s funny it isn’t art, or somehow doesn’t merit any kind of accolades, but I think if that’s the kind of thing you wanna put out into the world you shouldn’t hold yourself back. Humor is extremely important to civilization—even though some people may not think so it’s one of the most important things in life. I don’t think you should hold yourself back if thats where your impulses are.
AV: For decades your albums have consisted of a blend of parody renditions of popular songs alongside original compositions. Is it especially gratifying when one of your originals receives a lot of positive feedback?
Weird Al: I suppose I really appreciate the positive feedback by the originals, just because the parodies get so much attention. Virtually every hit that I’ve ever had has been a parody so it’s very gratifying when fans tell me how much the original songs mean to them. I know that the hardcore fans appreciate the originals as much as the parodies, but I’ve always been known as the parody guy.
AV: Can you tell me a little bit about your experience of collaborating with other creative comedians, such as Tim and Eric?
Weird Al: I don’t know how I’ve become accepted in so many circles but I’m very happy to be embraced by the existing comedy community. I think my having a presence on social media might have something to do with that, and perhaps, you know, I can’t speak for them, but I think maybe some of the younger comedians in the spotlight now perhaps listened to my stuff when they were growing up. Maybe in some small way I was an inspiration or an influence on them and if that’s the case then I’m very gratified.
AV: By having you on their show, they are not only paying tribute to you but also helping to expose you to a younger audience that may not be as familiar with your work.
Weird Al: It’s just nice to feel accepted, you know. I mean, I love working with all these people and it’s just great that they don’t mind having me around.
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