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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic: On ‘Comeback’ Albums and Standing Out From the Crowd

Weird Al Yankovic
David Buchan, Getty Images

Just because you haven’t heard from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic in a while doesn’t mean that he’s been gone. He’s just been biding his time between releases, as per his master plan. The parody-song prince just released his 14th studio album, ‘Mandatory Fun,’ his first since 2011’s ‘Alpocalypse.’

“It feels like every album that I do is a ‘comeback’ album,” he tells ScreenCrush in an exclusive interview. “I give people a long time to recuperate from the last album and miss me a little bit, hopefully.”

It wasn’t always that way for Weird Al, who broke out in a big way some 30 years ago with comedy classics like ‘Eat It’ and ‘Like a Surgeon.’ “In the ’80s, I released an album virtually every year,” he says. “And I think a lot of that came out of fear, because it was drilled into me that I was going to be here today, gone tomorrow. I wanted to make sure people weren’t going to forget me. So, here’s another album! And here’s another album!”

But with a career that kept on killing ’em with tracks like ‘Amish Paradise’ and ‘White & Nerdy,’ Yankovic learned to relax a bit more. “Sometime in the early ’90s, I kind of was feeling more comfortable,” he says. “‘Well, I think I might be able to stay around a little while, so I’m going to take a little bit more time and really make every album an event.’ So, it became more of a three to four year release schedule at that point.”

He is taking more time between projects these days, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not challenging himself in other ways. Evidence of that can be heard in his spanking-new ‘Mandatory Fun’ tracks ‘Word Crimes‘ and ‘Tacky.’

“I’m trying to be funny in different ways and not just repeat the same tropes and concepts that I’ve done in the past, if I can help it,” he tells ScreenCrush. “And also because of portals like YouTube, I have to make sure that whatever I do kind of stands above everything else. Because there’s 10,000 people doing a parody of any given song these days and I have to be unique in some way.”

After all, Weird Al might be a one heck of a funny guy, but he takes his work completely seriously: “I love comedy music and this is my dream day job.”

Read the full interview at ScreenCrush.

Weird Al on Writing ‘Mandatory Fun’ + Choosing Songs to Parody

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