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Weird Al: Surprising Persona, Even More Surprising Role Model

Photo credit: Taylor Kirby


Shocking as it may be, “Weird Al” Yankovich may serve the perfect template for a success story. Images of him sliding through a subway turnstile in a 500-pound fat suit or dancing around stage turning your favorite pop anthems into polka jams are more often than not the idea people have of the comedy icon; however, Weird Al was once an aspiring artist trying to find a voice.

In an hour long panel at Denver Comic Con 2017, Yankovich discussed his rise to fame and enduring inspirations with moderator and fellow comedian Ken Reid.

Before Eat It aired on MTV in 1984, Weird Al was on the prowl for comedy gigs throughout his hometown of Lynwood, California just outside of Hollywood. “I would drive into town and start annoying all the publicists I could,” Yankovich said. As a young person, this commitment to getting recognized provided to be his most useful trait. When asked about his creative process, Yankovich said, “I can always think of ideas, but rarely good ideas. I come up with 100 ideas and hope one works. Even then though, I’ll abandon some of my best ideas.” The ideas that did come to the surface though have become iconic in contemporary pop culture.

His musical career alone possesses some of the most recognizable parodies of all time. Eat It, Fat, White & Nerdy, and Amish Paradise all serve as monumental works of comedy. Don’t forget about his feature-length film, Ultra High Frequency, which he made as “an excuse to write a whole slew of gags into a movie.” He also is responsible for the theme song of the new Captain Underpants movie and has recently made numerous appearances on the hit TV show Comedy Bang Bang. “I have done a version of everything I’ve ever wanted to do,” Yankovich said while reflecting on the scope of his career. Even with that, he alluded to possibly doing a musical with Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda in the future. “He’s a little busy now,” Yankovich said, adding that they’ve tried to collaborate before.

Weird Al serves as a wonderful real world example of the ways in which determination and self-confidence can lead to success. This lesson alone serves as a surprising guiding light for ambitious young people wherever they may be.

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