For nearly three decades “Weird Al” Yankovic has been the unparalleled master of song parody. With over 150 songs in his repertoire, he’s taken on nearly every musical genre and pop culture reference imaginable. He’s also created a venerable roster of hilarious and memorable music videos. When MTV was just starting out, Al became one of the first people to inject humor into the relatively new art form. And as music videos became more sophisticated, so did Al’s.
Part of the appeal of Al’s videos is seeing him slip into the roles of the artists he’s parodying. By becoming Kurt Cobain or Lady Gaga, he tears down the artifice of celebrity and the superficiality of mainstream music. But Al’s more than a musical chameleon, he takes what’s popular and makes it accessible to the people who aren’t. As a kid who didn’t fit in, I couldn’t relate to the cool and popular version, but I could relate to Al’s.
Al started directing most of his videos in the 90s, but more recently he’s switched over to using animation to make his videos. His most recent album “Alpocalypse” was the first to have a music video for every single track, almost all of which were animated. Nowadays seeing a music video on MTV is a rarity but thanks to Youtube (and Al!), all his videos are available online. So without further ado, I proudly present all 45 official “Weird Al” music videos.
We’ve split the post up into eight pages to prevent your browser from melting from 45 embedded videos, but if you’re feeling ballsy, you can see it as one page right here.
“Ricky” is credited as Al’s first official music video* and may be the first comedic music video ever aired on MTV. Al turns Toni Basil’s cheerleading anthem “Mickey” into an “I Love Lucy” rerun complete with a rare onscreen appearance of Tress MacNeille (of Simpsons and Futurama fame) as Lucy. Al plays himself and Ricky, giving us a sneak preview of future Al without his famous ‘stache. Al’s mentor Dr. Demento can be seen dancing at the end, his first of many cameos in Al’s videos (He’s also in “I Love Rocky Road,” “I Lost On Jeopardy,” and “Headline News”).
*A demo version of “My Bologna” (1979) was shot but isn’t considered an official video.
“I Love Rocky Road” (1983)
In this parody of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll”, a leather-clad Al transplants the action from a tough greaser bar to a family friendly ice cream parlor. We get some early glimpses into Al’s later video tropes, including the visual explanation for an unusual song noise (in this case, Joan Jett’s “Ow!” is revealed to be from a kid biting his ankle). Be on the lookout for Al’s band in all his videos — he’s been with them since the beginning and they make for some hilarious background players. (And while Al may love rocky road, the ice cream used in the video is actually mashed potatoes.)
“Eat It” (1984)
Nearly a shot for shot remake of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” this is the first time Al fully parodies the music video as much as the song. Almost every scene is packed with gags spoofing the original, including the two gang members squaring off with utensils and a rubber chicken instead of switchblades. This song won Al a Grammy, and he will parody Michael Jackson (and food) again in his hit song “Fat.”
“I Lost On Jeopardy” (1984)
Inspired by the 1960s version of Jeopardy! Al watched as a kid (when it was hosted by a pre-Trebek Art Fleming, who cameos) Al parodies “Jeopardy” by The Greg Kihn Band. As a losing contestant, Al receives a brutal tongue-lashing from Don Pardo before being driven away by real-life Greg Kihn. The ending parodies the original video and is also the first cameo by an original artist in one of Al’s videos.
“This Is The Life” (1984)
This original song by Al was featured as the theme song to the movie Johnny Dangerously. Interspersed with clips from the movie, Al plays a wealthy one-percenter living high on the hog. This video contains the first instance of Al’s longstanding use of the number 27.
“Like A Surgeon” (1985)
Madonna famously gave Al the “Like a Virgin” parody idea by asking a friend when he was going to do “Like a Surgeon.” This video is where Al really starts to hit his stride using the nonstop sight gags that become a trademark of his later videos. Here Al plays a dangerously incompetent doctor (paging Dr. Spaceman?) who in between malpractice suits has time to mimic Madonna’s sensual writhing to hilarious effect.
“Dare To Be Stupid” (1985)
“Dare to Be Stupid” is a wonderfully bizarre Devo pastiche, sending up absurdity and cementing Al’s status in nerd culture at the same time. Filled with visual non sequiturs and surreal imagery, Al pays homage to some elements from Devo videos, most notably the yellow jumpsuits from “Satisfaction.” (Mark Mothersbaugh is a fan.) It’s also, frankly, a cool video. Despite his status as a “parody artist,” Al is creating just as sophisticated and experimental videos as the original artists during the time.
“One More Minute” (1985)
Al doesn’t get enough credit for his original songs, but particularly his original songs of heartbreak. He’s fantastic at lampooning the absurdities of love and the people who are oblivious in their relationships (as we’ll see again in “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”). Inspired by a real life breakup, Al plays a broken-hearted doo-wop crooner who goes so far as to rip up a picture of the actual ex-girlfriend who inspired the song.
“Living With A Hernia” (1986)
Parodying James Brown’s “Living in America,” Al adapts The Godfather of Soul’s shrieks and dance moves to portray a man suffering from a painful hernia. Al even films on the same stage as the original video from Rocky IV. This video is funny and also strangely educational about all matters hernia related. Al will later provide similar bodily education in his song “Pancreas.”
“Christmas At Ground Zero” (1986)
This Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” inspired Christmas carol celebrates the holidays during the nuclear apocalypse. One of Al’s darker tunes, it was largely banned by broadcasters (even today Al can’t play it because of the 9/11 “ground zero” connotations). Al financed the video himself and used public-domain Cold War era footage, although he appears briefly at the end with merry gas mask-donning carolers. This is the first video Al directed himself, although he doesn’t start directing regularly until “Bedrock Anthem.”
This Grammy Award-winning video is pure Al excellence. It’s a start to finish spot on parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” (which I would recommend watching beforehand if you haven’t seen it). Al even got permission from MJ to use the same set as the original video. Al’s makeup took three hours to apply every day and his fat suit weighed 40 pounds, although he’s managed to simplify the process down to a minute long costume change for his live performances.
“Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*” (1989)
This video originally appeared as one of Al’s dream sequences in UHF (If you haven’t seen UHF, go watch it, it’s on Netflix Instant!). Al parodies the Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” video with pinpoint accuracy, down to the cheesy but still kind of awesome animation effects and swapping in the Beverly Hillbillies. Besides the funky punctuation in the song title (a legality thing), the only other condition for the parody was that Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits played the famous guitar part.
“UHF” is Al’s original theme song to his movie UHF (Once again, if you haven’t seen it, go!). Interspersed with clips from the movie are parodies of a ton of popular 80s music videos. Especially notable here is that while Al was never able to obtain permission from Prince to parody his songs, he was granted permission to parody his videos. So while we’ll never hear a “Weird Al” Prince parody, at least we get a taste of what it would have looked like.
“Smells Like Nirvana” (1992)
Al famously got permission for this “Smells Like Teen Spirit” parody from Kurt Cobain himself when he was performing on Saturday Night Live. In this Grammy-nominated video, Al satirizes Nirvana and the grunge movement, shooting on the same set as the original video and using the same actor who played the janitor (Rudy Larosa). Dick Van Patten has a cameo (he’s also in “Bedrock Anthem”), and while I couldn’t find him, skateboarder Tony Hawk was an extra during the shoot.
“You Don’t Love Me Anymore” (1992)
While the song itself is an original Al, the video is a parody of Extreme’s “More Than Words” due to pressure from Al’s label for a video parody. Rudy Larosa makes another appearance here, and Al smashes a $1,000 guitar in one take. But more importantly, where else but a “Weird Al” video can you see Robert Goulet in a bear trap?
“Jurassic Park” (1993)
With Steven Spielberg’s blessing, Al takes us on trip to Jurassic Park, parodying the Richard Harris and drag queen performance staple “MacArthur Park.” The video is done in claymation and in the style of Will Vinton’s educational film strip Dinosaurs! - A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time! This is Al’s first video to be done exclusively in animation, which eventually becomes a staple of his later videos. (On a personal note, it never gets old seeing Barney’s head ripped off.)
“Bedrock Anthem” (1993)
Unlike Kurt Cobain, the Red Hot Chili Peppers weren’t as big fans of their Weird Al homage. This video parodies two of their songs and videos, “Under the Bridge” and “Give It Away” and marks Al’s first directing turn since “Christmas at Ground Zero.” The “Give It Away” section was shot in the same stretch of desert as the original, and the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon “No Rain” video reprises her role and gets poked off the stage.
“Headline News” (1994)
Al takes on the mostly forgotten Crash Test Dummies in this parody of “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”, to tell us the tales of three 90s tabloid news stories: Michael Fay, Tonya Harding, and John Wayne Bobbitt (Lorena Bobbitt is played by Judy Tenuta). While the references don’t hold up as well now, the song’s message that our fame-centric society loves to capitalize on tragic events is timeless. Look out for The People’s Court’s Doug Llewelyn.
“Amish Paradise” (1996)
Although this is one of Al’s best videos, the song sparked a minor beef with Coolio when Al thought he had permission to parody “Gangsta’s Paradise” (which itself sampled Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise”) when Coolio never actually approved. (They’ve since patched things up.) Florence Henderson replaces Michelle Pfeiffer in the original video and an Amish Al replaces singer L.V. during his sweat-soaked profile shots. To get the barnyard segment in reverse, Al had to phonetically sing the song lyrics backwards.
In one of his shortest songs, Al parodies “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America by singing about Forrest Gump (played by Andy Comeau). Some of the bench stranger cameos include Laugh In’s Ruth Buzzy and Pat Boone.
“Spy Hard” (1996)
If you haven’t seen Weird Al’s cameo in the first The Naked Gun do that now. Back? Ok. “Spy Hard” is Al’s third movie theme and reunites him with Leslie Nielsen. This video plays during the opening credits and parodies James Bond title sequences, specifically the one from Thunderball. Legend has it that while recording the theme, Tom Jones held the last note so long he passed out. Here, Al’s head explodes.
“The Saga Begins” (1999)
After taking a few years off, Al’s back with a brand new look (Thanks, LASIK!) to turn Don McLean’s “American Pie” into MTV Unplugged: Star Wars edition. Al as Obi-Wan Kenobi sings about Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, and arguably makes way more sense than the actual movie. Probably most impressive is that Al wrote the song solely from internet spoilers before seeing the movie, only needing to make minor adjustments once it came out. The Force is strong with this one.
“It’s All About The Pentiums” (1999)
While a frequent criticism is that a lot of Al’s earlier songs were about food, his later songs frequently return to the subject of computers and technology. Al takes on Y2K and computer culture in this parody of “It’s All About The Benjamins” by Diddy (then Puff Daddy). The video parodies a few rap videos from the time including “Mo Money Mo Problems” by Biggie. UHF buddy Emo Philips plays the technological loser and Drew Carey cameos.
In this Bob Dylan pastiche, Al riffs on Dylan’s frequently cryptic lyrics by singing only in palindromes. The video is a spot on homage of “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, complete with Allen Ginsberg and the other guy chatting in the background. Al used this sign-tossing technique previously in UHF when parodying the INXS video “Meditate” (which itself was an homage to “Subterranean”).
“Don’t Download This Song” (2006)
Written at the height of the R.I.A.A.’s crackdown on file-sharing, this is Al’s first fully animated video since “Jurassic Park” and his first animated by Bill Plympton. The political message behind this 80s charity anthem pastiche is left intentionally vague by Al. The video follows the journey of a young boy who gets thrown in jail and sentenced to death all for just downloading a song. From this point on, Al switches almost exclusively over from live-action to animated music videos.
“I’ll Sue Ya” (2006)
In this “Rage Against the Machine” style parody, Al skews the people who start frivolous lawsuits rather than take blame for their stupidity. The video was made by Thomas Lee, known for “Star Wars Gangsta Rap.”
“Virus Alert” (2006)
In this Sparks-style parody, Al satirizes those “virus hoax” forwards that plagued everyone’s inboxes in the early 2000s but with exaggerated and humorous effects. The video was made by David Lovelace of “Retarded Animal Babies” (whose characters make cameos in the video).
“Close But No Cigar” (2006)
This highly enjoyable and highly cheeky video was directed by John Kricfalusi of Ren & Stimpy fame. Through the eyes of his lecherous character Cigarettes the Cat, we see sexy ladies and lots of bouncing boobies and butt cheeks. Al wrote this song after being inspired by a friend who constantly rejected girls for nitpicky and Seinfeldian reasons, and sings it in the style of Cake (he’s friends with lead singer John McCrea).
Al sings a trippy Brian Wilson style love song dedicated to his favorite bodily organ, the pancreas. Directed by Jim Blashfield, the video is comprised mostly of stock footage but gives a whole new respect for such an overlooked organ.
“Weasel Stomping Day” (2006)
This cheerful tune commemorates the murderous (and thankfully fictitious) holiday of Weasel Stomping Day (which according to Al falls on June 31). The video was produced for an episode of Robot Chicken and was done in their signature stop-motion action-figure animated style. Some of the dying weasel shrieks were provided by Al’s wife, daughter, and pet bird. Awww.
“White & Nerdy” (2006)
Al is back in live-action with this parody of “Ridin’” by Chamillionaire (featuring Krayzie Bone). Using enough nerdy references and sight gags to make a Trekkie blush, Al plays a dweeb ostracized from the gangsters for being too white and nerdy. Al nerdifies some elements from the original video, including shaping the road flares like PacMan and swapping out Snoop Dogg for Donny Osmond. Seth Green (see their previous collaboration in “Weasel Stomping Day”) and Judy Tenuta also make cameos. The very beginning includes an awesome appearance from a pre-Comedy Central show Key & Peele.
“Do I Creep You Out” (2006)
This is Al’s first collaboration with animation studio JibJab, known for their signature style of blending photography and animation. Parodying the song “Do I Make You Proud” by the mostly forgotten Taylor Hicks (from American Idol), Al plays a stalker pining after a creeped out Starbucks barista. Al has previously taken on a stalker relationship in his original song “Melanie.”
“Trapped in the Drive Thru” (2007)
Al skews the outlandishness of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” by shifting the premise to the most mundane thing possible: a married couple who can’t decide what to do for dinner. Even though nothing really happens besides a trip to the drive-thru, it’s presented in the same escalating way as the original right down to the dramatic cliffhanger endings. It’s hilarious but also a pretty spot on parody of the banality of married life. The video was created by Doug Bresler of Doogtoons and is Al’s longest parody (his longest song however is fan favorite “Albuquerque”).
In this The Doors pastiche, Al pulls on his leather pants and channels Mr. Mojo Risin’ (aka Jim Morrison) to take on the strange psychedelic wonderland that is Craigslist. The video was made on a much lower budget than “White & Nerdy,” and was shot in director Liam Lynch’s garage in front of a green screen. Former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek was brought on to recreate their sound.
“Skipper Dan” (2009)
Inspired by a trip to Disneyland where Al’s Jungle Cruise guide made an offhand comment about his failed acting career, the Weezer-influenced “Skipper Dan” was born. One of Al’s more poignant songs, it describes the sad fate of an actor whose dreams didn’t come true (hello Los Angeles). The video was created by Divya Srinivasan.
Al reunites with JibJab to chronicle the superhuman exploits of a larger than life Charles Nelson Reilly (of Match Game fame) in this White Stripes style parody. The video uses JibJab employees as actors mixed in with shots of Al and his drummer playing Jack and Meg White.
This Queen-inspired song is about a guy who adds downloading a stupid ringtone to his greater life regrets. Hey, that thing cost $1.99! The video was created by SuperNews!.
“If That Isn’t Love” (2010)
In this Hanson style parody (Tyler Hanson plays keyboards on this song), Al sings about the love he feels for his special lady by describing all the minor, half-assed things he’s willing to do for her. Hey, sometimes all a girl needs to hear is “When we’re at parties I don’t talk about your spastic bladder.” The video was directed and animated by Brian Frisk.
Al reunites with Bill Plympton for this parody of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me.” In the video a woman has her butt photographed by a TMZ papparazzo and is horrified when it’s plastered all over town. Listen carefully for Tom Kenny (of Spongebob and Mr. Show) as the voice of the tabloid headlines. (Side note: I once saw TMZ paps in Hollywood pestering “Weird Al” and his wife walking back to their car. No butt pictures were taken though to the best of my knowledge.)
“Party in the CIA” (2011)
This parody of “Party in the U.S.A” is one of Al’s darker songs and describes the violent adventures of a covert CIA operative set to the bubblegum pop of Miley Cyrus. It was animated by Roque Ballesteros, who Al sought out for their dark aesthetic and work on “Happy Tree Friends.” This marks the first time Al has parodied both a father and his daughter. (He previously parodied Billy Ray Cyrus in “Achy Breaky Song.”)
“Whatever You Like” (2011)
This parody of “Whatever You Like” by T.I. is Al’s only song to share the same title as the original song. The video was created by animator Cris Shapan.
“Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me” (2011)
This epic Jim Steinman-influenced song describes the singer’s hatred for stupid email forwards. The video was done by Koos Dekker in a kinetic typography of the lyrics. (I can’t be the only Splitsider reader shouting “THANK YOU!” at the line: “And by the way your quotes from George Carlin aren’t really George Carlin.”)
“Another Tattoo” (2011)
This parody of “Nothin’ On You” by B.o.B. (featuring Bruno Mars) is about a guy who keeps getting more and more bizarre tattoos. The video was made by Augenblick Studios (of Ugly Americans fame) and illustrates the man’s tats in a distinctive tattoo art style.
“Perform This Way” (2011)
This Grammy-nominated video almost never was thanks to the “Weird Al”/ Lady Gaga controversy that blew up last year. (They’ve seen patched things up.) Similarly to “Smells Like Nirvana,” Al gives us a satirical take on the performer, skewing Lady Gaga’s pseudo-shocking fashions and behavior. To get the effect in the video, Al’s head was superimposed on the bodies of a female dancer and contortionist using CGI. This is the first time Al’s ever played a woman in one of his videos and the second appearance by a Madonna impersonator (previously seen in “Like A Surgeon”).
“Polka Face” (2011)
This is Al’s only polka medley to receive a music video. Framed by Al performing on a mountaintop with a band of lederhosen-clad Yetis, the video uses a variety of animation styles for each segment and song.
Natalie Hazen is a writer in Los Angeles and can frequently be seen haunting Nerdist theatre.