Birth of a Nerd

Timeless / Weird Al Yankovic released his 14th studio album while filming eight parody videos in eight days. Of course it’s a hit / Warner Music Group

By Liz Monroy

Long before YouTube, in the time when this thing called MTV told us what CDs to purchase, Weird Al Yankovic pioneered the genre of parody videos.

The 54-year-old satirist was nerdy long before it was mainstream, applying his polka romps to the day’s biggest hits.

In many ways, Weird Al has outlived the cool kids he’s piggybacked on while on his the way to making America’s songbook.

Since 1983, when the multitalented parodist began satirizing the hottest pop tracks of the day, Yankovic scored his first Billboard No.1 with the release of his 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun.

As usual, the songs are more than just a sum of the album’s parts.

Weird Al deftly uses social media, producing eight parody videos in eight days, tagging the releases with #8videos8days across platforms including YouTube, Twitter, College Humor, Funny or Die and The Nerdist.

Mandatory Fun stays true to Weird Al’s formula, singing about food (Royals parody Foils), saving grammar (Blurred Lines send up Word Crimes), and mashing a polka mix, a goofy GirlTalk that saps the cool factor out of the pop tripe that’s as catchy as it is vapid.

The videos are just as memorable. Iggy Azalea’s Fancy, a song schilling for the high life, is turned into Handy, which glorifies the virtues of DIY home improvement. Pharrell’s summer hit Happy is pealed open for the Tacky song it is.

Reviews by critics, but could be enjoyed as an escapist fantasy from a dull life.

In a way, Walker upheld the standard for the action heroes of today.

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He was the prototypical action star in the age of  video games.


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