Weird Al Yankovic is an interesting character… and he’s somebody I was obsessed with as a teen. I *ahem* shared some albums that some friends may have “acquired” on Napster back in the early 2000s, and many of the songs I rocked out to weren’t actual pop songs from the day, but a parody of pop songs, recorded by none other than Weird Al. Honestly, I listened to him so much that half his songs didn’t even seem funny to me, since I didn’t even know what they were a parody of. I’ll bet my experience with Weird Al was the opposite of most people: I’d hear a song a few week later on the radio and go “Whoah, wait… that’s the song that Weird Al was parodying? I wondered!”
We didn’t have Internet radio back then, and I wasn’t really into listening to contemporary pop music, so there was no way (for example) for me to know that “Gump” was actually a spoof on a song called “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America. I had just assumed that it was an original tune of Yankovic’s.
Fast forward a few years (well, a decade or more) and here I am, a married man, with kids, who has long since moved past the silly music I listened to as a kid. But my wife was driving around and running errands, and heard a radio announcer say “We’re offering two free tickets for the upcoming Weird Al Yankovic show at the Pikes Peak Center. All you have to do is send us your funniest parody of a song and if yours is the best, we’ll select you!”
She came home and, after stewing on it for an hour or so, decided she had an idea for a song. So she sat down and wrote out a spoof of Bonnie Tyler’s song “I need a Hero.” Here are the lyrics she submitted:
Where has all the lunchmeat gone?
And where are all the spreads?
Where’s the pre-sliced provolone and my double fiber bread?
Isn’t there a clean knife or something left to eat?
Late at night I search the fridge but I can’t find what I need!
I need a gyro!
I’m heading out to the Greek cafe for gyros tonight
They gotta be fresh
And they better be big
Or else I’m not sharing a bite
I need a gyro!
I’m craving only that tzatsiki magic tonight
They gotta be cheap and they better be fast
And my order had better be right…
She asked me to take a look, which I did, and I said: “Wow, that’s actually pretty funny. Submit it and see what happens.” Lo and behold, about an hour later, the radio station called her to announce that she had won the contest and they would mail us two tickets to see Weird Al live in concert. It was so… weird (sorry), since it was such a last minute thought, and she submitted it on a whim, and now here we were, trying to find a babysitter so I could go get to see Weird Al. Keep in mind, this is a guy whose last album I heard (Running with Scissors) had come out in 1999. So going to see a show was a blast from the past.
We ended up going to the show, and got a “back stage pass,” to get a picture with Weird Al and an autograph, and all I could think the whole time was “What do I say? Should I crack a joke? Should I be serious? I mean, he’s Weird Al… he’s a comedian. What do you say to a comedian?”
We ended up standing in line for a while before the show started, and then we approached the table. I ended up saying something really stupid like “So, does your birth certificate actually say ‘Weird Al’ on it?” …and he smiled and said “Uh, no, it doesn’t.” Sheesh. What an embarrassing moment. We snapped a photo, and he gave a delightfully creepy smile at my wife.
You’d think the show would start, and it would be fun, and that would be the end of it. Right? Wrong! It got even weirder. The finale for the show was one of his biggest hits: “The Saga Begins (American Pie Parody)” (aka the Star Wars song). Halfway through the song, some people dressed as Storm Troopers come up and stand with him on stage. But they’re not just any people—there’s a local group of Star Wars fans in Colorado Springs, and one of them is our midwife. Yes, that kind of midwife.
Our widwife was on the stage. Dressed as a Storm Trooper. Holding a gun. Singing with Weird Al Yankovic.
What on earth would possibly be weirder than that?! Here I am sitting in Colorado Springs’s finest concert hall, with my wife at my side. …and up on stage is the lady who helped me catch four of my five children in a bathtub in my basement. You can see her profile here. And this is the singer I geeked out with in my teens, singing “I was driving on the freeway in the fast lane with a rabid wolverine in my underwear…” when I was too nerdy to even have a girlfriend.
I’m all for singing silly songs, and I’m all for people dressing up as Star Wars characters. But nothing could have quite prepared me for the experience that this was. Now I’ve seen it all. Weird Al is truly the king of weird.