Local Wire

Weird Al Yankovic @ Mesa Arts Center

"Weird Al" Yankovic once parodied "Rico Suave." He's parodied two separate Milli Vanilli songs. He been making parodies so long that he donned a leather-jacketed fatsuit for "Fat" before Michael Jackson was a pariah, continued to wear it for 20 years afterward, and has gone on parodying Michael Jackson now that he's a beloved martyr. The one thing most novelty artists have in common is a career even shorter and more ignominious than Milli Vanilli, or Tiffany, or Cherry Poppin' Daddies, or any of the other acts Weird Al has mimicked in the past 30 years. So how's Weird Al different? He's funny, for one thing. More than that, he's got his own style, one that's never too far beneath the Lady Gaga or Chamillionaire veneer. It's possible to parody "Weird Al" Yankovic himself — the voice, the slapstick, the songs about food — and that makes him something different from the other parodists who've come and gone since. It makes him a star in his own right. Oh, and none of those other parodists made a movie as transcendently brilliant as UHF. Which ought to count for something.

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Dan Moore