After a staggering 35 years in the joke song business, Weird Al Yankovic has scarcely seemed more productive than this week, releasing eight videos online in as many days in support of his album Mandatory Fun. That makes the pop parodist one of the few artists who can legitimately claim to have both pioneered the use of music videos and outlived the form.
In that time, Yankovic has amassed an impressive back catalog of his signature spoofs, imitating everyone from Queen to Lorde. It could be a while before we figure out which of this week’s releases merit inclusion in the prestigious Weird Al canon, but until then here are the prolific mimic’s 10 greatest video parodies.
10. “Bedrock Anthem”
“Contemporary hit single + random bit Americana” has long been Weird Al’s recipe for parody song gold and “Bedrock Anthem” is easily one of the most successful expressions of that formula. Reimagining the comically feral-looking Red Hot Chili Peppers as cartoon cavemen, however, is really just inspired.
9. “Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies”
“Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies,” on the other hand, mostly wins points for its incredible replication of its source material. In an era when even the most rudimentary computer graphics were a rarity, Yankovic put aside a chunk of his UHF budget to commission a perfect (albeit Hillbilly-ied up) copy of the Dire Straits’ famous video.
8. “White and Nerdy”
The second biggest staple of the Yankovic discography is his decidedly unhip hip-hop covers. It’s a joke dozens of other nerdy white dudes have tried and failed at pulling off, but Weird Al’s obvious devotion to both lyricism and being a huge dork put him out on top every time.
7. “Like a Surgeon”
Like a lot of his early work, the video for “Like a Surgeon” relied chiefly on Weird Al’s Zucker brothers-like comic sensibilities for its humor. It’s all the better for it, giving us the closest thing to Airplane! in a hospital.
6. “Jurassic Park”
The young geeks that make up Weird Al’s fanbase probably weren’t familiar with Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” in 1993, but thanks to “Jurassic Park”’s memorable claymation video it didn’t really matter. I mean, what child didn’t want to see Barney decapitated back then?