Weird Al’s ‘Mandatory Fun’ shows the joker is back on top


The king of the jokers is back. (Robert Trachtenberg)

When I was 12, I wanted to be the next “Weird Al” Yankovic. I wrote parody songs with my friends, obsessively listened to his 1999 album “Running With Scissors” and even saw him live in 2000 — the first concert I can remember attending.

Alas, I did not become the next “Weird Al” because there is only one “Weird Al.” And he’s not going anywhere. Yankovic returns this week with “Mandatory Fun,” out now, his 14th album of pop music parodies and original comedy compositions. Like much of his work over the past 30-plus years, the songs are smart, silly and musically sound. 

He’s releasing eight music videos in eight days, the first of which (a play on Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”) went viral on Monday and reminded me that Yankovic is still the best at what he does. 

In his hands, “Happy” becomes “Tacky,” a song about humanity’s tackiest behaviors; Lorde’s “Royals” is now “Foil,” an ode to the many uses of aluminum foil; Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” turns into “Word Crimes,” a screed against poor grammar; and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” transforms into “Handy,” about a boastful handyman. 

If you’re like me, listening to “Mandatory Fun” will make you feel like a kid again. 


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Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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