Friday, June 24, 2011

The "Smart Is Sexy" Nerd Crush: Weird Al

by Sara N.

First, can we all agree that smart is sexy? If not, I'm afraid that you're not going to agree with this post about my nerd crush on Weird Al Yankovic. Because, OK, he doesn't have John Hamm's thick, shiny hair or Alexander Skarsgard's chiseled cheekbones or Ryan Reynolds' rippling abs. (At least, I assume that's the case, although Weird Al has never posed topless to my knowledge. A half-hearted Google image search confirms this belief.) But I have my reasons!

He's got smarts, mad rhyming skills and a sense of humor that ranges from the infantile to the surprisingly sophisticated. He's got a degree in architecture from Cal Poly Tech. He's directed music videos for artists including The Black Crows, Ben Folds and Hanson. (Hanson, people!) He's polite, getting the original artist's permission to use his or her song in a parody before releasing it commercially. And he's philanthropic! All proceeds from his Lady Gaga spoof "Perform This Way," off his new album that was released this week, will go to the Human Rights Campaign.

Say what you will about parody as his choice of medium, Weird Al is a talented performer. Before you scoff at my juvenile tastes, consider all the genres he's tackled over the years: pop, grunge, rap, country, do-wop and, of course, polka. He's spoofed Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Coolio, Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Rage Against the Machine, along with many others. I dare you to name another artist with that much versatility!

He's also a nerd at heart. Star Wars is a favorite parody choice of his; "Yoda" is set to Eric Clapton's "Lola," and "The Saga Begins," a song about the first prequel, is set to Don McLean's "American Pie." The man even works chemistry jokes into his album art. Al is the chemical symbol for aluminum, and its atomic weight is 27. Hence, 27 appears on several of his album covers, including Running with Scissors and Straight Outta Linwood. In addition, he's the author of a children's book, When I Grow Up, in which he uses his prodigious rhyming skills to encourages kids to follow their dreams, no matter how wild.

If you're still not convinced that Al is a nerd crush-worthy target, consider a few of the facts he offered in the article 25 Things You Don't Know About Weird Al. (It's as though Al opened a door into my heart!)
  • "I don't believe in capital punishment, except for people who consistently use bad grammar."
  • "When I'm performing, I never give 110%, because that's metaphysically impossible."
  • "Favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse: Pestilence."
For my closing argument, I'll leave you with this video of his finest nerdy work, "White and Nerdy." Watch that and tell me you're not convinced that Weird Al is a swoon-worthy nerd genius!
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    1. I have long professed my unironic love for Weird Al. Do you follow him on Twitter? He's a crack up. Also, did you get the new album, Alpocalypse? Party in the CIA is brilliant!

      Didn't know that stuff about he number 27. He is awesome.

    2. Adore him on Twitter, but haven't gotten the new album yet. "Unironic love" is a great way to describe it! People think you're joking when you say that. But you're not.

    3. Yup, Al has bared his chest before for comedic purposes, and it's a perfectly fine chest, as may be seen when he edited himself into a Faith Hill video in this clip:

    4. I have loved him since I first heard him in the 90's, which displays both my age AND impeccable taste since many people thought he was just a joke way back then. He's performed for so long, and his spoofs give a lot of good advertising to the original artists.

      Besides, who hasn't forgotten the words to a song while in the shower and made something up??