Keynote Speaker, Marketing Technologist, Columnist, Futurist, Smart Ass

Why Weird Al is the King of Content & Social Media

When people ask, “Who are your favorite bands of all-time?” to people from my generation, you hear the usual suspects… The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, The Beastie Boys, Mötley Crüe, and Pearl Jam. Those are a few that I rattle off… and I typically forget Weird Al Yankovic. After hearing his latest album tonight and seeing how he continues to weave in relevant content pertaining to today’s trends is nothing short of amazing, I’ve recognized that he has an amazing way to stay relevant with his content.

I’m completely in awe in how he has launched his 14th studio album this week, Mandatory Fun, and has launched a video each day of this week, so far. And he is busting out 8 videos total in 8 days? That’s amazing! He is a content creation machine!

The social media buzz around Weird Al is exploding this week. According to the data that I pulled from BuzzSumo, Yankovic has had 1,605 articles written about him THIS WEEK. (This article is #1606)

Those 1605 articles, so far, have generated 1,605,689 shares. Shares. Not visitors, clicks or traffic. Shares. Weird Al owns social media this week.

Weird Al is a Content Genius

For one, Weird Al is a creative genius. How else could someone have a 30+ year career by being a silly bastard? It works for Weird Al. I’m dating myself a bit here, however, but I first heard him on the Dr. Demento show back in the day.

I’ve loved Weird Al since 3rd grade when I first heard, “Gotta Boogie”, which was play-on words discussing a man with a “boogie” on his finger and his quandary therein of not being able to shake it off. This type of stuff is VERY endearing to a 9-year old. And my son, who is now 12, will just sit and listen to Weird Al for hours on end, which makes me so proud!

Weird Al Has Unheard of Longevity

At 54, Weird Al has enjoyed unheard of longevity in the business of making parody and novelty songs. His career goes all the way back to “My Bologna” in 1979, which was all-accordian parody jam of the Knack’s new wave one-hitter “My Sharona”. He kept his awesome content rolling with the 1984 parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” into “Eat It,” and then he launched the 2006 parody of Chamillionaire’s “White & Nerdy,” which he helped him own social media on YouTube.

Some of his less popular songs are some of my personal favorites. It’s All About the Pentiums is one of my all-time favorite Weird Al songs. Its pre-Y2K over the top homage to the interwebs is a straight-up classic.

Hey fella, I bet you’re still livin’ in your parents’ cellar
Downloadin’ pictures of Sarah Michelle Gellar
And postin’ “Me too!” like some brain-dead AOL-er
I should do the world a favor and cap you like Old Yeller
You’re just about as useless as jpegs to Helen Keller”  

This came out in 1999, and it’s still amazing. You’re just about as useless as jpegs to Helen Keller? Are you kidding me? So funny. Weird Al always has his thumb firmly in the center of pop culture.

Play me online? Well, you know that I’ll beat you… If I ever meet you, I’ll control-alt-delete you”

Another one of my favorites is the pure brilliance of Bob, a homage to Bob Dylan’s timeless video for Subterranean Homesick Blues. Weird Al wrote the entire song in palindromes, which is a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward, e.g., madam or too hot to hoot.

Weird Al Keeps on Creating Content

Weird Al has greater longevity than Madonna. Chew on that. Ma-freakin-donna. He even parodied her with Like a Surgeon, on his Dare to Be Stupid album, which I absolutely loved as a kid.

Weird Al’s Top Social Video Content

Watch these videos on YouTube of the most streamed songs of Weird Al’s career, according to Spotify,

  1. White and Nerdy [parody of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ Dirty w/ 86m+ YouTube views]
  2. Amish Paradise [parody of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise, which pissed off Coolio]
  3. Party in the CIA [parody of Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA]
  4. Eat It [parody of MJ’s Beat It]
  5. Polka Face [parody of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face]
  6. The Saga Begins [parody of Don McLean’s American Pie]
  7. Ebay [parody of Backstreet Boys I Want it That Way]
  8. Perform this Way [parody of Lady Gaga’s Born this Way]
  9. Canadian Idiot [parody of Green Day’s American Idiot]
  10. Yoda [parody of The Kinks’ Lola]

Al’s Social Media Barrage this Week.

Monday, Weird Al released, Tacky, a parody of Pharrell’s Happy. On Nerdist, where it was first released, it received over 400,000 social media shares alone. How genius is Weird Al? He is brandscaping his content on sites that have audiences similar to his! GENIUS! If you’re not familiar with Brandscaping read the book by Andrew Davis. It’s great. On another note, Pharrell’s Happy has almost 350 MILLION views on YouTube. O_o

Tuesday, Al released Word Crimes, which is a parody of Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. This video TOTALLY cracks me up. I know soooo many grammar nazis, and this will be their anthem, I’m sure. In fact, I bet I have butchered the English language several times in this post already, and the grammar nazis have already clicked away. heh.

Wednesday, Weird Al busted out Foil, which is a parody of Lourde’s Royals. He launched this video in partnership with College Humor. Another genius brandscaping move. He knows his audience and where they hangout online.

When he gets into the conspiracy theory stuff and talks about making a hat out of aluminum foil, I busted a gut laughing. Freaking classic.

Over the next 6 days, Al will have more videos coming out. Obviously one for Handy, which is a parody of Iggy Azalea’s song, Fancy, and another video for Inactive. Both of those songs are funny parodies, but the one I love the best is Mission Statement, which is a play on all of the business jargon that companies use in their company mission statements and manifestos. I pray that this song is a video!

Here is the Spotify link to Mission Statement, which seems to be in the style of Crosby, Stills and Nash. It is spot-on.

Al Yankovic Doesn’t Hold Back on Social Media or Anywhere

Al Yankovic has been creating some of the funniest content that we’ve ever heard for almost four decades. He doesn’t stop. He’s been doing this for 35 years, and he is as funny and as relevant today, as he was way back in the Dr. Demento days.

I’m a fan for life, Al. My ten year old inner child commends you for consistently kicking ass. Thanks for all of the great laughs.

You know, after all of these years, you don’t really seem that “weird” at all. Thanks for all of the great content. Those of us in social media can learn a thing or two from you.

  • Troy Thompson

    No mention of UHF?! That’s like all these Weird Al YouTube videos rolled into a feature-length movie. BTW, seeing Jack Black twerking in Zubazz pants is something that cannot be unseen. You should NSFA (not safe for anyone) tag that ‘Tacky’ video. Great article.

  • Patti Duff Brown

    Nice article, but “Polka Face” is Al’s polka medley from “Alpocalypse”. It’s not a parody of anything. It’s a bunch of popular songs strung together and done polka style.

  • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/author/roger-c-parker/ Roger C. Parker

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve seen him several times. And, thanks for the video links.

    Your article reminds me of the first line uttered by the comedian-in–training who opened for Weird Al at the University of New Hampshire: “Well, here I am opening for Weird Al in Durham, NH….the nadir of my career!”


@teedubya

Travis Wright is a Venture Catalyst, Public Speaker, Digital Disrupter, Marketing Provocateur, Stand Up Comedian, Tech Blogger & Brand Awesomeizer.

This Travis Wright guy shares marketing resources, industry analysis, interwebs strategery & random hilarity along w/ occasional sport or political rants. If you can stand his jokes and want his opinion on something, feel free to connect with him.

email: tw [at] traviswright [dot] com

Follow me on Twitter

Share This