Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, film producer, actor, comedian and writer from Downey, California. Yankovic is best known for his funny songs that make fun of popular culture and often parody specific songs by modern musical acts, as well as his original songs that are style copies of the work of other acts and his polka medleys of several popular songs.
Weird Al Yankovic Net Worth
Weird Al Yankovic is an American singer, songwriter, comedian, actor and music producer with a net worth of $20 million. Weird Al is called a “musical comedian” because most of his songs make people laugh. Weird Al Yankovic has put out more than 150 original songs since the start of his career. He is a popular artist whose albums have sold more than 12 million copies around the world. Six of his albums have sold a million copies. Yankovic is best known for the funny music videos that he makes himself and posts on YouTube.
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Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born in Downey, Calif., on October 23, 1959. When Al was growing up, his father told him, “Do whatever makes you happy for a living.” Yankovic took his first accordion lesson right before he turned seven. Al’s first love was for this instrument, which led him to love music in general. Al Yankovic started teaching himself how to play the accordion after three years. He learned how to play rock and roll by listening to Elton John’s songs.
At a young age, comedians like Frank Zappa, Shel Silverstein and Spike Jones were big influences on him. Yankovic started Kindergarten a year early, so he was two years younger than his peers when he started high school. During high school, he was in plays and joined several clubs, such as the “Volcano Worshippers Club” and the “National Forensic League.”
Weird Al Yankovic started his career when Dr. Demento played some of the 16-year-taped old’s recordings of parody songs on his radio show. During this time, he also began to play the accordion at local coffeehouses, playing songs like the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yankovic first used the name “Weird Al” when he was a DJ for the school radio station while he was studying architecture at Cal Poly. The name was actually a put-down that his classmates gave him, but Yankovic decided to “take it on professionally.”
His first single, “Take Me Down,” came out in 1978. It was later put on the Slo Grown LP. After “My Sharona” did well on the charts, Yankovic made a parody of it called “My Bologna,” which Dr. Demento played again. When the lead singer of The Knack heard the song, he told Capital Records they should sign Yankovic, which they did. Weird Al Yankovic realized at this point that he could make a living from music and that his average grades in college didn’t bode well for a career as an architect.
In 1980, he went on Dr. Demento’s radio show to record “Another One Rides the Bus,” a parody single, live. Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” was the inspiration for this song. The song was a huge hit and Yankovic’s first TV appearances were because of it. Yankovic went on tour with Dr. Demento’s radio show in 1981. After a manager saw Yankovic perform, he held tryouts so that the musical comedian could have a full band.
Yankovic’s next single, “I Love Rocky Road,” made it into the top 40 on the radio, which led to a new record deal with Scotti Brothers Records. Later, Weird Al Yankovic put out his first album called “Weird Al Yankovic.” He also made his first appearance on MTV and quit his job in a mail room to focus on music full-time. Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D was his next album. The single “Eat It” from that album reached number 12 on the charts. The fake version of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson had its own music video.
Weird Al’s album Off the Deep End came out in 1992. The single “Smells Like Nirvana” was from that album. The song is thought to be Yankovic’s first piece of satire and members of Nirvana are said to have found it funny. During this early time in Weird Al’s career, Rick Derringer produced six of his albums and helped him win two Grammys. But starting in 1992, Yankovic started making his own music. He put out the album Running With Scissors in 1999. Some of the hits on the album were “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” and “The Saga Begins.”
Weird Al Yankovic said that Mandatory Fun would be his last “traditional” album in 2014. He had been having more success putting out singles and music videos on YouTube and other social media sites.
The next day, Mandatory Fun went straight to the top of the Billboard charts. Critics liked the album a lot and it had a song called “Word Crimes” that was based on Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Yankovic kept putting out singles after Mandatory Fun, whenever he felt like it.
Film And Television
Weird UHF, a spoof of the movie business, was Al Yankovic’s most ambitious film project. The movie bombed and Yankovic didn’t believe in himself again for years. But UHF became a cult classic over time and collectors now pay hundreds of dollars for VHS copies of the movie.
Weird Al has also been the host of shows on MTV and CBS, including his own show, The Weird Al Show. He also does the voice of Squid Hat on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, which airs on Cartoon Network.
Weird Al Yankovic became a vegan in 1992 after someone gave him a copy of Diet for a New America. Suzanne Krajewski, who worked in marketing for 20th Century Fox, married Yankovic. Together, they have one child.
Yankovic says he is a Christian and doesn’t use any kind of alcohol or drugs. In 2004, his parents died of carbon monoxide poisoning that was caused by a problem with their fireplace. Yankovic went on stage and played a concert even though he had heard about their death just hours before.
Al bought a 7,000-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills for $2 million in 2001. Similar homes in the area have recently sold for $7-9 million.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.