How Much Of ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ Is Based On Real Events?


“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” opens on a solemn note, and it says that life is like a parody where nothing can be ascertained unless it really happens. But the film sheds its solemnity very quickly and becomes this hilarious ride that is full of satires, exaggerations, and over-the-top depictions. Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the protagonist Weird Al, tells us that accuracy was not the point of the movie and that it was quite fun to play this extravagant version of the parody king. A lot of things we see in the film are exaggerated versions of what actually happened, and a lot of it is also totally made up. For example, Dr. Demento did play a key role in Al’s career, but the radio broadcaster did not add the word “Weird” in front of his name. 

Spoilers Ahead

Were Al And Madonna In A Relationship? Was The “Yankovic Bump” A True Phenomenon?

In the film “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” we see that Madonna came to meet Al at his house after she saw him in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. In the interview, Oprah talked about a phenomenon that was being called “The Yankovic Bump.” A lot of artists and bands witnessed an increase in their sales after Yankovic made a parody of their original songs. Though Madonna said that she came only to meet Al, she wanted him to make a parody of her new single, “Like a Virgin.” Al was smitten by Madonna, and the two entered into a relationship just a few hours after they had met. Dr. Demento, who was Al’s mentor, told him constantly that Madonna was mingling with him for her own selfish interests and that she didn’t have any feelings for him. But Al was too infatuated to listen to anybody. Al developed a drinking problem, and it is shown that somewhere Madonna played the role of a “vamp” in his life. Al went to save Madonna when she was kidnapped by the infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar. After Al killed Pablo, Madonna decided to take over his drug cartel, and she left Al Yankovic, proving that she was with him only because it served her best interests. Later, we see that Madonna got Al Yankovic killed during an award show.

The relationship between Madonna and Al Yankovic, as shown in the film, is a complete work of fiction. Al Yankovic (as he mentioned in an interview) probably met Madonna for 45 seconds in 1985, during some event. Madonna is shown as this conniving schemer who wants to manipulate Yankovic to do a parody of her songs so that she reaps the benefit of the Yankovic Bump. Though the queen of pop did no such thing, the Yankovic Bump was, in fact, a true phenomenon. When Al created a parody, the sales of the original songs and albums used to skyrocket. In an interview, Yankovic had revealed that once he got a call from the record label of Nirvana, who wanted to thank him after he had released a parody of their own song called “Smells like teen spirit”.

Was Al Interviewed By Oprah Winfrey?

In the film “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” Quinta Brunson plays the character of Oprah Winfrey and conducts an interview with the parody king, who was already creating ripples in the entertainment industry. In the film, Oprah asks Yankovic about his Hawaiian shirt collection and the peculiar platinum record labels that he was wearing as a necklace. In reality, Oprah Winfrey did interview Al Yankovic in 1984, and this is one of the few things that are actually true in the movie. The real conversation didn’t happen as it was shown in the film. It was a lighthearted interview where Oprah Winfrey asked Al Yankovic about his unusual name and how he came up with the idea of parodying other artists.

Did Al Attend Pablo Escobar’s Birthday Party?

In the film, it is shown that Al Yankovic, through his funny parodies, had become the favorite singer of the Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar. In a hilarious sequence, Pablo and his men are seen grooving to his songs while firing gunshots into the sky. Toward the end of the film, we see that Pablo commands his men to kidnap Madonna just so that he can meet his favorite musician and make him attend his birthday party. The meeting doesn’t go as planned, and Yankovic kills the feared drug lord and saves his girlfriend, Madonna, heroically. Obviously, none of it is true. Yankovic didn’t attend any parties organized by Pablo Escobar.

Did Al Have A Difficult Childhood? Did A Salesman Actually Give Him His First Accordion?

It is shown in the film that Al’s father, Nick Yankovic, was very temperamental, violent and was not at all supportive of his hobby. He wanted him to work in the factory just like him. Nick always criticized his son’s choices, and he believed that Weird Al was just wasting his time by playing the accordion. Though, in the end, we see that his father accepted him the way he was. In reality though, Al didn’t have a difficult childhood, and his parents were more than supportive of his hobby. In fact, they pushed him to play the accordion because they believed that music was something that would make him stand out in the crowd. As a matter of fact, Yankovic’s first accordion was given to him by a salesman. The salesman gave him a choice between a guitar and an accordion. Al’s mother chose the accordion because guitar had become a very common instrument that every other guy was playing in those days. 

Was Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” A Parody Of Al’s “Eat It”? Did Al Yankovic Win A Grammy?

In the film, we see that Daniel Radcliffe, playing the character of Al Yankovic, gets agitated when he gets to know that Michael Jackson had created a parody of his original song, “Eat It.” Obviously, in reality, it was the other way around. “Beat It” was released on February 14, 1983, and it became one of the most loved and critically acclaimed songs of its time. Al Yankovic after writing the lyrics for “Eat it”, sent it to Michael Jackson for his approval. Apparently, Michael Jackson found the lyrics to be very funny, innovative, and catchy, and allowed Yankovic to make a parody. Yankovic also won a Grammy in 1984 for “Eat It,” under the category of best comedy recording.

“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is an amusing and bizarre ride that, just like the innovative and comical lyrics of Yankovic’s parodies, makes you laugh and keeps you thoroughly entertained.

See More: ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ Ending, Explained – Did Al Yankovic Reconcile With His Father?

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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