'Weird Al' Yankovic: The Stories Behind The Songs

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“Fat” (1988)
“I would say I was friendly with Michael, but I wouldn’t say we were close or anything like that. I had met him maybe two times. I had never gone bowling with him or anything like that. He was always very sweet and supportive. He allowed me to do both ‘Eat It’ and ‘Fat,’ and he allowed me to use his subway set when we shot the ‘Fat’ video.

That video was a lot of effort for the special effects people. It was old-school special effects. This was 1988, and the shot where my face literally expands—these days that would be an easy CGI job. But back then, they had to glue these latex bladders onto my cheeks with tubes running down my back and through my pant legs, and there were two special effects artists literally blowing through tubes by my feet to inflate my face. It worked and it was effective.

In fact, and this isn’t available anywhere as a deleted scene, but on the take that we used, I had them blow up my face until my face literally exploded. I don’t know if you’ve ever had your face explode, but it’s quite a feeling.”


“Smells Like Nirvana” (1992)
“I was a big fan of Nirvana’s and it was one of those acts where I watched their videos on MTV and thought, ‘I would love to do these guys, but they’ll never be popular enough to parody.’ I never thought in a million years they’d be the defining act of the decade. I was thrilled when they hit number one because that meant I could do a Nirvana parody. That was a thrill for me and it’s still one of my favorite songs to do live. That’s the kind of music I love, I loved the whole grunge and indie movement of the ‘90s. I kind of wish we’d go back in that direction.”

“Amish Paradise” (1996)
“That was one of my favorite videos and still is to this day. I got to include most of my relatives in that video playing Amish people. My mom and my dad are in it, and some uncles and aunts. They’re cheaper than extras. Gotta keep the budget down!

Coolio was annoyed in the late ‘90s, and to this day I still don’t know where the miscommunication came from. He contends he never gave permission, my record label contends that he did. But I’ve seen him do interviews where he said he made much too big a deal about it and felt bad about it, and I ran into Coolio a couple of years ago at a trade show and we hugged it out. Everything’s fine now.

It’s unfortunate because it’s the one piece of drama in my whole career, and they made such a big deal about it in my Behind the Music special a couple of years ago because there’s not a whole lot else to talk about. There’s not a lot of conflict in my life. I think I was a disappointment for them, because they had this arc where 35 minutes in that had this thing where they went ‘And then things went horribly wrong.’ That just never happened. So we made a joke about it—I think my joke in the thing was my fourth album didn’t sell as well as my third album, so I had to buy the medium sized Jacuzzi.”

“Albuquerque” (1999)
“When I did ‘Albuquerque,’ it was this sprawling, 11-minute song, and I thought people would only maybe listen to it once, so I put it at the end to give them a break. And it turns out that’s a huge fan favorite—a lot of people say that’s their favorite song. So I guess you never know what people are going to respond to.”

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