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Thursday, May 17th, 2012

The Complete "Weird Al" Music Video Library

For nearly three decades “Weird Al” Yankovic has been the unparalleled master of song parody. With over 150 songs in his repertoire, he's taken on nearly every musical genre and pop culture reference imaginable. He's also created a venerable roster of hilarious and memorable music videos. When MTV was just starting out, Al became one of the first people to inject humor into the relatively new art form. And as music videos became more sophisticated, so did Al's.

Part of the appeal of Al's videos is seeing him slip into the roles of the artists he's parodying. By becoming Kurt Cobain or Lady Gaga, he tears down the artifice of celebrity and the superficiality of mainstream music. But Al's more than a musical chameleon, he takes what's popular and makes it accessible to the people who aren't. As a kid who didn't fit in, I couldn't relate to the cool and popular version, but I could relate to Al's.

Al started directing most of his videos in the 90s, but more recently he's switched over to using animation to make his videos. His most recent album “Alpocalypse” was the first to have a music video for every single track, almost all of which were animated. Nowadays seeing a music video on MTV is a rarity but thanks to Youtube (and Al!), all his videos are available online. So without further ado, I proudly present all 45 official “Weird Al” music videos.

We've split the post up into eight pages to prevent your browser from melting from 45 embedded videos, but if you're feeling ballsy, you can see it as one page right here.

“Ricky” (1983)

“Ricky” is credited as Al's first official music video* and may be the first comedic music video ever aired on MTV. Al turns Toni Basil's cheerleading anthem “Mickey” into an “I Love Lucy” rerun complete with a rare onscreen appearance of Tress MacNeille (of Simpsons and Futurama fame) as Lucy. Al plays himself and Ricky, giving us a sneak preview of future Al without his famous 'stache. Al's mentor Dr. Demento can be seen dancing at the end, his first of many cameos in Al's videos (He's also in “I Love Rocky Road,” “I Lost On Jeopardy,” and “Headline News”).

*A demo version of “My Bologna” (1979) was shot but isn't considered an official video.

“I Love Rocky Road” (1983)

In this parody of Joan Jett's “I Love Rock 'n' Roll”, a leather-clad Al transplants the action from a tough greaser bar to a family friendly ice cream parlor. We get some early glimpses into Al's later video tropes, including the visual explanation for an unusual song noise (in this case, Joan Jett's “Ow!” is revealed to be from a kid biting his ankle). Be on the lookout for Al's band in all his videos — he's been with them since the beginning and they make for some hilarious background players. (And while Al may love rocky road, the ice cream used in the video is actually mashed potatoes.)

“Eat It” (1984)

Nearly a shot for shot remake of Michael Jackson's “Beat It” this is the first time Al fully parodies the music video as much as the song. Almost every scene is packed with gags spoofing the original, including the two gang members squaring off with utensils and a rubber chicken instead of switchblades. This song won Al a Grammy, and he will parody Michael Jackson (and food) again in his hit song “Fat.”

“I Lost On Jeopardy” (1984)

Inspired by the 1960s version of Jeopardy! Al watched as a kid (when it was hosted by a pre-Trebek Art Fleming, who cameos) Al parodies “Jeopardy” by The Greg Kihn Band. As a losing contestant, Al receives a brutal tongue-lashing from Don Pardo before being driven away by real-life Greg Kihn. The ending parodies the original video and is also the first cameo by an original artist in one of Al's videos.

(Side note: In life imitating art, Al really lost on Rock & Roll Jeopardy!. But if it's any consolation, he tore it up on Remote Control.

“This Is The Life” (1984)

This original song by Al was featured as the theme song to the movie Johnny Dangerously. Interspersed with clips from the movie, Al plays a wealthy one-percenter living high on the hog. This video contains the first instance of Al's longstanding use of the number 27.

“Like A Surgeon” (1985)

Madonna famously gave Al the “Like a Virgin” parody idea by asking a friend when he was going to do “Like a Surgeon.” This video is where Al really starts to hit his stride using the nonstop sight gags that become a trademark of his later videos. Here Al plays a dangerously incompetent doctor (paging Dr. Spaceman?) who in between malpractice suits has time to mimic Madonna's sensual writhing to hilarious effect.