Two Legends: Weird Al Yankovic “Interviews” James Brown (1986)

Last week, America’s reign­ing bard of sil­ly par­o­dy songs, “Weird Al” Yankovic scored his first num­ber one album, Manda­to­ry Fun. His vast­ly improved take on Robin Thicke’s catchy, if deeply creepy, ear­worm Blurred Lines alone might just be worth the price of the album. This week­end saw the release of the James Brown biopic Get On Up, star­ring Chad­wick Bose­man, Octavia Spencer and Dan Aykroyd. So we thought you all might be inter­est­ed in watch­ing Weird Al’s inter­view of the God­fa­ther of Soul in 1986. You can watch it above.

Ok, so that inter­view didn’t actu­al­ly hap­pen. It was cob­bled togeth­er to make it look like Weird Al was pep­per­ing the music leg­end with bizarre and inane ques­tions. Exam­ple: “What was it like the very first time you sat in a buck­et full of warm oat­meal?” or “What can you do with a duck that you can’t do with an ele­phant?”

Back in the ‘80s and ear­ly ‘90s when MTV played videos and not end­less real­i­ty TV shows about the drunk and the vapid, Weird Al reg­u­lar­ly host­ed Al-TV, a par­o­dy of the music chan­nel. Boast­ing the tagline “putting the ‘vid’ in video and the ‘odd’ in audio,” Al-TV fea­tured skits, fake news reports and, of course, Weird Al’s trade­mark music video spoofs. It also fea­tured dada-esque “inter­views,” like the one with Brown. Below we have some more to check out, like this one where Weird Al ridicules that most dull and pompous of pop stars, Sting.

Weird Al’s inter­view with pop genius Prince is real­ly odd, and not just because of Weird Al’s dopey ques­tions — “What do you do when some­one on the street gives you a piece of cheese?” Per­haps it’s that know­ing smirk on Prince’s face.  Or maybe it’s because the inter­view hap­pens while sur­round­ed by his well-coiffed entourage.

And final­ly, Weird Al doesn’t have to do much with Avril Lav­i­gne. One sus­pects that the orig­i­nal inter­view would be pret­ty fun­ny even with­out the jokes. At one point, Yankovic asks, “Can you ram­ble inco­her­ent­ly for a while about some­thing that nobody cares about?”

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

“Weird Al” Yankovic Releas­es “Word Crimes,” a Gram­mar Nerd Par­o­dy of “Blurred Lines”

Every Appear­ance James Brown Ever Made On Soul Train. So Nice, So Nice!

James Brown Blows Away the Rolling Stones in 18 Elec­tric Min­utes (1964)

James Brown Gives You Danc­ing Lessons: From The Funky Chick­en to The Booga­loo

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing one new pic­ture of a vice pres­i­dent with an octo­pus on his head dai­ly. 

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.