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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic on Outlasting the Stars He Parodies, Why He’s Not Making New Music and the Truth About His Torrid Affair With Madonna

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Michael Schneider Variety Editor at Large Let’s travel back to the summer of 1989. I’m 15 years old and have just put two large movie posters on my wall: One for Tim Burton’s game-changing take on “Batman,” starring Michael Keaton, and the other for “UHF,” the theatrical comedy debut for the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic.

It’s now 2023. Keaton is back as Batman in next month’s “The Flash.” And Weird Al (always Weird Al, not just Al Yankovic!) is the front-runner for this year’s TV movie Emmy, thanks to the Roku Channel parody biopic “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.” “1989 is back again!

It’s all cyclical,” Yankovic says in his signature cheery, upbeat tone. Tell my 15-year-old self that one day he’ll be recording a podcast with Weird Al, and first he’d say, “what’s a podcast?” But after explaining that it’s essentially a radio show, my 15-year-old self would lose his mind.

And ask about 2023’s flying cars. Sorry kid. But back to Al. This is a guy who has now spent five decades in the limelight — far longer than many of the artists he has parodied over the years. “Nobody wanted to sign me in the early ‘80s,” he says. “They thought, ‘comedy music, you’re a novelty artist.’ And historically, novelty artists become one-hit wonders, and then they’re forgotten quickly.

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