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BY JACOB ZHIVOV
& DAVID BLUMENSTEIN
October 9, 2003
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Jake: You were valedictorian at 16 and went into architecture
and then this. Have your parents accepted this as a career?
David: We're nice Jewish boys, you see, our parents
have wanted us to go into real careers.
"Weird" Al: Oh, I'm so sorry. I haven't told
my folks yet, but I'm sure that they'd be very supportive. No, no,
actually, they've been real great about it and never pressured me
into doing anything which is probably the nicest thing they've ever
done -- to just let me do whatever I want to do for a living. They
never had any career goals that they tried to force me to follow.
J: So if it wasn't your parents, then why architecture?
AL: Well when I was 12 years old I had a guidance counselor
convince me that I should be an architect, because I was really good
at math and I had an artistic streak and I loved my drafting class
and he said, "Oh you're obviously going to be an architect"
and I said, "OK, that's what I'm going to do." So I went
to college and got my degree and decided that I didn't want to do
this and it was boring.
D: Mine said I was going to be a mime or a puppeteer.
D: Yeah, I did one of those tests in Year 10 or something.
Mime or puppeteer, because if you do art and you also write things
and you are vaguely interested in performing then obviously you must
be a mime or puppeteer.
AL: I can't believe someone would actually tell you
that's your career.
D: The back of the book told me this, it was sort of
"tick, tick, tick, go to the back... right: Mime or Puppeteer."
AL: Could you get a good teacher in miming, puppeteering?
J: You could at least freak people out. People are scared
of mimes -- it's a phobia now.
AL: Mimes and clowns kind of freak me out a little bit.
D: There have been enough mimes on film that people
now know what to do when one shows up.
J: You've been in all three Naked Gun films
AL: The whole trilogy!
what's that like working on?
AL: It's great. I basically begged and grovelled my
way onto the first one.
J: That was quite a funny gag, though, I really liked
AL: Me too. They kind of wrote me into the movie because
the original draft didn't have me in it anywhere, and Robert Weiss,
who I had worked with in the past, was producing the Naked Gun movie.
I think I just called him up and said "Bob, I'll get coffee for
the crew, I'll be in a crowd scene, I just want to be some way involved
in this movie because I love these guys and love this whole franchise
and just please put me in somewhere." And he told the director,
David Zucker, and basically they wrote that whole scene at the airport
for me where I come off the plane. Which was so great because that's
my favourite kind of comedy and it was such a great surprise. What
was really cool was I took a date to that movie and didn't tell her
I was in it. [laughter] So when that scene came on she went "Whaaaaaa!!!"
and I was wearing the same shirt that I was wearing in the movie.
D: That's nice. And then you did Spy Hard...
J: So you and Leslie Nielsen: good friends?
AL: Oh yeah, like this. [crosses fingers] He never calls
D: Are they going to let you direct a movie?
AL: Yeah. that's something I'd like to do at some point
if the right project came along, and the right script. I guess if
I was more motivated, I'd take the time to write a script, like UHF.
J: You can't really find it at any video store.
AL: Really? Is it not released on DVD in Australia?
J: I don't think it has on DVD. I know that maybe some
video stores have it but it's a search.
D: My video store had it. It's called The Vidiot From
AL: I'm sure you can get it on import from the U.S.
D: I'm sure you could, but hopefully it will come out.
You've got this one coming out now...
AL: Yeah, The Ultimate Video Collection is coming out
J: And one of your shows is going to play on The
AL: AL-TV on the 5th.
D: I don't think any of your shows have shown here,
as far as I know.
J: I haven't [seen it] and I watch a lot of TV -- especially
late night TV -- and I think that's when it would be on, and I'd expect
something like that to be on at 2am. Speaking of TV, what shows are
AL: I like comedy shows like The Simpsons, Letterman.
Is Conan O'Brien on here now?
J: Yeah, that's a funny show.
AL: Ummm, Saturday Night Live, shows like that.
J: Have you tried to get on Saturday Night Live as a
AL: Um, they kind have to ask you. They don't take too
kindly to calling them saying "I want to be on your show",
they go "yes, we know, everyone wants to be on our show."
D: I just read that book Live From New York, that was
AL: Yeah, I know people from it, Victoria Jackson from
UHF was on the show for years and years, and its just so much pressure
to be on the show. It just seems to be a nightmare as much as it is
such a great stepping stone to a feature film career and other things
like that. It just seems like such an awful lifestyle of stress and
pressure all the time.
J: You've taken a lot of time off between albums for
things like marriage and kids
AL: Yeah, it slows you down a little bit.
are we going to do The Moods of "Weird"
Al, perhaps drop the "Weird"?
AL: Yeah, the Blue Period. No, I'm not going to do any
Raffi albums or anything like that. The only time I drop the "Weird"
is when I'm behind the camera, so, like, my writing and producing
credits are Al Yankovic but anytime I'm on stage or in front of a
camera its still "Weird" Al and that's probably what it
will always be.
D: Do you enjoy doing your originals more?
AL: Um, it's more gratifying, ultimately, because it's
my music and I feel closer to that material. It's not that I like
it any less than the parodies but probably more of my favourite songs
are my original songs because I feel closer to them.
D: I enjoy your originals more.
AL: Oh, thanks.
D: Ah, Jake can probably tell you that I've been playing
Hardware Store over and over again...
J: Do you get sick and tired of doing the '80s parodies
and stuff like that? Because people only seem to remember Eat It,
as it was probably the most famous one and most people I've spoken
to have gone, "What has he done lately?"
AL: Well, if people are ignorant of pop culture -- and
I know in Australia not all my albums have been released -- but in
the States I've got 11 albums out plus compilations and I've obviously
done quite a lot since 1984, so if people haven't really followed
me closely I still get people going "Yeah, you're the Eat It
guy, what have you done since then?"
D: Has anyone asked you any awful questions so far?
AL: Oh, I'm sure.
D: Have we asked you any awful questions so far?
J: Have we asked you any questions that have been repeated,
like, several times already?
AL: Yeah, maybe. In general you've been, like, asking
me very nice and insightful questions obviously based on some research.
J: Yeah, we looked at the archives [of Frequently Asked
Questions] on your site, saw all these questions and went, "yep,
can't ask that or that or that". Have you been approached by
the Scientologists yet to join?
AL: No, should I be waiting for their call?
J: I don't -- we're just afraid of them, they're always
offering free IQ tests. I don't know, but a lot of Hollywood people
are part of it.
AL: Yeah, I'm waiting for John Travolta to come to my
house and go "Come with us, one of us, one of us."
J: And then Tom Cruise tags in, you all go flying off
on his plane...
AL: I know somebody once who joined Scientology because
they thought it would be a good career move... and after they lost
like $30,000, "Well, maybe not..."
POODLE HAT is available in stores now, as is the new
DVD, WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: THE ULTIMATE VIDEO COLLECTION. Al and band
play the Palais Theatre tonight. We're going.