‘Weird Al’ Yankovic biopic revels in his passion for parodies

“Weird Al” Yankovic is anything but ordinary. The 63-year-old is an exceptional comedic genius who became the world’s greatest parody songwriter and musician. For someone who made a career on parodies, it makes sense that the film documenting his life story, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, is a parody of the standard biopic.

Directed by Eric Appel, Weird is a satirical film loosely based on the life and work of Yankovic. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Yankovic, the aspiring comedic musician who rises to superstardom with early hits like My Bologna, I Love Rocky Road, and Another One Rides the BusWeird combines some accurate moments from Yankovic’s life with over-the-top fictitious storylines to fuel the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” themes of previous biographical films.

“People think they know who Weird Al Yankovic is, but after seeing this movie, they’re going to realize that they had absolutely no idea,” said Appel in a behind-the-scenes interview.

Weird’s cast includes several well-known figures and artists who crossed paths with the comedic musician. Madonna (Evan Rachel Wood), Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson), Pablo Escobar (Arturo Castro), and Oprah Winfrey (Quinta Brunson) are a few of the notable artists featured throughout the film. In particular, Madonna plays a vital role in the film due to her dramatic love affair with Yankovic, and the fact that her hit song Like a Virgin inspired Yankovic’s Like a Surgeon.

“Along the way, there are obviously ups and downs, including a torrid and tempestuous love affair with Madonna,” said Radcliffe. “And he rises to become, as we all know, to become the most popular musician in the history of the Earth.”

Madonna and Weird Al romantically stare into each other's eyes for Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

Co-written by Appel and Yankovic, the idea for this biopic was first conceived in 2010 when Appel created a fake trailer for a film based on Yankovic’s life for Funny or Die. Since the film’s premiere at TIFF2022, Weird has been praised for its satirical nature, humor, and Radcliffe’s performance. In true Weird Al fashion, he seems to be happy with the final result and recommends that everyone should have a biopic about their own lives.

“It’s an odd process, having your life portrayed on screen, but um I recommend it,” said Yankovic. “If anybody comes up to you and offers to make some kind of major motion picture biopic, I say go for it. Let them do it. It’s a unique experience everybody should do at least once.”

Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is now available to stream for free on The Roku Channel.

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