Arts & Culture
11:29 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Weird Al Yankovic: From Poking Fun at Pop Culture Icons to Becoming One

For more than three decades, whenever a pop song has reached the status of iconic, Weird Al Yankovic has been there to parody it.

The top selling comedy musician of all time, he's sold millions of albums, has many gold and platinum records to his credit, and won three Grammy awards. While he parodies pop culture, he's a pop culture icon in his own right.

Weird Al Yankovic, from a 2008 concert tour.  He'll be in Brookfield on Tuesday.
Weird Al Yankovic, from a 2008 concert tour. He'll be in Brookfield on Tuesday.
Credit courtesy Al Yankovic

But Yankovic is more than arguably the most popular accordion player ever. In addition to his parodies and original music, Yankovic has created and starred in films, television programs, and even directed music videos. And the multi-hyphenate singer-songwriter isn't stopping there.  He is also a bestselling children's author.

His first kids book, When I Grow Up, was released in 2011, and features the irrepressibly creative young Billy - as well as Yankovic's signature rhymes. His newest book for children - and let's face it, their Al-loving parents, is called My New Teacher and Me.

He'll sign books at the Barnes and Noble at the Brookfield Square Mall on Tuesday.

"I always knew that kids really responded positively to my music," Yankovic says, "and I thought kids’ lit would be something I’d be fairly adept at. "

Yankovic - who was first given his nickname by some college dorm-mates - says if there's any message he hopes he can get across, it's that weirdness can be empowering.

"I thought if I was taking it on as my own name, then I couldn't be hurt by people in the schoolyard, saying 'Oh, what a weirdo!'," he says.  "And so it was my way of saying, I'm a little different - and it's okay to be different."