With a new satirical biopic now out, Weird Al is once again in our hearts and minds with his silly novelty music.
An American treasure since the 80’s, Alfred has taken a very specific brand of music making and created something we will always need in hard times—a laugh. I fell in love with his stuff in middle school, and it wasn’t long after that I learned something else special about Al. He’s a practicing Christian.
It actually makes sense that this oddball performer would be a follower of Jesus who regularly attends church. As his false biography ironically indicates, the real Weird Al’s life is devoid of any controversial bad decisions. He has successfully avoided drug abuse, sex scandals, arrests, charged political statements, and other such shenanigans that other famous rockers are known for. On the contrary, he’s a vegetarian and doesn’t even cuss. And Al is actually a very humble, unassuming, genuine nice guy. And even though he doesn’t have to, he personally asks permission of every artist before he parodies them.
The man is weird, something that comforted me in the years after I was baptized. Some of my friends rolled their eyes at my commitment to Jesus (while I grew up in a Christian household, my faith expression increased after my baptism). I wasn’t just into Weird Al because he was funny, but because he dressed and sounded strange and was still successful and cool. It was ok to be different with Al. In fact, it was necessary. I would always recall that passage in 1 Peter, “you are a peculiar people,” and remember that to be a Christian was to be weird to the rest of the world. This was expected.
Weird Al’s albums weren’t Christian worship or anything like that, but their oddness did profess a certain identity. If you like accordion, play the accordion. If something needs ridiculing, ridicule it. And by all means, rock that Hawaiian shirt even if you get outcast by your schoolmates. It was like good practice for living as a Christian even when it wasn’t popular or appreciated. It helped me get used to not fitting in for something I was really in to. It prepared me to live on the edge of alternatives to what was popular.
And while none of the songs were directed to God, affirmed Christian theology, or taught Christian morals, there was sometimes a sort of Christian-adjacent theme subtly throughout. Weird Al was always mocking the greater non-Christian culture, though in a light, Juvenalian sort of way. With the use of an accordion, Al showed us how absurd most pop rock lyrics are, and helped us refrain from making idols out of these very human performers.
In Yankovic’s world, Judaic traditions are pretty fly, Jerry Springer isn’t classy, most TV is full of junk, horoscopes are dumb, rolling with gangsters isn’t necessary, materialism sucks, consuming too much anything is toxic. He pokes fun at gossip, email forwards, lawsuit culture, gluttony, idol worship, and strange pagan practices, and Lady Gaga.
Weird Al is good clean fun (except maybe The Jerry Springer song—don’t play that one for your kids). So many of his harmless songs, which have won him numerous awards, show us that you can have an enormous amount of fun without all the flagrant “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” the world has to offer. And yeah, it might be weird, but being weird is pretty hot.