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Film / Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

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"Life is like a parody of your favorite song. Just when you think you know all the words, surprise, you don't know anything."
Grizzled Narratornote 

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a 2022 comedy/satirical biopic that tells the 100% true story of how "Weird Al" Yankovic (Daniel Radcliffe) became the music superstar he is today. The screenplay was written by Al Yankovic and Eric Appel (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Die Hart), who also directed the movie.

This film is based on a fake trailer Al made in collaboration with Funny or Die in 2010 that shares the same name. Though the film is similar in concept to the trailer, the cast is completely different, with Al being played by Aaron Paul in the original video.

In addition to Radcliffe playing Al, the film features Rainn Wilson as Dr. Demento, Evan Rachel Wood as Madonna, and Quinta Brunson as Oprah Winfrey. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2022, and was released to everyone on November 4th, 2022 through the Roku Channel.

The teaser trailer can be found here, and the official trailer can be found here.

Not to be confused with Al's earlier mockumentary, The Compleat Al.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Madonna calls Dr. Demento "Mr. Pimento".
  • Actor Allusion: When Dr. Demento introduces himself to Al, Demento says he expresses interest in becoming his mentor before making a pun saying "or should I say, De-mentor", which Al reacts with a look of cringe. This is both a Lame Pun Reaction on one level and an allusion on another level to Daniel Radcliffe's most famous work, the Harry Potter series, and the dementor creatures associated with it.
  • Actor IS the Title Character: One of the posters for the film features Daniel Radcliffe as Al wearing a t-shirt that states that Daniel Radcliffe is Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: As one would expect from a "Weird Al" parody, this trope is turned up to 11 here, with the film jammed full of lurid embellishments that contrast with Al's actual squeaky-clean and mundane life.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Madonna. In the original Funny or Die short, there was no hint of her being a negative influence on Al like she is here. And there was certainly no hint of her having ambitions of taking over a drug cartel.
  • Adult Adoptee: Right before the awards ceremony, Dr. Demento admits that he's come to see Al as a son and pulls out adoption papers for him to sign. Al turns him down since he's already made up with his actual dad, leading to a very awkward conversation between the two before Al decides to go get changed.
  • Affably Evil: Despite being a ruthless drug lord, Pablo Escobar is nothing but polite to Al. He simply wants Al to play at his birthday party and even apologizes for having kidnapped Madonna.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of musician biopics, specifically in regards to how they frequently take liberties when portraying the lives of the musicians they're focusing on.
  • Artistic License – History: Played for Laughs. The film takes many liberties from the actual life of Al, with the intention of making the film a parody of musician biopics.
    • Al has stated he has never been in a fight, but Al in the film fights off and kills several cartel members.
    • Al has also stated that he's never taken drugs recreationally and rarely drinks alcohol. In the film, at his first dinner with Madonna, he admits that he "doesn't really drink," but she quickly convinces him to become a drunk. In another scene, Dr. Demento drugs him with LSD.
    • Al has been Happily Married for over two decades to the only person he has been in a serious relationship with, but in the film, Al has a lurid and clingy romance with Madonna.
    • None of Al's band members were roommates of his.
    • In contrast to how they are seen in most of the film, Al's parents were actually incredibly supportive of his music.
    • In the film, Al's "Eat It" and "Amish Paradise" are original creations and released before the "parody" songs "Beat It" and "Gangsta's Paradise." Of course, in reality, Al's songs were the parodies and released afterward.
    • Yankovic is depicted holding a grudge against Jackson for parodying "Eat It" as "Beat It". In reality, the two musicians were such big fans of one another that Jackson lent Yankovic the "Badder" set from Moonwalker for use in the music video for "Fat", with Yankovic in turn cameoing in the music video for Jackson's "Liberian Girl". This comedic dissonance is further highlighted by Tony Scotti, played by the real Al Yankovic, being very respectful of Jackson and wincing at the film Yankovic's insults towards the musician.
    • We're pretty sure that the real Al Yankovic never killed notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
    • Additionally, the film concludes with Al being assassinated at an award show in 1985 and being re-animated as a zombie.
    • On a more mundane note, Hulk Hogan was never WWF Intercontinental Champion. (Perhaps the film had it confused with the World Championship?)
  • Autobiography: Co-written by Al himself, detailing his life and career while also parodying the trend of musician biopics of the time. Almost none of it is accurate to real life—Al wasn't in a relationship with Madonna, for one, and he definitely didn't die, either.
  • Award-Bait Song: Lampshaded when the lyrics of the end credits song "Now You Know" state "This song is technically eligible for Oscar consideration!" (This turned out to be another one of the film's lies as Al never wanted the movie to have a theatrical release, ultimately making the song only eligible for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, where it was nominated.)
  • "Back to Camera" Pose: One poster shows Al standing in Hollywood, LA with his back to the camera. The jacket has the film’s title emblazoned on it.
  • Bad Guy Bar: After the Scotti brothers tell Al to get some experience playing at live venues, Al goes to "The Cobra Pit" to debut his next song.
    Steve: The new song's a bonafide hit.
    Al: It's about ice cream!
    Bermuda: Everyone likes ice cream.
    Al: This seems like more a whiskey and heroin crowd.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Al gets drunk on stage and starts riling up the audience, he repeatedly asks if they want to see him "whip it out," referencing Jim Morrison's arrest for indecent exposure. However, when Al does whip "it" out, "it" turns out to be an accordion... though he still gets arrested for "lewd behavior."
    • After Al's mom tells him that inspiration for his next song is probably right in front of him, she starts going on about how he's probably noticed she's put on a little weight. When Al's dad tries to reassure her, she deadpan blurts out "You know I'm fat! I'm fat, you know it!" This seems like it's setting up the origins of Al's "Bad" parody "Fat", before his dad starts telling Al his backstory about growing up in an Amish community, thus instead precluding "Amish Paradise". This is Played for Laughs though when Al starts having his "Eureka!" Moment and asks his mom to go back to what she was saying about being fat, only for his parents to admonish him for not sticking with the page.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Done deliberately, as the film is meant to be a parody of musical biopics that play fast and loose with real history.
  • Becoming the Mask: Madonna says her relationship with Al was just business, but her tears show that some feelings were real. Not that it stops her from having Al assassinated.
  • Berserk Button: Don't Tell Al that you think his totally original song "Eat It" is a Michael Jackson parody.
  • Big "NO!": Al yells one right before the hitman shoots him.
  • Blood from the Mouth: After getting the living daylights beaten out of him by Al's father, the accordion salesman is left lying on the floor coughing up blood, which together with his claim about a collapsed lung indicates that he's a hair's length away from death. Of course, this being a comedy, the salesman is immensely nonchalant about it.
  • Book and Switch: On the school bus, Al hides an issue of an accordion magazine inside his textbook.
  • Bound and Gagged: Madonna, after being kidnapped by Pablo Escobar. When Al refuses to perform a song for the kingpin's birthday, she manages to spit the gag out and offers to perform Borderline, but is turned down.
  • Brick Joke: Mid-movie, Al mentions joining the Illuminati (and going to their holiday dinner) as one of the perks of his fame. The Photo Montage before the end credits includes a photo of him standing in front of a row of cloaked and hooded figures, holding a skull, with an "eye in a pyramid" symbol on the wall behind him.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": This exchange between Al and Madonna:
    Madonna: Have you heard my new single "Like a Virgin"?
    Al: Oh, I've heard it. And I'm curious, is that song... autobiographical?
    Madonna: Yes, I technically am a virgin, except for the fact that I've had a lot of sex. I mean, a lot.
  • Cameo Cluster: The pool party at Dr. Demento's home is jammed with actors playing famous musicians and related celebrities in bit parts. Among others, one can spot mock versions of David Bowie, Grace Jones, Divine, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Alice Cooper, Paul Reubens, Tiny Tim, Devo, Elton John, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and Frank Zappa.
  • Captain Ersatz: Although Captain Buffoon is an actual person,note  in real life Al actually sent "My Bologna" straight to Dr. Demento. Buffoon substitutes for Demento at this early stage in the film so that Demento can be treated with more gravitas when he meets Al later.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Many, many celebrities pop up throughout the film, playing roles ranging from bit parts to minor supporting characters.
  • Celebrity Casualty: The film ends with Al being assassinated at an award show in 1985 and becoming a zombie. The real Al is of course alive and well as of 2022, having co-wrote and co-produced this very film, and appearing in it as Tony Scotti.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Pablo Escobar is said to be a big fan of Al's and requests that Al plays at his birthday party, which Al turns down, leading to a slew of these during the ensuing chaos. It is revealed that he kidnapped Madonna specifically to get Al to show up at his party. The "hay boy" trick he'd learned as a teen comes back as a diversion for the guards. During the same scene, Escobar's bullet hits one of Al's platinum medallions, and all of this leads directly to Al's assassination, as Madonna wants to Leave No Witnesses after her takeover of Escobar's cartel.
  • Chekhov's Skill: As a teenager, Al is convinced to go to a party by his friends, who teach him to make a "hay boy"—that is, a bundle of hay shaped like a person—to trick his parents into thinking that he's still at home. Much later on, he uses the same trick to fool a couple of Escobar's goons into thinking that they've killed him.
  • Cigarette Burns: When Ben Scotti tells Al that he can't smoke in their office, Al extinguishes his cigarette in Ben's open palm.
    Ben: ...I totally deserve that.
  • Cloth Fu: Al uses a towel rag to fight some chefs attacking him at a restaurant.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: After Al sends his tape of "My Bologna" to the Captain Buffoon radio show, his roommates warn him that it will require years of hard work before he'll become famous. A moping Al flicks on the radio just in time to hear Captain Buffoon raving about the new tape he's received and how he will be playing "My Bologna" all day long.
  • Colbert Bump: Referenced In-Universe as the "Yankovic Bump", a phenomenon where a Weird Al parody of a song will cause increased sales. This is exaggerated in the film, where sales are increased exponentially following Al's parodies.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Done by Al when a sultry Madonna visits him at home.
    Al: So, would you like to see the rest of the house?
    Madonna: There's only one room I'm interested in seeing.
    Al: Oh, I'm doing some work on the bathroom. But there's another one downstairs.
    Madonna: Oh, I'm not talking about the bathroom.
    Al: Then let me show you to the laundry room.
  • The Comically Serious: Al's persona and the entire mythos surrounding him in the film's world; at no point is it ever suggested that there's anything humorous about a bespectacled and frizzy-haired Hawaiian-shirt-wearing accordionist changing the lyrics of popular songs to be about mundane and silly subjects (apart from one very brief moment in which Al starts having doubts that a rowdy crowd at a bar will be receptive to a song about ice cream). While the film implies a few times that there's a stigma involving parody songs being inferior to original songs, there's still no indication that they're supposed to be funny.
  • Comical Overreacting: After Al drops his tape for "My Bologna" in the envelope, his roommates all cheer with the vigor of watching a football team score the winning touchdown. Later, when Captain Buffoon plays "My Bologna" on the radio and makes Al an instant sensation, he and his roommates react with extreme mania, screaming in disbelief, ripping off their shirts, and throwing dishes across the room.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: During Al's Mushroom Samba, he finds himself on a long conveyor belt leading into the jaws of a nasty-looking machine that is implied to be the industrial shredder from his dad's factory that the new guy fell into when Al was a kid.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Real-life Al Yankovic plays Tony Scotti, co-owner of Scotti Bros. Records.
    • Director Eric Appel provides the voice for radio personality Captain Buffoon.
  • Credits Gag: The end credits are accompanied by a brand-new Al song called "Now You Know", which reminds the audience that the film they just watched is completely factual. There are two instances where the credits end and the song seemingly wraps up... only for Al to yell "Fake-out ending!" before even more credits scroll through. It then culminates in a glorious fourth wall gag where Al sings about the credits, even pointing out the name of Funny or Die's production manager (Savvas Yiannoulou) and calling him "a really nice guy".
  • Curse Cut Short: Al's father walks in just as the traveling salesman is telling Al how an accordion will make him very popular with girls.
    "You're gonna need a lifeguard because you're gonna be drowning in so much p—".
  • Deadly Disc: Al kills Pablo Escobar with one of his platinum records.
  • Destructo-Nookie: When Al and Madonna first hook up, they seemingly go out of their way to destroy as many of Al's decorations as possible on the way to the bedroom.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Al turns to alcohol after he learns that Michael Jackson wrote a parody of his 100% totally original song "Eat It".
  • Drunk Driver: After drinking heavily due to the existence of Michael Jackson's parody of "Eat It", Al gets in his car and tries to escape the attention. He ends up plowing into a semi-truck, nearly dying in the emergency room at the hospital.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • In one scene, Al and his roommates (who eventually become his band later in the film) are discussing about living away from their parents and playing by the rules. When Al is asked to name something he always wanted to do but was never allowed to do so, Al answers "make up words to a song that already exists". Eventually, while Al is making a bologna sandwich, Jim West turns on the radio which plays "My Sharona" by The Knack that keeps looping during the chorus. Al then stares at a package of bologna that he was using for the sandwich, and inspiration instantly strikes for his song "My Bologna".
    • His parents' attempt to spoon-feed the same moment isn't quite as successful, as his mother proclaims "You know I'm fat, I'm fat, you know it" with a short Beat before looking disappointed in her son for not getting inspired by it.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Madonna sports a military uniform and an eyepatch when she becomes a ruthless drug lord.
  • Failed a Spot Check: At the awards ceremony, no one notices the hitman entering the auditorium in grey combat fatigues, wearing a bandolier of bullets around his neck, and carrying a four-foot-long machine gun... not even after he takes a seat in the front row.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Both of Al's parents, but particularly his father, try to dissuade Al from becoming a musician and making song parodies. His dad even goes as far as to destroy Al's accordion when he learns he has one. All this does is alienate Al and push him further into pursuing music.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Al gets arrested for lewd behavior when, during a drunken bender in front of 20,000 concertgoers, he suddenly whips out... his accordion. And no, that's not a euphemism.
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason Al's father is of the fantasy forbidding type is because he was raised Amish and, due to being just as odd as Al is, was eventually excommunicated, not wanting his son to go through similar hardship.
  • Funny Background Event: When the pool party guests are dancing to "Another One Rides the Bus," Pee-wee Herman is doing his classic "Big Shoe Dance."
  • Genre Shift: Once Pablo Escobar gets involved, the film shifts from a lighthearted biopic parody to a violent action film parody. Then once that subplot wraps up, it goes back to being a biopic.
  • The Ghost: Michael Jackson is mentioned numerous times, especially after he releases his song "Beat It" in response to Al's "Eat It", but he himself never physically appears and "Beat It" is never heard.
  • Grave Humor: At the end of the film, when Madonna visits Al's tombstone after his funeral, the epitaph on the headstone says that he "ate it" in 1985.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Parodied after Al sends his tape of "My Bologna" to the Captain Buffoon radio show. His friends warn that it will require years — maybe decades — of hard work before he'll get noticed... just before Captain Buffoon raves about the song and turns Al into an instant sensation.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Done with Madonna, and how! She ends up becoming an international drug lord who has Al assassinated.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Al is so smitten with Madonna that he never realizes that she's quite blatantly using him for her own means, ignoring whenever Dr. Demento and his bandmates say that she isn't trustworthy. It's not until after he kills Escobar and she suggests that they take over his cartel that Al realizes that she doesn't actually care about him, leading to him dumping her.
  • How We Got Here: The movie starts with Al being rushed through a hospital after being severely injured. It then flashes back to his childhood, the rise of his career, and the car accident that leads to said injury.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Al is outraged when he learns Michael Jackson is writing a parody of "Eat It" and refers to people who change other musicians' lyrics as "sick freaks," as if that literally wasn't his entire career up until that point.
  • Iconic Outfit: Dr. Demento is never seen without his top hat, even in the bath.
  • I Have Your Wife: Pablo Escobar kidnaps Madonna in order to goad Al into coming to his birthday party and playing for him, having grown tired of his constant refusals to do so.
  • The Illuminati: Al mentions joining the Illuminati (and going to their holiday dinner) as one of the perks of his fame. This gets referenced in the photo montage during the credits.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • All of Pablo Escobar's goons miss hitting Al while is he only standing still gunning them down.
    • Madonna misses hitting Al several times both when he is standing still and walking away in a straight line. It could just be that she’s bad at shooting, but maybe deep down she can’t bring herself to kill him in that emotional moment.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Dr. Demento bluntly warns Al that Madonna is just manipulating him for her own ends... while Madonna is standing right next to Al.
  • Instant Death Stab: Pablo Escobar is killed instantly by getting one of Al's platinum records embedded in his head.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: A meta version occurs when Al first visits the Scotti Brothers. After they turn down Al's request for a contract, Ben Scotti (portrayed by Will Forte) harshly insults Al's music and appearance, to the painful reactions of his younger sibling Tony... who's played by the real Al Yankovic. Tony keeps trying to reel Ben back in, to little effect.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Al's band hangs one on the story beats of musical biopics after they perform "Amish Paradise" and reconcile backstage.
    Bermuda: Hey, you're an artist. Being an abusive jerk is all part of the process.
    Jim: Yeah, name me one creative genius that doesn't have a checkered past involving drugs, alcohol, and a murderous rampage through the heart of the jungle.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Done several times in the film.
    • Despite his generally rude attitude towards Al, Tony Scotti gets increasingly uncomfortable when his brother slams the young artist with brutal insults. Tony is played by Al himself, so it's as if he's taking all those insults personally.
    • Tony Scotti gets equally uncomfortable when Radcliffe's Al begins furiously insulting Michael Jackson and complaining that his career will forever be linked to that "loser," trying to interject that Jackson is actually a great artist and being linked to him should be an honornote .
  • Loony Fan: Charles Nelson Reilly, as shown on the note he leaves on Al's Hollywood Walk of Fame memorial/tribute. Also likely a reference to Al's song CNR.
  • Love at First Sight: Al and Madonna go from meeting each other to becoming inseparable soul mates in six hours.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: The film's main title is "Weird", which is the first part of Yankovic's signature nickname.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A Running Gag is the idea that accordions are amazingly cool. The door-to-door accordion salesman tells a young Al they're really popular with girls, Al's dad violently reacts to them as sinful temptations, and other teens treat them as Forbidden Fruit. As an adult, Al believes being an accordion player makes him a shoo-in for bands.
    Al: It's almost like nobody wants an accordion player in their band.
    Jim: That just doesn't make any sense.
    Steve: Yeah, accordions are cool.
  • Mushroom Samba: Al experiences a drug trip caused by eating guacamole laced with LSD, which culminates in him writing "Eat It".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The film poster nods to the cover art for Al's debut album; the front cover for the album depicts Al at home, dreaming of being an accordion-playing rock star, while the back cover depicts Al as an accordion-playing rock star, dreaming of staying home. Similarly, the film poster features Daniel Radcliffe as an accordion-playing rock star version of Al.
    • At the beginning of the film, as Al tunes through various radio stations, an ad is heard for "gaberdine suits," referencing the song "King of Suede".
    • The quote on Al's mirror, "If money can't buy happiness, I guess I'll have to rent it" comes from his song "This is the Life".
    • When Al's friends take him to a Wild Teen Party, Al is shocked to learn that it is a "polka party", a reference to Al's album of the same name.
    • There are several references to Al's earlier movie, UHF:
      • A flyer for Kuni's Karate School is seen on the campus bulletin board.
      • There's a magnet for Spatula City on the refrigerator at Al and his roommates' dorm.
      • The magnet, in turn, is holding a take-out menu from Big Edna's Burger World.
      • The sequence where Al breaks into Pablo Escobar's bunker in South America to rescue Madonna, gunning down his goons along the way, takes after the Rambo parody from UHF.
    • Tony Scotti mockingly tells Al that they're going to give him a fourteen record album deal on the spot because of the success of his one song "My Bologna". The real Al's actual record deal eventually evolved so that it covered fourteen albums total.
    • When Al performs "I Love Rocky Road", the crowd starts pumping their fists in the air in time with the song. This is a callback to the song's music video, which used a similar shot.
    • Al's favorite Arc Number, 27, appears as the stadium section where Al tells off his bandmembers and Dr Demento.
    • Pablo Escobar claims that he listened to Al's records by purchasing them through the Columbia Record Club; in "Albuquerque", the narrator divorces his wife Zelda when she asks if he wants to sign up with the club, which he views as a more severe commitment than marriage.
    • A note at Al's Hollywood Walk of Fame memorial is from Charles Nelson Reilly, referencing Al's Memetic Badass song about him, "CNR".
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Al's dad beats the accordion salesman within an inch of his life for trying to sell an accordion to his son. By the time Al's mom pulls his dad away, the salesman is spurting Blood from the Mouth and has a collapsed lung.
  • Non-Singing Voiceinvoked: Parodied. When Al sings, it's very clearly the real Al Yankovic singing, as it doesn't match Daniel Radcliffe's performance at all. Every Weird Al song in the film except for "Eat It" was re-recorded for the film, so not only is Dan lip-syncing to Al's singing voice, but to the much older Al's singing voice.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • During dinner, Al's father shares the news that another industrial accident happened that day, as the new hire was standing too close to an industrial shredder.
    Nick: ...I would've reached out and grabbed him, but I already lost one hand to that cursed machine. Well, anyway, there's an opening down at the factory floor. Maybe I could pull a few strings and you can spend the summer working with your old man, how's that sound?
    • Later, when Al himself works at the factory, pressing a random button at his console causes a massive fire, severely injuring at least one coworker.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: At the polka party, when the other teens try to peer pressure Al into playing the accordion, not only is Al called a chicken, but they do The Chicken Dance to drive it home. Al gives in because of the taunting.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist:
    • At Dr. Demento's pool party, John Deacon of Queen introduces himself to the crowd first only by his name to blank stares. When he says he is in the band Queen, the confused looks only continue. Once he finally clarifies he plays bass for Queen, everyone reacts with agreement they at least understand who this person is because, as the bassist, no one at the party has previously cared about him in the slightest.
    • When Al fights with his band, he tells Jon Schwartz that he can replace him with a drum machine, he tells Jim West that he can replace him with a "guitar machine", but when he gets to Steve Jay, he forgets what type of instrument he plays.
  • Nothing but Hits: Out of Al's extensive discography, only his biggest (and earliest) hits are featured. "Amish Paradise" is the only parody that is not from his early albums, and the only non-parody song is "Eat It".
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: What, exactly, the factory where Al's father works makes is never revealed. When Al asks a new coworker directly, he's laughed off like he told a joke.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: Presumably intentionally, when teenage Al starts expertly playing the accordion at the polka party, you never see his face and his hands in the same shot, and the hand playing the accordion's keys is at the end of a much hairier arm than those of the actor playing teen Al.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: A Running Gag in the film is that Al is given such a title for his overall career, as first mentioned in the quote below. The cumulation of this is when Al wins an award for this exact category in the final scene.
    Al: You... you think you're going to stop me from playing? You'll see. One day I'm going to be the best... well, perhaps not technically the best, but arguably the most famous accordion player in an extremely specific genre of music!
  • Parody Displacement: Yes, believe it or not, the trope formerly known as The Weird Al Effect does feature in this movie about Weird Al. Appropriately, it's used In-Universe to parody its own existence in Real Life: Al writes "Eat It" which ends up being a massive hit, however when Michael Jackson comes out with "Beat It", it causes everyone to think that Al’s version is the parody. Al is also seen coming up with "Amish Paradise" on his own, before Coolio is seen in the audience of his live performance pondering it, implying the same thing happens between his song and "Gangsta's Paradise".
  • Percussive Therapy: When Al gets a phone call telling him that Michael Jackson is releasing "Beat It", a parody of Al's 100% totally original composition "Eat It", he becomes angry and begins banging the telephone receiver on the edge of the desk.
  • Photo Montage: Parodied in regards to the way biopics usually use them. The credits start with actual photos of the real Al... only to transition to blatantly poorly Photoshopped pictures of things like him meeting Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and David Bowie, getting drunk on stage, making out with Madonna in front of Dr. Demento, killing Pablo Escobar and his goons, getting gunned down at the awards show, and his funeral being led by President Reagan. All while piano and violin music plays.
  • Pocket Protector: When Al is seemingly shot by the drug lord, Pablo Escobar, Al reveals that he is fine, because he was wearing his 5 platinum records around his neck, seen earlier in his interview with Oprah.
  • Polka Dork: Inverted. Listening to polka music and playing the accordion is depicted as a controversial and rebellious activity, with accordion magazines being treated like contraband Playboys and and teens hosting wild underage "polka parties."
  • Powder Keg Crowd: As Al is playing "I Love Rocky Road" to an enthusiastic crowd at The Cobra Pit, one of the patrons asks for ice cream. When the bartender says he doesn't sell ice cream:
    "You better start selling it before this song's over or you're gonna have a riot on your hands!"
  • Product Placement: Parodied when Pablo Escobar reveals that he bought all of Al's records through the Columbia Record Club, which he immediately follows up with a description about its services that sounds like it was read off of a corporate-mandated cue card. This is despite the fact that the Columbia Record Club shut down in 2010, long before the movie was made, due to both poor business decisions and the declining sales of physical media.
  • Real-Person Cameo: The real Al Yankovic plays Tony Scotti, the record company executive who gave Al his first record deal.
  • Really Gets Around: Madonna is upfront in telling Al that she's had lots of sex.
  • Repetitive Audio Glitch: While Al and his roommates are listening to the radio, "My Sharona" by The Knack is playing, and the chorus starts looping. The guys lampshade this, complaining that the DJ accidentally played a broken record.
  • The Rich Have White Stuff: When Al becomes the biggest star on Earth, his opulent mansion is entirely bright white on the inside with some gold furnishings.
  • Running Gag: As noted on this page, there are several throughout the movie.
  • Satire:
  • Self-Deprecation: Done when Al finds out that Michael Jackson is releasing a parody of "Eat It" called "Beat It". For extra meta, he's delivering this line to Tony Scotti, who's being played by the real Al Yankovic.
    "What kind of sick freak changes the words to someone else's song?!"
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The film features Al's biopic-standard struggles with this, in contrast with the real Yankovic's straight-edge lifestyle.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Dr. Demento says he recognizes people who will go "straight to the top", he name-drops Nervous Norvus and Wild Man Fischer.
    • The scene where Al's band goes to Dr. Demento's pool party, for the first couple of minutes, is an exact recreation of the pool scene from Boogie Nights. They even use the same house as a set with the placement of the actors being identical as well.
    • Al's car crash, dying in the hospital, and then being brought back to life is a reference to two separate scenes from the Mötley Crüe bio The Dirt.
    • Al "exposing" his accordion on stage references a notorious incident where The Doors' Jim Morrison reportedly flashed the audience while drunk, with the parody's staging taking after the incident's depiction in The Doors (1991).
    • Word of God is that Al's ability to create parodies from conversations around him was inspired from a scene in Ray, where Ray Charles comes up with "Hit the Road Jack" during an argument with his pregnant girlfriend.
    • Near the end, after Al receives his award, he pees his pants on stage, just like Jackson Maine from A Star Is Born (2018).
    • To Carrie (1976) with Al's hand rising up from the grave to grab Madonna at the end.
  • The Show Must Go On: Al, in a car accident and revived from flatlining at the hospital, still goes on stage that night.
    Al: This is all for you babe! I love you so much. I think I should have stuck around for that blood transfusion though.
  • Shrine to Self: After he achieves worldwide fame, Al lives in a mansion that is filled with oil paintings and statues of himself.
  • Sleeping Dummy: When the teenage Al is invited to a party, he initially declines because his parents wouldn't like it. His peers then suggest that he uses a "Hay Boy". True to it's name, the hay boy is a boy made out of hay placed in Al's bed to fool his parents.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Al and Madonna do this after they've done the deed.
  • Stage Name: When they first meet, Dr. Demento advises Al that "Al Yankovic" is too clumsy of a moniker for a musician. Instead, he suggests that Al go with... "Weird Al Yankovic".
  • The Stinger: Having assassinated Yankovic, Madonna shows up at his grave during the mid-credits scene... only to encounter his zombie.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Played for Laughs. As Al celebrates his big win at the award ceremony, he's gunned down by an assassin sent by Madonna. The joke is that this obviously never happened, yet the film treats his "death" with total solemnity. Even the main credits are a Photo Montage set to emotional music.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That:
    • Played for Laughs when Al displays expert fighting skills and single-handedly takes down about a dozen cartel members to rescue Madonna after she gets kidnapped, when he'd never shown any sort of combat abilities beforehand.
    • When Al struggles to win over a hostile audience at a dive bar, his roommates spontaneously pick up instruments and back him up, adding energy to the song and winning over the audience. They previously showed no musical talent, even as they helped him record "My Bologna" earlier.
      Al: Why didn't you guys tell me you could play? You're great!
      Jim West: I guess it didn't seem relevant 'til now.
  • Take That!: When Al is up for the "Not the Best But Definitely Most Famous Accordion Player" award at the ceremony in the end, a man clearly recognizable as Princenote  can be seen in the audience crossing his fingers in hope, and then pouting and leaving when the award goes to Al instead.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Four different actors portray Al throughout the film: Richard Aaron Anderson as a child, David Bloom in his teen years, Daniel Radcliffe as an adult, and Diedrich Bader as the elderly narrator, apparently posthumously as Al dies while still played by Radcliffe.
  • Tough Love: This is the reason Al's father gives for being tough on Al in his youth.
    "I didn't want you to get your dreams crushed, so I thought I should crush your ideas before they could turn into dreams."
  • Traveling Salesman: The movie has an unnamed salesman, dressed in the stereotypical old-timey garb with a suitcase, who arrives at the Yankovic household to sell Al an accordion. This doesn't end up well for him, as Al's father eventually beats him to a pulp.
  • The Unreveal: The audience, and Al, never discover what the factory makes.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film is a deliberate exaggeration of "Weird Al" Yankovic’s life for the purpose of parody. While a number of elements and individuals from his life made it into the film, a number of embellishments are added too such as Al killing Pablo Escobar and being assassinated.
  • Waxing Lyrical: A Running Gag is how lyrics from Al's famous songs start off as word-for-word things people say to him, exaggerating the tendency for such "inspiration" to strike in similar musical biopics.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Much of the movie is spent with Al seeking the approval of his parents, especially his father.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Parodied. The epilogue text pops up right before Al is shot by a cartel member, stating he was fatally assassinated at the awards ceremony in 1985. After this, the only other text that pops up says "Madonna Ciccone is still at large."
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Parodied during the dinner in the first five minutes of the movie.
    Mary: Honey, I know it's hard to hear this, but your dad and I had a long talk and we agreed that it'd be best for all of us if you would just stop being who you are and doing what you love.
  • Wild Teen Party: Parodied. A house party where people dance to polka is treated with the same seriousness as one with alcohol and drugs, complete with Al getting snuck out by friends, the teens bolting when cops arrive, and Al being brought home by the police.
  • Yoko Oh No: Parodied with Madonna, who helps inflate Al's ego to massive proportions over the course of six hours.

"What can I say? I am full of surprises."