Why Doesn't Weird Al Yankovic Have A Musical?
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Well folks, it seems comedian, actress, and certifiably ageless Disney princess, Sarah Silverman has managed to reach beyond the realms of stand-up comedy, film and television alike, finally busting her way into the final frontier of any several-hyphenate – the equally-hyphenated locale of Off-Broadway.
Yep over the past several years, Silverman has worked at adapting her memoir, The Bedwetter into a musical set to hit The Great White Way-Adjacent, scheduled to premiere at the Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater on April 30, 2022, a date recently announced after several years of Covid-19 related delays.
Detailing Silverman's childhood and the early days of her career, the musical was a joint project between Silverman, late Fountains of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger, and The Atlantic Theater company.
“I’ve always been attracted to Sarah Silverman’s comedy — not only how incredibly fun it is but also how dark and subversive it can be,” Neil Pepe, the artistic director of the aforementioned theater company told the New York Times of his collaborator shortly after the theatrical endeavor was announced in 2019.
Yet amid the hype surrounding this comedy-centric musical, one burning question remains -- one that directly impacts the fate of Silverman's project, the sanctity of Broadway shows, off-Broadway shows, school plays, and literally every performance of any imaginable kind, a question that is of the utmost relevance and fiery importance that we definitely didn't just think of 10 minutes ago – if Sarah Silverman has a musical, why the hell doesn't Weird Al Yankovic?
Since dropping his first demo, "Belvedere Cruisin'' in 1976, Weird Al has proven himself to be an enduring pop-culture staple, akin only to Cher, Betty White, and Julie Andrews, boasting 14 studio albums, five Grammy Awards, several gold and platinum-certified singles and albums, and seven separate tours over the course of five decades. He also wears cool shirts.
It's safe to say that in the final days of humanity, we'll still have Twinkies, cockroaches, one lone member of The Simpsons's production team churning out new episodes until their inevitable death, and Weird Al Yankovic creating widely-beloved parodies probably called “Nuclear Erase” (a song about really big erasers that's a play on “nuclear waste”) and “Heat Bath of the Pruny Curse” (like “Heat Death of the Universe” but like, about when your fingers get all pruny in the shower).
As the New York Times Magazine's Sam Anderson put it in an article surrounding the artist's seemingly infinite appeal “National economies collapse; species go extinct; political movements rise and fizzle. But — somehow, for some reason — Weird Al endures.”
Yet even beyond his vast, award-winning discography and literally timeless appeal, Weird Al also is a pretty stand up dude, meaning any musical about him will probably age like a fine, fine wine rather than a glass of milk on a hot summer day (looking at you, ultra-cursed high school productions of The King and I that required the entire cast to wear black wigs and paint on a darker skin tone). Aside from the fact that he's long proven to be a nice dude -- to quote the old r/ShowerThoughts adage, "A guy named "Weird Al" has had a 40+ year long career with no allegations of sexual impropriety" – the artist has been consistently kind to fans (if the “nice allegations” throughout social platforms are to believed) and fellow musicians alike, usually asking for permission from the writers behind popular songs before dropping bangers like “Amish Paradise” and “Eat It."
“While the law supports his ability to parody without permission, he feels it’s important to maintain the relationships that he’s built with artists and writers over the years,” explains an FAQ page answer on Weird Al's website addressing the musician's penchant for getting artists' blessings. “Plus, Al wants to make sure that he gets his songwriter credit (as writer of new lyrics) as well as his rightful share of the royalties," the entry continued, noting in a subsequent section that “Most artists are genuinely flattered and consider it an honor to have Weird Al parody their work,” with some, namely Nirvana, reportedly saying “they didn’t realize that they had really ‘made it’ until Weird Al did a parody of them!”
So, Broadway moguls, if you're reading this, please take a moment to look up from your adaptation of The Queen's Gambit, or 13 Going On 30, and please, please just consider making a musical chronicling the bizarre life and times of Weird Al Yankovic. You have more than enough material (46 singles and five decades, to be exact), an adoring fanbase, and hell, the poetic justice of knowing that you parodied the king of parodies … well, sorta. He may not be “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” (Weird Al isn't moonlighting at the Synogauge, at least as far as we know) but he is pretty fly for a 60-something-year-old dude with a gorgeous perm, an endless supply of puns, and a penchant for expertly taking the piss out of pop culture.