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No. 1 album was odd experience for Weird Al

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2015

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Something, well, weird happened with Weird Al Yankovic's latest album, "Mandatory Fun."

It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

That was a first for Yankovic in 20-plus years of making hit parodies. Released last July, it was also the first comedy album to hit No. 1 since Allan Sherman's "My Son, the Nut" in 1963, and the most one-week sales (104,000 copies) for a comedy album since "The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience" in 1994. The achievement left Yankovic uncharacteristically speechless, especially since he couldn't figure out what he did differently this time than on his 13 prior releases.

"Y'know, the process is pretty much the same as it's always been," Yankovic, 55, says by phone from his home in California. "The challenge for me is always to try to think of different ways to be funny and not repeat myself comedically and fall back on the same old tropes that I've used in the past.

"But having said that, it's the same kind of formula. It's six original songs, it's five parodies and the polka medley, and I'm tackling the biggest hits of the past of the last couple years and I'm kind of being as eclectic as possible and trying my hands in a bunch of new genres I haven't had a chance to yet."

"Mandatory Fun" features a parodies of Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy") and Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil") while the person most happy may be Pharrell Williams, who's represented three times -- his own "Happy" as "Tacky," his collaboration with Robin Thicke on "Blurred Lines" as "World Crimes" and his team up with Daft Punk for "Get Lucky, which is part of the "Now That's What I Call Polka!" medley.

And Yankovic adds that fears of Pharrell being difficult were quickly allayed -- once he got to Pharrell himself.

"My manager was having a time tough getting a hold of Pharrell through his representatives," Yankovic recalls. "In the meanwhile, I somehow -- and I'm not at liberty to say how -- got Pharrell's personal e.mail address and I sent him an e.mail requesting permission, and he could not have been nicer. He sent me a very sweet e.mail back immediately saying he'd be honored. I was just blown away. He was just the sweetest guy."

Weird Al Yankovic

9 p.m. Friday, June 26.

The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, 377 Riverside Drive East.

Tickets are $29-$58.

Call 1-800-991-7777 or visit www.caesarswindsor.com

Web Site: www.caesars.com/caesars-windsor

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