“I’m really not insane — I just perform this way.” This line, taken from the track that parodies “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, pretty much sums up “Weird Al” Yankovic’s career. He’s considered an all-around goofy guy for his wild get-ups (aka Hawaiian shirts and ‘stache), his manic and virtuosic musical ability at the accordion (of all instruments), and his propensity to write pastiche and parody in the schlockiest (by which I mean “best”) way possible.

What is truly insane about Weird Al, however, is not his public persona, which reveals passion and deliberate self-deprecation — it’s the volume of material he has written and the admiration he’s received over the past thirty-plus years. His parodying of classic songs is no longer a point of copyright dispute, but rather an honor for which the artists he parodies are typically grateful to receive.

Watching “Weird Al” Yankovic Saturday night at The Greek Theatre made me realize how legendary he really is. While I haven’t exactly been keeping up with his latest endeavors on YouTube and parodying of songs by artists I’m simply not in touch with, I was amazed to see an audience of such a wide age range gathered to see the man who brought “Eat It” and “Dare To Be Stupid” to my ears in the early ’90s via the Greatest Hits cassette tape (I still have that tape stored away in a safe place).

If you have to have only one takeaway from his variety show that everyone else would probably call a concert in support of Mandatory Fun, his latest album and first to hit #1 in his career, it’s that Weird Al continues to thrive as that rare (or should I say, “weird”) breed of artist in the entertainment industry who can be a chameleon of talents, staying relevant in pop culture by adapting to new social environs, conceptualizing everything and anything without fear, and, most importantly, entertaining.

This two-hour set featured a selection of Weird Al’s greatest hits, performed in a way that, again, was pretty marvelous. As part of the communist imagery that plays a role in the Mandatory Fun artwork, the show wasted no time in getting people to enjoy themselves, with Weird Al entering the theatre from an unknown location to the track “Tacky,” mimicking the style of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”

Sure, Weird Al and his backing band could have easily just “played the hits” on a stage in front of people, but with multiple costume changes, barrier-breaking moments of audience participation, and confetti explosions not even half-way through the first act, this was a full-fledged show that was more UHF in its demeanor than ABC.

It was all in the sake of comedy, done the Weird Al way. Renditions of popular ’80s hits like “I Love Rocky Road,” “Like A Surgeon,” and “I Lost On Jeopardy” were treated in medleys of genres that were far from ’80s music, like lounge, bluegrass, and Eric Clapton-esque adult alternative. These medleys, including the great “Now That’s What I Call Polka” and the whole Star Wars-themed encore, were perhaps the set’s best moments.

Fantastic visuals accompanied all of the music explored in these two hours, which makes total sense. Weird Al’s music stands on its own when listened to, but his thirty years worth of experience with sound effects, editing, and directing music videos has proven that it’s the visuals that ensure his satire lands with such success.

During each costume/set change, the audience had the chance to see pretty much every single clip from various media that Weird Al has ever appeared in — animated or live — or was even mentioned in. By show’s end I was overwhelmed thinking about how remarkable a career this man has built for himself and his fans.

Again, I can’t say that I listen to him as much as I used to, but older and wiser, I have an artistic eye and a different kind of admiration for Weird Al, the guy who will, no matter what, still tell me “It doesn’t matter what you had for lunch.” His show is one that is mandatory to see. The fun will come naturally.

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“Weird Al” Yankovic