You’re all just a bunch of normals! The new trailer for WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story looks amazing, but if you're not in on the joke, you might be confused. Just how much of this movie is a "real" biopic? The short answer is: almost nothing. No, Weird Al didn’t sleep with Madonna, and no, he didn’t have a drinking problem, ever. As true Weird Al aficionados know, what makes Weird Al so weird among “rock stars,” is that he’s wholesome AF. Based on a 2013 Funny or Die sketch for a biopic that didn’t exist, the whole point of WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story is to create a twisted and hilarious version of Weird Al’s real biography.
So, is there anything real in this trailer at all? Well, turns out, there's basically only one scene in the trailer that actually occurred in real life. Yes! I am right!
Although the overall point of WEIRD is to be an intentionally over-the-top, utterly fictitious account of Weird Al’s (Daniel Radcliffe) rise to fame, there are some broad aspects of the retelling of Al Yankovic’s life that are truthful in spirit. For example, Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) really was pivotal and supportive of Al at the beginning of his career. (Author’s Note: I know that convention requires I address the subject as Yankovic, but I can call him Al. We are close personal friends.) And Al really did eat bologna back then, as he did not become a vegetarian until 1992.
Still, this is a parodic “Hollywood biopic” and while some aspects may be true, the details are as random and apocryphal as an upended box of hamsters. This is fine since it is all in service of Weird Al’s glory, but some of us ache to touch just a shaving of the real Al. Thankfully, the trailer provides this with a glimpse of a scene set inside a men’s bathroom.
Around the 2:20 mark of WEIRD, we see Al and his band (drummer Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz, bassist Steve Jay, and guitarist Jim West) rocking and recording a song inside of a bathroom. The scene stems from a real recording session that occurred in 1979 while Yankovic (Author’s Note: We are no longer friends. He knows why) was a student in the architecture program at California PolyTechnical State University in San Luis Obispo. He was also a DJ at the college’s radio station (KCPR) at the time, and his exposure to other comedy songs, and the repetition of The Knack’s then-hit “My Sharona,” lead to Yankovic recording his own parody of it in a men’s bathroom on campus. That song, “My Bologna” — featured in its full-band version in the WEIRD trailer — became a hit on Dr. Demento’s radio show, and later, Weird Al managed to get a tape of the parody to The Knack’s lead singer Doug Fieger, specifically, when the band played Cal Poly in late November 1979. The rest is heavily-dramatized history.
If you really need to pee in the middle of rock and roll history, you can still visit the bathroom at Cal Poly, as it is now adorned with a commemorative plaque.
And, if you can’t make it out to San Luis Obispo, please enjoy this virtual tour instead.
There is a minor falsehood in this otherwise entirely-true scene. Al’s bathroom recording of “My Bologna” didn’t feature his band, as it does in the movie trailer, as he hadn’t met them yet. Instead, Al played mostly solo with his college bud Jon Iverson recording. Here is the proof you so desperately seek:
WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story premieres on November 4th, 2020 on the Roku streaming service. It will be housed in the minds of all good-hearted people shortly thereafter.