“Weird Al: The Book” is a short title for a book about a guy with a long story.
The three-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, actor, musician, and producer who calls himself Weird Al made his entrance to a cheering crowd at Paramus' Barnes & Noble bookstore Monday to sign copies of the new book for his thrilled fans.
More than 150 of them turned out, and before Al even sat down, fans broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” (his birthday is October 23) and the curly-haired comic, now 53, stretched his arms out to receive the love.
“Thank you, thank you,” he gushed, then took his seat to meet each fan one-by-one.
“I’ve been a Weird Al fan a long time,” said Frank Amico of Paterson, one of the first to get his book signed. “I really appreciate his humor.”
Often called the king of pop-culture parody, Al Yankovic has sold more comedy recordings than any other artist in history. He re-invents lyrics to hit songs by other artists and re-imagines music videos with wacky and witty results.
In his hands, Michael Jackson’s Beat It became Eat It and Bad turned to Fat. Al reworked the hip-hop Gangsta’s Paradise into the wildly popular Amish Paradise, and the classic White & Nerdy, another hip-hop parody, won the parodist his first platinum record.
Al's tremendous success includes concert tours, TV, film, and a children’s book “When I Grow Up,” a clever story about a little boy who wants to grow up to have even more careers than Al.
The newest book, written by Nathan Rabin with Yankovic, is a career retrospective. “At last, the time has come for a comprehensive illustrated tribute to this icon of the American humor landscape,” Rabin writes.
Published on Oct. 1, the 208-page book covers more than three decades of Al’s life and career and contains a discography and videography as well as song lyrics and photos. Yankovic wrote the introduction in which he thanks Rabin, his drummer, and himself because “without me, this book would be pretty severely lacking in subject matter.”
He also supplied many of the photo captions, including one under a photo of his very young self playing an accordion that reads, “What’s cooler than a kid with an accordion? Everything!”
One family at the event claims that Weird Al is what made it all happen for them. “He’s the reason we got married,” said Brian Piatkowski of Passaic, nodding toward his wife Melanie.
When both were college students at Montclair State University, a mutual friend brought them together, telling Brian that Melanie shared his enthusiasm for Weird Al.
“I got down on one knee and proposed to her on the spot,” said Brian. “But it took me nine years to say yes,” Melanie chimed in. They became engaged in 1999, backstage at a Weird Al show in Red Bank’s Count Basie Theater.
“Al knew I was going to propose to Melanie again and encouraged me,” recalled Brian who had become acquainted with Yankovic over the years. “He’s not only funny and talented, he’s a really nice guy.