For over 30 years, musical satirist Weird Al Yankovic has entertained generations of goofy teenagers and dorky adults with accordion-driven song parodies such as “Eat It,” “Smells Like Nirvana” and “My Bologna.”
However, with the release of his second children’s book, My New Teacher and Me!, he has started a second career pursuing a completely new fan base: the under-5 crowd.
“It’s nice that I can now have a fan base that includes toddlers,” Yankovic said. “I got my first taste of that when I starred in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! It was very gratifying, yet odd for me, to have a 2-year-old recognize me in an airport.”
My Teacher and Me! is the follow-up to his first best-selling children’s book, When I Grow Up, which introduced the imaginative 8-year-old Billy and his Weird Al-like view of the world.
“Young Billy is back, and he’s entering a new year in school,” Yankovic said. “[The book is] a celebration of imagination and marching to the beat of your own drummer.”
A fan of kid-lit his entire life, Yankovic credits the word-play and rhymes of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein as two of his earliest and biggest influences.
But when asked if he was ready to parlay this literary success into the realm of children’s music, Yankovic said he’s not quite sure. Yet.
“I’ve never really written for any specific demographic,” Yankovic said. “A lot of kids like my albums as they are. A children’s album is something I would consider, however.”
Until then, he’s content to have both his adult fans and newer, younger fans sharing in the adventures of Billy.
“I like to think that it’s a fun book. It’ll hopefully help kids’ imagination and creativity to flower a little bit. It’s a fun book to read aloud to your child at night, and hopefully, as an adult, you’ll enjoy it, too,” Yankovic added.
Yankovic’s local ties are weirder than you might think. Cult classic comedy film UHF turns 25 years old this year, celebrating its A-list cast and starring — you guessed it — Al Yankovic. It was filmed in Oklahoma, and executive produced by Oklahoma City-raised Gray Frederickson (who also produced The Outsiders and coproduced Apocalypse Now). Yeah.
At 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, enjoy a special “reunion” screening and live Q-and-A session with Yankovic at Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave. in Tulsa. Tickets are $10. Learn more at circlecinema.com. —Gazette Staff