There is a reason a pie in the face, slipping on a banana peel, and getting pelted with tomatoes are shorthands for comedy at large. Food is funny. It’s slippery and messy and makes you burp and fart. So of course it’s a frequent inspiration for the world’s premier parody artist, Weird Al Yankovic.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Movie, the absolutely real not ridiculous or wildly fictitious telling of Yankovic’s life, is now streaming on Roku. So we decided to look back on his illustrious, decades-long career for all the places where he was inspired by food. Below, a ranking of his best efforts.
14. “Fat”: As the movie notes, this riff on Michael Jackson’s “Bad” is a stale joke that’s best left in the past.
13. “Grapefruit Diet”: Another song where fatness is the base of the humor, but we can’t deny that “Grapefruit Diet” is just a fun phrase to sing to the tune of “Zoot Suit Riot.”
12. “Waffle King”: This is one of Yankovic’s style parodies, evoking the idea of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” but given that a “Waffle King” isn’t really an extant thing, the joke is a little flat.
11. “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”: The original song, R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet,” was already a joke. But Yankovic nails how it sounds like a kid desperately trying make his book report hit the page count, and also the mundanity of trying to figure out what you want for dinner.
10. “Livin’ in the Fridge”: A parody of “Livin’ on the Edge” by Aerosmith, this is just some really tight lyrics about mold.
9. “I Love Rocky Road”: Yankovic is at his best when the parody rhymes are spot on and the sentiment is profoundly obvious and stupid. This is a song about liking ice cream. Hell yeah.
8. “The White Stuff”: Until compiling this list I had no idea Weird Al was the one to write this. I assumed this parody of “The Right Stuff” by New Kids on the Block came from the collective imagination of the playground, the same place as “jingle bells, Batman smells.” That’s how powerful he is.
7. “Taco Grande”: It contains embarrassing Spanish and a cheap joke about drinking water in Mexico, but hey, this version of “Rico Suave” is an honest ode to how I only want to eat burritos.
6. “Lasagna”: Another masterfully stupid move to sing “Lasagna” to “La Bamba.”
5. “Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch”: So true bestie.
4. “Spam”: Spam is inherently funny, and this take on “Stand” by REM features lyrics that honestly don’t sound far off from REM. You telling me Michael Stipe didn’t write “The tab is going to open the can / The can is there to hold in the Spam”?
3. “Addicted to Spuds”: Taking a song about being so horny you might die (“Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer) and making it about potatoes makes it even more accurate.
2. “Eat It”: A classic for a reason. You know a Yankovic song has succeeded when you find yourself singing his version rather than the original, and honestly this version is superior. I don’t know what “Beat It” is about. I do know that I don’t wanna hear about what kind of food you hate, so just eat it.
1. “My Bologna”: Even though the “Sharona” to “Bologna” rhyme is kind of forced, this is Yankovic at his best with food. Just profoundly silly.