NYCC 2022: Al Yankovic Phones It In For ‘Let’s Get WEIRD’ Panel

by Brendan M. Allen

I don’t know if it was just me, but I was more than a little underwhelmed by this offering. Weird Al Yanlovic wasn’t even present. They set up a screen where Al’s image was live streamed in via Zoom or whatever, but there just wasn’t the same sort of feeling as when, say, Jamie Lee Curtis walked across the same stage and took a seat. People queued up for a considerable length of time to see The Weird One, and he literally phoned it in.

The highlight of the panel was an exclusive clip of a pool party hosted by Dr. Demento, where Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al was challenged by Wolfman Jack, portrayed by Jack Black, to come up with a song parody on the spot. Other guests at the party included Andy Warhol, Divine, Peewee Herman, and several other icons of the eighties.

The cast and directors traded a few stories about their favorite times during production, and how Radcliffe’s mustache was real. The movie itself might be funny, and I guess we’ll see on November 4, when it hits the Roku channel, but this panel felt thrown together at the last minute. Adding to that feeling, the house lights came on and the panelists exited the stage at exactly the thirty minute mark. Most of the high profile panels on the Empire Stage ran 45 minutes to an hour. This one was booked from 4:00-5:00 PM, and everyone in the auditorium kind of looked around stunned for cues to see if the thing had actually ended before filing out.

The actual best part of Let’s Get WEIRD was in the moments BEFORE the actual panel started, when the stage emcee walked around passing a microphone to audience members who would sing along to favorite Weird Al tracks. It was a celebration of the camaraderie between Yankovic’s fans, and the music parodies that we all love. Then the thing started, and it was very bizarre, for the wrong reasons.

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