“Weird Al” Yankovic‘s medley of TV theme songs with expository lyrics for Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Homeland and more nearly stole the show at the Emmys, but it could have been even bigger. The parodist told Vulture after the show that he had to cut a few numbers, including ones for Downton Abbey and True Detective, for timing. “It was like Starsky & Hutch, if Nietzsche had written it,” went a lyric that would have been part of the True Detective theme.
Meyers asked Yankovic to do the medley two-and-a-half weeks before the award ceremony. Yankovic said that the True Detective number was pulled from the medley two days before the broadcast. The Downton Abbey track didn’t make it past the first draft. And his original version of Homeland was longer.
The parodist explained that the reason he gave Game of Thrones the longest screen time was because it made for the best ending. “It’s so grandiose,” Yankovic said. “How can you not end with that, and how can you not make it big?” But despite going big on the theme song, Yankovic revealed that Game of Thrones was not a show he had seen much of, though he now intended to binge-watch it on the road.
Regarding the moment when a typewriter was given to Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin, Yankvoic said he hoped it was a surprise for the author. “I don’t think [Martin knew it was coming],” he said. “We just kind of sprung it on him.”
Overall, Yankovic’s Emmy parody targets did not totally predict Emmy winners. Only Modern Family, which received the shortest parody, won multiple trophies. Although Game of Thrones was a fan favorite this year, the show failed to win any of the Emmys it was nominated for, losing Outstanding Drama Series to Breaking Bad.
One notable parody Yankovic cut, True Detective, did happen to win the one of the five Emmys for which it was nominated, for Cary Joji Fukunaga’s direction of the episode “Who Goes There.”