‘Weird Al’ Yankovic on Parodying ‘Star Wars,’ Joining ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’
“Weird Al” Yankovic played about 100 concerts last year in support of Mandatory Fun — the first Number One album of his career — but it turns out that was just the warmup. He just announced an additional 78 shows that will keep him on the road steadily from early June all the way through late September, a pace that would make even road warriors Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson gulp. Instead of resting up, he’s spending his time right now working as the new co-host/bandleader on Comedy Bang! Bang! He somehow found time to call into Rolling Stone for a chat.
What drives you to do these long tours?
You kind of have to take advantage of the heat. Mandatory Fun was my biggest album, and it behooves me to tour as much as I can behind it. I’ve learned from experience that after two years, we see diminishing returns. If I went back for a third year, people would go, “Haven’t we seen this already?” But two years feels about right. As long as people want to see the show, I want to provide it for them.
They are long long tours. It is a big stretch and it does kind of wear and tear on everybody, but we’re still having a blast. The crowds are great. We’re selling out virtually everywhere. It keeps the adrenaline going every night.
Will the show be similar to the one last year?
It’s the same tour. It’s probably going to be the very same set list. We might change some of the film bits around to update it a bit, but it is a continuation of the Mandatory Tour. People should not be expecting anything radically different.
It’s always bittersweet whenever I announce the tour dates. People are always like, “How come you’re not playing Denver on this tour?” “Well, we played Denver twice on this tour. It was last year. It’s the same tour.” “And how come I don’t see Australia on the list?” “That’s because I was there last month.” People don’t seem to understand that I can’t be everywhere at all times.
What occupies your day on tour when you’re not onstage?
I basically take it as easy as I possibly can because when I’m doing a four- or five-month tour, the last thing you wanna do is wear yourself out or lose your voice. I lead a fairly monk-like existence. I spend most of my waking hours surfing the Internet or watching satellite TV or reading a book, resting my voice and taking it very easy. I don’t generally go out sightseeing. I made an exception when we played Europe last year because I figured, “How often do I get a chance to go out and see what Belgium is like?” But more often than not, it’s me just keeping to myself and keeping an extremely low profile.