Powerful Parodies


Weird Al, master of parodies

Kevin Chiang, Photojournalist

With every movie, song, book, and video, there’s going to be a parody. Some are good, most are bad, but if you know where to look, you’re sure to find some hilarious content.


Weird Al Yankovic – You’ve got to respect the skills of a successful singer nowadays. And if that singer’s popularity is from parodying the work of other artists, he’s probably pretty good at it. Weird Al is a household name not for making his own songs, but for ever so slightly modifying the meaning of many other songs. From “Addicted to Spuds” to “Like a Surgeon” to “The Saga Begins,” each of Yankovic’s parodies has been loved and adored, attaining popularity equal to or greater than the original song. But the reason Weird Al is such a great parody producer isn’t just because he can put a few words together and sing them in a way eerily similar to the original artist. It’s because of his attention to detail. Watch “Beat It” from Michael Jackson alongside “Eat It,” or “Gangster’s Paradise,” with “Amish Paradise.” You’ll quickly see the minor details that Yankovic copied, with care.


Jimmy Fallon-Joking Bad – Millions of viewers have enjoyed the tale of Walter White, protagonist of Breaking Bad, a show about a man turning to drugs to pay for the costs for treating his cancer as well as secure his family’s financial future. Jimmy Fallon has managed to take this and spice it with humor simply by changing one plot point: instead of making and dealing meth, Jimmy Fallon makes and deals Jokes. From such a small, artful change, Fallon turns a story deep in morals and feelings into a story not as deep in morals and feelings but very deep in humor. To top it off, Fallon even dresses as Walter white, going bald and wearing a mustache-beard combo. According to the Huffington Post, this is “late night ambition at its finest.”


Ern Malley – Let’s go back a bit, back to WWII. This was when art and poetry changed from wanting other people to get what the art was saying, and turned to the personal development of the artist. Enter James McAuley and Harold Stewart, both members of the Australian military during World War II who absolutely hated what had happened to poetry. So, they decided, the best thing to do would be to pull a gigantic prank on the whole medium. They made up a fake poet, Ern Malley, had him die at a tragically young age, and created 17 poems which Mr. Malley “wrote.” Wrote is used loosely because they honestly pulled the words for their poems from whatever crap they had on hand, like a report on mosquito breeding grounds. They then mailed their horrific masterpiece to their least favorite poetry magazine, Angry Penguins. Instead of turning them down, Angry Penguins decided to publish the work of Ern Malley. Even though the hoax was revealed after a little while, and Ern Malley and his poems revealed to be complete shams, the 17 poems that the McAuley and Stewart wrote are still acclaimed examples of post-modernist literature.