Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2011

“Perform This Way;” Weird Al Unleashes an Unusually Scathing Parody of Lady Gaga

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:02 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Mmm, yeah, that’s gonna leave a mark.

And his youtube page has links to other videos from his catalogue.  It’s funny how Weird Al has managed to keep his career going longer than most of the people he has parodied.

H/T: Althouse.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

39 Responses to ““Perform This Way;” Weird Al Unleashes an Unusually Scathing Parody of Lady Gaga”

  1. I seem to recall some drama from Lady Gaga’s agents over permitting Weird Al to parody her song (yeah, I know, it’s fair use, but he seemed to care).

    Regardless, Weird Al’s good at what he does. Pretty light hearted mockery. I guess this is a little harder than usual. The only time I thought the claws actually came out was the Madonna reference.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  2. weird all yankovic
    has a much better looking
    bod than he used to

    ColonelHaiku (af7ae8)

  3. Weird Al has a pretty devoted following among my kids’ generation (early to mid teens)…we saw/heard him in concert in our town 4 years ago…exceedingly entertaining…very funny…and he’s able to pull it off because he has the musical skills as well.

    RB (a07239)

  4. Weird Al needs permissions to do his parodies because he goes beyond Fair Use doctrine boundaries to do the full song parody. That and Fair Use is a defense, which you have to raise after being sued for infringement, so permission is a better insurance.

    He has been around a long time, I had friends who went to school with him at San Luis Obispo Polytech when he did his first parody song in a bathroom at SLO and sent it in to Dr. Demento.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. as long as America can still produce a Lady Gaga there is hope yet

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. That and Fair Use is a defense, which you have to raise after being sued for infringement, so permission is a better insurance.

    I’ll but that, but his tone suggested he was just trying to be a nice guy about it to some extent. Anyway, I always thought this was not going beyond fair use.

    I think the following is the standard:

    a the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    b the nature of the copyrighted work;

    c the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

    d the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

    I can see how parodying a full song could be said to be using more than a portion, but in my view it’s still using a portion. I think A and D support it being fair use. I don’t even know what B means, which I suspect undermines by credibility on this topic. :)

    Dustin (c16eca)

  7. Say What?

    AD-RtR/OS! (434c01)

  8. 7 is directed at 5.

    AD-RtR/OS! (434c01)

  9. no feet: as long as America has Weird Al, there is hope.

    Gaga is low grade cunning, Al is brilliant.

    (are we ever having that beer?)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  10. Weird Al is a national treasure!

    Rodney G. Graves (f12db5)

  11. Dustin, it is indeed the third factor that is used to limit a full song parody. The key Supreme Court case remains the 2 Live Crew parody of a Roy Orbison tune, (Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music), where the fact that not all of the original music was used was part of why the court found in favor of fair use.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. Thanks for the link. Reading the case now.

    Not that I think your summary wasn’t enough, but that’s the best thing I can think of to do with my time.

    /forever alone :(

    Dustin (c16eca)

  13. Al is really good at what he does.

    Recognizing Lady Gaga for what she does is also amusing.

    One is not alike the other, but bless the both for making a buck.

    That’s why I like capitalism.

    Ag80 (391f9a)

  14. Dustin, I’ve always found the funniest part of Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose Music to be footnote 1, where Justice Souter tells us what rap music is …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. I always thought Weird Al had a full right to use the songs.

    But maybe he was either 1) not trying to be a d-ck about it or 2) maybe avoiding even a costly lawsuit.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  16. Aaron, I don’t think the Supreme Court agrees with you.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. Last I knew, Weird Al always sought and got permission to parody each song. But that was years ago when he wasn’t necessarily a gazillionaire and his targets were. (Michael Jackson)

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

  18. As a Al-Coholic, let me clarify:

    Al has always sought permission from the artist himself or herself ever since his Coolio fiasco. He’s been denied a few times, but most artists are honored.

    In this case, Gaga’s reps said no. But Al got hold of Gaga directly, and she loved it. But there was a condition — all the profits had to go to a charity for gay rights. Al agreed, and he went ahead.

    So yeah, it’s brilliant. But it won’t “leave a mark” on Gaga — she was on board practically from the beginning.

    J.

    Jay Tea (fc6b43)


  19. And his youtube page has links to other videos from his catalogue. It’s funny how Weird Al has managed to keep his career going longer than most of the people he has parodied.

    Well, except Madonna.

    IgotBupkis, President, United Anarchist Society (c9dcd8)


  20. 7 is directed at 5.

    16 is directed at 12.

    4 is directed at 9.

    62 will be directed at 47.

    1 will be directed at 30, then at 33.

    9 will decide to direct things based on a complex Fibonacci sequence. No, not a complicated one. A *complex* one. The math types know what I mean.

    15 will turn and be directed at all the prime numbers as they appear.

    Ready?

    Aim!

    >>>>>> FIRE!!

    😀

    Smock Puppet (c9dcd8)


  21. Gaga is low grade cunning

    Yes, but is she a linguist?

    Smock Puppet (c9dcd8)

  22. SPQR

    well, you might consider the “pretty woman” case.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=16686162998040575773&q=+510+U.S.+569&hl=en&as_sdt=2,47

    no, its not a slam dunk, but I mean if 2 live crew can win the case with their thin gruel parody, Weird Al has a much better chance with this one, especially in this particular case. I think his parody was uniquely savage upon Ga-ga’s original.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  23. The relevant case is still Air Pirates, which went the wrong way. To qualify as parody, the new song would have to be a comment on the original song, not just on Gaga herself.

    Oh, and if you like Weird Al’s stuff, check out The Funny Music Project, and the world of filk music.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  24. Oh, and Bob Kanefsky. And Tom Smith, despite his evil lefty politics.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  25. Smock Puppet: Was having a bad day till I read #20. Thanks.

    Old Coot (44a3fe)

  26. as long as America has Weird Al, there is hope…Al is brilliant.

    Comment by redc1c4 — 6/20/2011 @ 8:53 pm

    He’s pure awesomeness. Used to have all his albums till I gave them away to a family with five boys whose wicked sense of humor needed them more then I did. *thank goodness for YouTube*

    IMO this song is sorta a friendly parody, but agree that it really does tweak her more than usual for Al, for being an unoriginal-attention-hound-Madonna-like character. (more Madonna refs in the video I think than any others)

    Or maybe that’s just what I think so I picked those parts out of the song. :)

    no one you know (325a59)

  27. It’s not mean. It’s a TRIBUTE. :)

    SarahW (af7312)

  28. There is a reason that I have long known than NOYK rocks the hizzie. This is just one more reason.

    I still love his old stuff: “Dare to be Stupid” and the parody of the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give it Away Now.”

    But “Amish Paradise” is beyond funny:

    Think you’re really righteous? Think you’re pure in heart?
    Well, I know I’m a million times as humble as thou art

    Artistry takes many forms.

    Simon Jester (94e08a)

  29. But “Amish Paradise” is beyond funny:

    Think you’re really righteous? Think you’re pure in heart?
    Well, I know I’m a million times as humble as thou art

    Artistry takes many forms.

    Comment by Simon Jester — 6/21/2011 @ 7:23 am

    Heh – it sure does. And he didn’t even write the funniest lyrics in that song:

    There’s no phone, no lights, no motorcar
    Not a single luxury
    Like Robinson Crusoe
    It’s as primitive as can be

    LOL

    no one you know (325a59)

  30. milhouse

    air pirates is a 9th circuit case, with cert denied. i don’t see how that is authority anywhere except in the 9th circuit.

    i think that is a very cramped reading of the concept of parody.

    on the other hand, its hard to see how doing a parody of “money for nothing” starring the beverly hillbillies would be fair use.

    (uhf is an under-appreciated classic.)

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  31. Great stuff. Which reminds me of this video about a stereotypical gay guy on YouTube. Check it out, it’s so awesome too. http://youtu.be/n95cNRL38g

    sandy (dbc778)

  32. Aaron that is the case I cited above.

    SPQR (5ac734)

  33. NOYK, if you are going to reference “Gilligan’s Isle” and Weird Al, we need to go to “Isle Thing” (a parody of Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing”).

    http://youtu.be/16cf2eN_cgQ

    (not the greatest, but it does have Weird Al’s voice).

    And, of course, the best lyrics there:

    I like the professor
    He always saves their butts
    He could build a nuclear reactor
    From a couple’ of coconuts

    She said, “That guy’s a genius”
    I shook my head and laughed
    I said, “If he’s so fly, they tell me why
    He couldn’t build a lousy raft”

    And while we’re on the subject
    I’ll tell you one thing for sure
    Those homeboys brought an awful lot
    For just a three hour tour

    Word.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  34. Someday, maybe not soon but someday, Gaga is going to get tired of dressing up in food products.
    Maybe she already is just a little.

    Giving permission to Weird Al for this particular parody is paving the way. Sort of giving herself (or more likely the recording conglomerate that invented her ridiculous on stage persona) permission to be normal.

    papertiger (e55ba0)

  35. *grin* You have heard “Canadian Idiot,” yes?

    Every geek I know loves Weird Al– even the undercover geeks, like my brother. (He’s cleverly disguised as a jock and SEAL-herder.)

    And now, I must head off to listen to “White and Nerdy” for the Nth time.

    Foxfier (153f0b)

  36. “And his youtube page has links to other videos from his catalogue. It’s funny how Weird Al has managed to keep his career going longer than most of the people he has parodied.

    Well, except Madonna.”

    Who?

    Ellie in T.O. (06f950)

  37. “all the profits had to go to a charity for gay rights”

    by Hollywood accounting (zero profits, forever) or real accounting?

    ErisGuy (f348da)

  38. 3 year old – “Lady Gaga, she’s so silly”

    JD (306f5d)

  39. “She has crazy hair”

    JD (306f5d)


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