No one knows comedy songs like “Weird” Al Yankovic. From Amish Paradise to Fat and Eat It, Yankovik has riffed off just about everybody—sometimes to their chagrin. And, at Fast Company, he’s offering to teach you how to do what he does best: parody.
According to “Weird” Al, here are The Rules:
1. Listeners shouldn’t need to know the original
It’s got to be funny, whether or not the listener is familiar at all with the source material.
2. Poke in the ribs, don’t punch in the face
The spirit in which a music parody should be created is a personal choice—many parodists and satirists go for the jugular, but I’ve always gone for humor that was a little less biting and derogatory.
3. Pick a big hit, but also pick a big concept
So the best advice I can give is, pick a concept where you feel you can maintain humor through the entire length of the song.
4. It’s much easier to parody a song than a whole genre
With a straight parody, you don’t have to write the music or produce a demo—it’s already done for you.
5. Start with the title and make the lyrics fit like a puzzle
After hearing Chamillionaire’s hit on the radio for the thousandth time, I figured I should try to do something with it. I made a long list of song titles that were puns on “Ridin’ Dirty,” and “White & Nerdy” just kind of jumped out at me–it was basically my life story.
Here’s that song for your enjoyment and, perhaps, inspiration:
So go forth and parody, my friends.
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