This past week, I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with the legendary “Weird Al” Yankovic at the Disney studios here in Los Angeles. Al is voicing the character of Milo Murphy, an accident- and adventure-prone middle school boy in Disney XD’s new animated show Milo Murphy’s Law, the new series from the creators of Phineas and Ferb, Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.
I was nervous to interview Al; he is a huge comedic hero to so many. After four decades, he continues to inspire fans with his razor-sharp sartorial wit and humor. Could I keep up with him? Would I remember all the many questions?
He was as delightful as you would imagine and we had a great conversation which included some crowd-sourced questions from our geek community.
Here are the questions and answers we went through in our six minutes together.
I started off congratulating Al on all his recent success. He just wrapped up his Mandatory World Tour at Radio City Music Hall. Al also is an award-winning author of two best-selling children’s books, When I Grow Up! and My New Teacher and Me!
GeekMom: Tell us about Milo Murphy and what appealed to you about going back to middle school?
Al Yankovic: Well, my middle school experience was horrible. My own daughter is in middle school right now. She’s thirteen and she is having a better time of it, which I’m thankful for because I just remember seventh grade was, like, the worst year of my life. Which is why I can feel good about a character like Milo because horrible things happen to him constantly–that’s his character description, everywhere he goes Murphy’s Law’s in full effect. He is not glum about it; he’s a real positive kid. Every catastrophe is a challenge, it is a new experience, an adventure–which I love about Milo. I wish I was more like that when I was his age, and I think anybody can learn from that kind of like positive spirit.
GM: I know you have done animated voice-overs for Wander Over Yonder and recently Gravity Falls. Do you like voice performing? Is it the same kind of the joy that you get from being on stage and performing?
AY: It’s different, certainly, but I dearly love voice acting. It is one of my favorite parts of my job description. It is very low pressure and low stress. The thing about being on stage is it is a big adrenaline rush. At the same time, big shows like the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall… I’m just hoping I am doing okay, you know? There’s always potential disaster. Voice acting, you have your lines and you do it again; you do not worry about forgetting things because it is right there in front of you. So yeah, you know, I love those sessions. You just go and have fun and everybody laughs and has a great time and then it is over before you know it.
GM: …and you can wear sweatpants!
AY: *laughs* And you don’t have to shave and shower for weeks!
GM: I have some crowd-sourced quick questions, but first one from my five-year-old. She really loves Star Wars: The Force Awakens and she wanted me to ask you (since I just showed her the other Star Wars parodies that you have done) if you are going to do a new Star Wars parody .
AY: You know, I’ve gotten asked that–a lot, in fact. I was just at the Star Wars offices up north and that they asked me that as well. You know, it was something that I had in the back of my mind. In fact, I made a joke about it. Like, I said I’ll I do a Star Wars parody pretty much every twenty years like clockwork and “Oh it’s almost that time again.” The thing is, I thought about it practically and, you know, I’ve got two Star Wars songs which are big fan favorites. “Yoda” and “The Saga Begins” and they are so popular that I play them every concert as the encore. I figure they are so well loved a third Star Wars song either would be a big flop, which is not a good thing, or would be a big hit which means I have three Star Wars long as I have to play and then it becomes, like, “The Star Wars Show.”
GM: Maybe there’s a way to work it into it a musical episode on Milo Murphy, and the pressure to do it on stage would be off.
GM: Okay so here are some crowd-sourced questions: Why does the number 27 come up so much in your music?
AY: That was something that came up naturally. Years ago, I don’t know why, but the number 27 I thought was sort of a funny-sounding number and maybe it was at the exact right number of syllables on the right kind of meter, and I use the number maybe twice and then people are like “Oh, this means something–What’s the significance?” and it develops into a little cult-like thing. So I started fanning the flames and “Oh you like that? Here’s a 27 over here, over, and here–okay, over there!” Then it becomes, like, sort of like an in-joke, like a private little wink to the hardcore fans.
GM: Ok, we have another one. This is a question that many fans asked me: Will there be a UHF sequel?
AY: Again, you know, I appreciate the fandom and the love for UHF. I would love to do another movie, but I am not a big fan of a lot of comedy sequels. I kind of feel like, you know, people have a lot of nostalgic affection for UHF and I just kind of want to let it live in its own area in its own time and not, like, cash in and go “Oh and here’s UHF 2016.” You know? Oh, I can certainly do another movie. I would love to do a movie that has that same kind of comedic sensibility. There’s no real point to rehashing something that I did 30 years ago. You know, most major studios don’t want to do sequels to movies that bombed at the box office. UHF has gone on to become a cult favorite, but it’s not the kind of movie where, like, Hollywood is like throwing money at me going “Please make a sequel to this!”
GM: Ok, last question. What beloved Disney song–since now we’re involved–would you like to parody?
AY: You know, I almost did a parody of “Let it Go,” which would have been fun. I love Bobby Lopez; he is a great guy and they probably would not let me do what I’m guessing. I found out that somebody else had the exact same idea that I had–which was a Star Trek parody called “Make it So.” In fact, I think Disney probably sued them so they just took it off the internet. I was like, okay, well if it was that popular I better just leave it alone.
GM: Thank you so much for your time. We’re really excited about Milo Murphy and we are all behind you at here at GeekMom and GeekDad and the geek community.
AY: I appreciate that. Thanks so much. Thank you!
The last thing I ask was if I could get a picture with him. He was so generous and we chatted for just a few seconds about who we are at GeekMom.
Thank you to our friends at Disney for this amazing opportunity. Catch Milo Murphy’s Law episodes starting Monday, October 3rd!
Next up, I interview Milo Murphy’s Law creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh.