The Richmond Register

October 11, 2013

Richmond survives, even delights in the ‘Alpocalypse’

By Bill Robinson
Register Editor

RICHMOND — There’s civil war in Syria, not far from the Valley of Megiddo, and chemical weapons have been used against civilians. The Iranians are feared to be developing nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. The North Koreans already have both. The atmosphere is warming, seas are rising and storms are getting more destructive.

The Apocalypse is upon us!

No. Wait!

That isn’t the Antichrist. It’s Weird Al in a bad suit playing an accordion.

And those other guys aren’t horsemen named War, Famine, Pestilence and Disease. They’re Al’s drum, guitar and keyboard accompanists.

The “Alpocalypse” came to Richmond on Thursday night. It got here later than just about anywhere else, just as Mark Twain predicted.

But the wait only heightened the pleasure for the EKU Center for the Arts audience. If this is the end of the world, then it’s going out with a bang, not a whimper.

To be frank, only the tour’s name is a parody. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s performance was all about Al and his parodies of pop songs and celebrities. The tour name was inspired by the hype surrounding fears the world would end when the last Mayan calendar ran out on Dec. 22, 2012.

However, I may have been the only person in the audience weird enough to notice.

Everybody else was too busy enjoying the Weird Al experience.

His antics and his attire are as hilarious as his music.

For Weird Al to embark on a parody of the apocalypse can be seen as gallows humor. But if the end is really near, why not go out laughing. The only pain you’ll feel is the ache in your sides from laughing so hard.

Weird Al has more costumes than David Cassidy in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” My favorite Tuesday night was the tiger-patterned suit with optic-orange stripes.

Al delighted the crowd at times by wandering through the audience and cozying up to women like a Las Vegas love god.

There’s no need to wonder about what happened to the weird, gangly kid who played the accordion that you remember from your childhood. Everybody may have made fun of him, but the joke is on them.

“Weird Al” Yankovic has been one of the most enduringly popular entertainers still in show business.

You may think that parody or comedy are easy because they look easy. But that only indicates you’ve never tried it.

Weird Al makes it look easy because he is enormously talented, probably far more talented than those he parodies.

I think he could have made it as a conventional entertainer, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun for him – and his cult-like following. (Don’t worry. Weird Al is one cult leader who won’t ask you to drink the wrong kind of Kool-aid.)

Why settle for being just one entertainer when the multiple manifestations of Al can be endless.

Weird Al seems to have more personalities than Eve and Sybil combined.

He parodies everybody from Lawrence Welk and Michael Jackson to Madonna and Lady Gaga Spears. Tuesday night he ended one of his sets in a cloud of bubbles. (I suspect only the old audience members like me knew what the bubbles have in common with the accordion.)

I’ll admit that I’m not hip enough to be familiar with the music that Al parodies these days.

I still can’t get “My Bologna,” “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon” and “I Lost on Jeopardy” out of my head. For many in the Tuesday night audience, their parents didn’t even know each other when those were first popular.

Some entertainers refuse Yankovic permission to parody their work. But they are the only ones too insecure to admit that he’s more talented and to be parodied by Weird Al is the ultimate form of flattery.

Although he’s thoroughly Californian, Weird Al has some Kentucky roots. According to wikipedia.org, his mother moved from Kentucky to California where she met her husband.

Now that we’ve survived the “Alpocalypse,” facing the Apocalypse should be a piece of cake.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com

or at 624-6690.