30 Things You Should Know About “Weird Al” Yankovic’s ‘Dare to Be Stupid’
1. ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ is Al’s third album in a row produced by Rick Derringer
Yes, Rick Derringer the guitarist and producer, formerly of The McCoys (“Hang On Sloopy”).
2. ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ was “the first album of funny music ever released on compact disc”
According to Dr. Demento’s liner notes in the 1994 box set Permanent Record: Al in the Box
3. The first song released from the album was “This is the Life”
The theme song to the Roaring Twenties gangster comedy Johnny Dangerously was recorded before the Dare to Be Stupid sessions and made its LP debut on that album.
4. “Yoda” is the oldest song on the album
“Yoda” is a parody of The Kinks’ “Lola.” An early version was played on The Dr. Demento Show in 1980, the same year The Empire Strikes Back was released.
5. “Yoda” almost wasn’t released
The publishers of “Lola” had initially turned down the release of “Yoda,” but a chance meeting between Al and songwriter Ray Davies revealed that Davies had never even been asked if Al could record the song! (Reportedly, Davies has still not heard the song.)
6. Al’s band invented a chant for “Yoda”
Often, when performing “Yoda” in concert, Al and his band perform an acapella medley of funny songs in close harmony. On the Mandatory World Tour in 2015, the guys stopped by Jack White’s Third Man Records studio in Nashville to record a version of the chant in a “Voice-O-Graph” booth.
7. Madonna came up with the idea for “Like a Surgeon”
It is Al’s only parody song based on a suggestion — by Madonna herself. She joked about the idea to a friend, who was also friends with Al’s manager.
8. The Madonna lookalike in the “Like a Surgeon” video was the winner of a lookalike contest
9. The “Like a Surgeon” video was shot in a real hospital that had recently gone out of business
A few extras were scared off by the lion roaming the halls during takes!
10. Huey Lewis got “revenge” on Al for “I Want a New Duck”
Almost 30 years after Al parodied Huey Lewis & The News’ “I Want a New Drug,” Huey and Al teamed up for an American Psycho-themed video for Funny or Die in 2013.
11. Al studied hard to write the right lyrics to “I Want a New Duck”
“To get the right terminology for the song, I went to the library and read up on ducks for a week!” — Al
12. Al played a theremin on the original song “Slime Creatures from Outer Space”
The Theremin is an eerie electronic instrument often heard on the ‘50s sci-fi soundtracks “Slime Creatures” parodies (as well as The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”).
13. The heartbreak on “One More Minute” was real
The heartbreaking doo-wop ballad was inspired by a real breakup Al experienced during the recording of Dare to Be Stupid.
14. Al tore up a picture of his ex in the music video for “One More Minute”
Even Taylor Swift’s never done that!
15. The epic title track from ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ expertly parodies the frenetic style of legendary New Wave band Devo
16. The computer Al sings in front of in the “Dare to Be Stupid” video is The Interociter
This fictitious device first appeared in the 1955 science fiction film This Island Earth.
17. Devo’s lead singer, Mark Mothersbaugh, loved “Dare to Be Stupid”!
“I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else and, umm…I hate him for it, basically.” — Mark Mothersbaugh in an episode of Behind the Music
18. “Dare to Be Stupid” is a favorite of Transformers fans
Scotti Brothers, Al’s record label, included the song on the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. In the film, the song represents the pop culture-savvy Junkions, from the planet Junk.
19. Junkion leader Wreck-Gar was later modeled after Al’s appearance
Al returned to the world of Transformers in 2007 by voicing the Junkion leader Wreck-Gar. The Autobot once introduced himself with the line “I am Wreck-Gar! I dare to be stupid!”
20. Al played with Mr. Potato Head even after the “Dare to Be Stupid” video ended
Years later a troupe of dancing, life-size Potato Head models shimmied to “Addicted to Spuds,” a parody of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” in Al’s live show.
21. ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ features the only faithful cover song Al has ever recorded
It’s a version of the theme song from the cartoon George of the Jungle.
22. Prince didn’t grant Al permission to do a parody of “When Doves Cry”
Prince was “approached every few years [to] see if he’s lightened up,” but never budged.
23. A tour rider’s request for “one garish Hawaiian shirt” turned into Al’s signature look
This all happened during Al’s 70-city “Stupid Tour,” his biggest tour of the 1980s.
24. Al is a major Vans collector
Al began amassing pairs of the famous skate shoe during the Stupid Tour.
25. Al became The Boss for a ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ tour poster
This poster from the “Stupid Tour” expertly sends up a classic photo of Bruce Springsteen from the Born to Run photo shoot.
26. “Weird Al” made his first appearance on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ in 1985
More than a decade later, Carson’s Burbank soundstage would be the home for the cult-classic children’s program, The Weird Al Show.
27. Al’s favorite number is 27
You’ll find it hidden in his work such as on the counter in the video for “This is the Life.”
28. ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ brought back AL-TV
For the third time Al hosted a four-hour takeover of MTV featuring hilarious commentary and fake interviews conducted by Al.
29. Al made his own movie after ‘Dare to Be Stupid’
1985 saw the release of an official “mockumentary,” The Compleat Al, directed by Al’s manager Jay Levey and Robert K. Weiss (a producer on The Blues Brothers and The Naked Gun series).
30. Al also released a book… good luck finding it
The Authorized Al covers similar ground to The Compleat Al in paper form. It has never been reprinted, and is a highly sought after collector’s item among fans.