Gettin' Weird

Everything You Need To Know About "Weird: The Al Yankovic Story"

The Weird Al biopic drops on the Roku Channel Nov. 4. Here's everything we know about the unrated musical comedy, including if it is kid-friendly.

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Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al. The full trailer for the Weird Al biopic just dropped.
The Roku Channel

If you grew up in the late ‘80s or ‘90s, there’s a good chance you’re at least familiar with Weird Al Yankovic’s catchy parodies, if not a fan yourself. He’s parodied everything from Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” (“Like A Surgeon”) to more recent tracks like Lorde’s “Royals” (“Aluminum Foil”). Now, he’s being immortalized in the biopic Weird: The Weird Al Yankovic Story, starring Daniel Radcliffe playing the accordion superstar, is set to stream for free on Roku Channel on November 4, 2022.

For parents wondering if the unrated Weird Al biopic is okay to watch with their kids, there are a few things to consider. According to reviews, the delightfully silly movie features some adult themes and profanity (along with a heavy makeout session between Weird Al and Madonna). At the end of the day, like with his live shows, it is best for parents to make a decision based on their comfortability levels. In a 2007 Q&A on his site, Weird Al talked about how he sees “every demographic in the audience at my live shows,” from toddlers to grandparents.

“And we do put on a ‘family-friendly’ show… although that doesn’t mean it’s a squeaky-clean G-rated kiddie show. You should be aware there is some cartoon violence and a little bit of what some people might call ‘adult themes.’ But there’s no harsh profanity, and nothing that I think you would find terribly offensive. As always, you should use your best judgment as a parent, but if your child wouldn’t be traumatized by, say, an issue of MAD Magazine or an episode of The Simpsons, I’m pretty sure he or she wouldn’t have any problems at all with my live show,” the singer explained. Seems to be the mindset to go into Weird: The Al Yankovic Story as well.

The trailer features everything that you’d expect from a rock ‘n’ roll biopic. The difficult childhood with a father unaccepting of his son’s musical passions. A yoda-like mentor in the form of Dr. Demento (played by Rainn Wilson). Instant success celebrated by Oprah Winfrey (played by Quinta Brunson). Risqué encounters with fellow superstars like Madonna (played by Evan Rachel Wood) and drug-fueled fights within the band catalyzed by overnight success. It looks like Walk Hard cranked up to an 11.

But here’s the thing: just like Weird Al’s music, a lot of this is a parody in itself. He had parents who purchased him his first accordion. He is famously wholesome and does not drink or used other substances. He has performed with the same band since the ‘80s. And he always asks artists for permission to parody their song, even though legally, any form of parody is considered “fair use.”

"[Biopics] are not documentaries, they're meant to be for entertainment purposes. But as a fan, I'm always upset when I watch a biopic of Queen or Elton John and I see that [things] didn't happen that way. Or the chronology is all twisted around. I thought, well, if I ever do a biopic I'm just going to have to throw facts out the window! I'm just gonna have to make it up from scratch," Weird Al said. So know that everything that happens in the movie did not actually happen to Weird Al in real life.

The film is adapted from a 2013 Funny or Die short created by Eric Appel, who also directed the upcoming Roku Channel feature. And the film is part of a promise Weird Al made to his fans over three decades ago.

“When my last movie, ‘UHF,’ came out in 1989, I made a solemn vow to my fans that I would release a major motion picture every 33 years, like clockwork. I’m very happy to say we’re on schedule,” Yankovic said in a statement when the project was first announced in January 2021.

“And I am absolutely thrilled that Daniel Radcliffe will be portraying me in the film. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the role future generations will remember him for,” Yankovic added.

The film premieres at Toronto International Film Festival September 8 and is set to be able to stream for free on the Roku Channel starting November 4, 2022.

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