Weird Al Yankovic's Lady Gaga parody saga: 'I Perform This Way'
When you hit as big as Lady Gaga has, a "Weird Al" Yankovic parody can't be far behind -- but with an act as unique as Lady Gaga involved, things got a little extra weird for Al.
"Well, this was a strange day," the satirist wrote on his blog late Wednesday. "After putting my Lady Gaga parody on YouTube this morning -- and announcing that it wouldn't be on my next album because Gaga didn't approve it –- there was a huge outpouring of disappointment from the Internet. Apparently the fact that she didn't approve it was news to Lady Gaga herself!"
Yankovic had vented earlier in the day, albeit kindly, about the "Born This Way" singer's alleged last-minute rejection of his song despite his advance submission of the concept, lyrics that poke fun at Gaga's outlandish costumes and performances, and a rough-cut recording with a due date that required him to cut short a family vacation.
"I still don't know specifically what kind of problem she has with the song (obviously I take a few jabs at her, but y'know, it's satire –- that's how it's supposed to work). And I'm especially confused as to why she waited until I actually recorded the song (at her insistence!) before saying no," he initially wrote of the Gaga saga. "It's not like there were any surprises in the finished song that she couldn't have foreseen by, you know, READING THE LYRICS."
(Though parodies fall under fair use and don't require permission to be released, Yankovic said it is his "personal policy" to get consent from the original artist before putting a parody on an album.)
But wait! Turns out, "Even though we assumed that Gaga herself was the one making the decision (because, well, that's what we were TOLD), [her manager] apparently made the decision completely on his own," Yankovic wrote later in the day. "He's sorry. And Gaga loves the song."
So all's weird that ends weird -- and all proceeds from the song and video will go to the Human Rights Campaign.
And in case you were wondering why he went the interwebs route to release the song, that's a little "personal" too.
"Given the circumstances, I have no problem with allowing people to hear it online, because I also have a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time," he wrote, including the spot-on lyrics, which go a little something like this:
My Mama told me when I was hatched
Act like a superstar
Save your allowance, buy a bubble dress
And someday you will go far
Now on red carpets
Well, I'm hard to miss
The press follows everywhere I go
I'll poke your eye out with a dress like this
Back off and enjoy the show!
I'm sure my critics will say
It's a grotesque display
Well, they can bite me, baby
I perform this way
I might be wearin' Swiss cheese
Or maybe covered with bees
It doesn't mean I'm crazy
I perform this way
"There must have been a misunderstanding because [Gaga] is in no way trying to block the release of the parody," sources close to the singer told TMZ. "She's busy touring and hasn't heard the song yet. Her manager hasn't had a chance to play it for her yet. ... She's a huge Weird Al fan."
Our friends at Pop & Hiss did float the idea that the rejection came because "Born This Way" is already a "thinly veiled" version of Madonna's hit "Express Yourself" and "would simply explode if copied one more time."
Late Wednesday ahead of Yankovic's blog update, his manager Jay Levey said permission had in fact been given for "I Perform This Way" to appear on the new album.
What do you think of "I Perform This Way" -- smashing or bashing? Watch above, and tell us in comments.
-- Nardine Saad
Photos: Weird Al Yankovic at the 2010 Grammys, right, and Lady Gaga in concert on April 18, 2011, left. It's doubly weird. Credits: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times, left; Rick Diamond / Getty Images, right.