Lady Gaga says no to Weird Al Yankovic regarding 'Born This Way' parody [updated]
According to a detailed post on Weird Al Yankovic's blog, Lady Gaga denied permission for the longtime parodist to satirize her song "Born This Way." As he explains in a kindly but exasperated tone, Yankovic jumped through a series of hoops to please the doyenne of feel-good anthems, sending her the concept first, then the lyrics, then a complete version of his song, which he hastily recorded while cutting his family vacation short (insert sad trombones here), none of which satisfied the Monster Mama.
Titled "I Perform This Way," Weird Al's take on the hit song was basically to tease Gaga about all of her outlandish stage and red-carpet outfits. He even planned to carry through her humanitarian mission by donating all sales from the video and song to the Human Rights Campaign.
Technically, as Yankovic outlines on his blog, he doesn't need permission from Lady Gaga to make the song -- his parodies have always fallen under "fair use" in the courts. But Yankovic is a gentleman, despite what his facial-hair choices in the '80s might lead us to believe. It's been his personal policy to get permission from the artist before including any parody on his album, so although he's sticking to his policy by leaving the song off, he's also going rogue by releasing "I Perform This Way" on the Web, which is how 90% of us would've heard it anyway. (Do you own a Weird Al album?)
The video helpfully includes the lyrics, which, by all standards, are pretty tame and silly, completely in keeping with Yankovic's lighthearted style. In fact, his rip on "Bad" probably had more fang than this, so it's understandable why Yankovic is mystified about what possibly could have offended Gaga, or at least made her uncomfortable. Perhaps she feared that the song, itself a thinly veiled copy of Madonna's "Express Yourself," would simply explode if copied one more time? Who knows, but it appears that Yankovic and Lady Gaga won't be shopping for meat dresses together anytime soon.
[Updated, 5:16 p.m. Hallelujah! Weird Al has now posted to his blog that Lady Gaga herself has given permission for him to fly far and wide with "I Perform This Way." Turns out her manager was the one who nixed the song, without even sending it to Gaga herself. Now that Yankovic's parody has been freed from oppression, he can set his sights on other game. According to a chat that the New York Times had with the accordion-playing jokester earlier Wednesday, he's thinking about going after Kanye West. Oh, heavens. West, no matter what, just say yes. Trust us on this one.]
-- Margaret Wappler
Photos: Lady Gaga rocks her skeleton hand in Georgia earlier this month. Credit: Rick Diamond / Getty Images. Weird Al Yankovic at the Grammys in 2010. Credit: Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times