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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Weird Al’s Gaga Saga Finds a Happy Ending

In case you’ve been losing sleep over the Weird Al Yankovic-Lady Gaga feud over his parody of her song “Born this Way,” you can rest easy now. Not only is the feud over, but apparently it never happened to begin with.

The drama — written about in loving and humorous detail over on Weird Al’s blog — began when Weird Al decided he wanted to parody Gaga’s song with his own take, “Perform this Way.” Although fair use covers what he does, it seems the Weird One, out of respect for the artists whose work he parodies, always seeks their approval. And until Gaga, he’d always gotten it.

So Weird Al wrote about all it, and “leaked” the song onto YouTube, and lo, all across the Internet, Weird Al fans and Lady Gaga detractors responded in a wave of outrage over Her Gaga-ness refusing to allow Weird Al to include his parody on his album. Who the hell does Gaga think she IS? everyone seemed to want to know.

Turns out, though, that apparently it wasn’t Gaga herself who was being all demanding and unreasonable, but her manager (or so she says, who really knows but Gaga herself?) and Weird Al has now been granted permission to use the song, and will soon be recording the video that fans are frothing at the bit to see.

You couldn’t make up this kind of free publicity … right? Here’s the song on YouTube, you’ll have to wait for the real video along with everyone else. The song is pretty brilliant, but so is over 700,000 YouTube views before the album’s even ready to release.

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One Response to “Weird Al’s Gaga Saga Finds a Happy Ending”

  1. Gearald Becker says:

    Slight correction – Al *almost* always has received permission when he wants to do a parody; he’s been turned down just a few times. In those cases, however, they said so without demanding to know the lyrics first, and certainly not (like in this case) to actually hear a finished song.

    One of those cases was Michael Jackson, who said that a particular song had too much personal meaning to him. But Jackson okayed at least two other parodies, so there was obviously a good mutual understanding.

    I don’t remember exact numbers, but I think the total (including MJ) was no more than about half a dozen. I’d recommend looking on Wikipedia for more details.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon