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'Weird Al' Yankovic On The Influence Of 'Mad' Magazine

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is time for Alfred E. Neuman to start worrying. We learned yesterday that Mad Magazine will essentially stop producing new material after this fall. That will end 67 years of creating some of the most memorable humor in American history, from bizarre movie send-ups to scathing political commentary.

NOEL KING, HOST:

One of the people in mourning is Weird Al Yankovic, the king of song parodies.

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: It was the first thing I was obsessed by in my adolescence. And it led me to other things like Monty Python and Spike Jones and Tom Lehrer or Stan Freberg, Frank Zappa, things like that. But Mad Magazine was there first to make me weird.

KING: The first to make him weird. He's been a big supporter of Mad over the years. In fact, he was Mad's first guest editor back in 2015.

INSKEEP: And he says that when he was growing up back in the 1960s and '70s, the humor in those pages changed his world.

YANKOVIC: By reading Mad, you learned to be cynical about the media and distrusting of authority figures and skeptical of just about everything, which is an important tool to have in your belt as you approach adulthood.

INSKEEP: Weird Al Yankovic was not alone because everyone from the late film critic Roger Ebert to the filmmaker George Lucas to some of the creative forces behind "Saturday Night Live" and "National Lampoon" were Mad Magazine fans growing up.

YANKOVIC: Mad Magazine influenced an entire generation. I mean, if you look at a lot of movies and TV shows of the last 30, 40 years, I mean, those are written and produced and directed by people that were weaned on Mad Magazine. So Mad's cultural influence is beyond description.

KING: Weird Al tweeted yesterday, goodbye to one of the all-time greatest American institutions. Mad will keep publishing hard copies until the end of the year. They'll have mostly greatest hits material, but the magazine is no longer going to be found on newsstands.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA")

YANKOVIC: (Singing) Now I'm mumbling... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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