In a career that spans more than 25 years, “Weird Al” Yankovic has sold more than 12 million records, won three Grammys, starred in a cult-classic film (1989’s “UHF”) and hosted his own Saturday morning kids’ show. He’s written odes to bologna and Spam, restored the accordion to its rightful place in the pantheon of ridiculous instruments and has — at various points throughout the years — rocked an Afro/mustache combo that would give even the most hirsute musicians pause.
Despite all these accomplishments, Yankovic is still lacking a milestone that has already been bestowed upon the likes of Billy Joel, Bob Marley and Britney Spears: He has no star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A dedicated cadre of Yankovic’s fans is looking to change that. Led by 31-year-old New Jerseyite David Rossi (who’s met Al “dozens of times”), the group has launched WeirdAlStar.com, an online campaign dedicated to raising the necessary funds to get Al his own sparkling spot on the Walk of Fame.
“I was out in Hollywood being interviewed for VH1 with Al for a story they were doing, and I took the opportunity to check out the attractions, the most famous of which was the Walk of Fame,” Rossi told MTV News. “I was taking a look at some of the stars on there, and I thought, ’Wait — Al is definitely on par with some of the people who have already gotten stars.’ And I decided something should be done about that.”
So Rossi sprung into action, contacting the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the organization that oversees the Walk of Fame. He learned that in addition to the standard paperwork that went along with nominating Yankovic (a form explaining his qualifications, plus a letter from Yankovic stating that if he were inducted, he would actually show up), there was also a price tag: $15,000, which, according to the HCC, is used “to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as maintenance of the Walk of Fame.”
“We didn’t want to submit the application without the money, so we decided to launch the Web site, asking ’Weird Al’ fans to donate money to the cause,” Rossi explained. “We figured that if 15,000 fans each donated $1, we’d have no problem. And fans have responded. We’ve gotten donations as large at $750, and we’re planning a benefit show for April 11 in Los Angeles.”
So far the campaign has raised more than $8,500, and Rossi said he hopes to submit Yankovic’s application in May. A committee will judge his worthiness based on “professional achievement, longevity of five years or more, contributions to the community and the guarantee that the celebrity will attend the ceremony if selected.” If it’s recommended by the committee, Yankovic’s application would then be reviewed by the HCC’s board of directors, who would put his nomination to a final vote. And if all goes according to plan (and why wouldn’t it?), Yankovic would receive his star next summer.
Though Yankovic wasn’t available for comment on the matter (he’s currently in Europe), his longtime manager, Jay Levey, told MTV News that his client was “flattered and thinks that what the fans are doing is amazing,” though he has no idea if he’ll actually make the cut — a dose of humility that made Rossi laugh.
“He’s the best-selling comedy artist of all time, so I think he should definitely make the cut,” he said. “And aside from all his professional achievements, I believe he’s given a lot to his fans. He’s a good role model for young people, and he’s got the most loyal fans because of that. There are stories of Al’s music helping people through incredibly difficult personal situations, and I’d like to think that alone would be enough to get him a star on the Walk of Fame.”