For more than 25 years, “Weird Al” Yankovic has been an artist in search of respect.
Despite selling millions of records, winning three Grammys and starring in a feature film, the mainstream has never truly given him kudos. Of course, the way he chooses to ply his trade — penning sophomoric parodies of pop hits, breaking out the occasional accordion solo — probably has something to do with this.
So when news broke over the weekend that Al had been denied a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame despite an impassioned campaign led by his most devoted fans (see ” ‘Weird Al’ Fans Tired Of People Not Walking All Over Him” ), it probably wasn’t a big surprise to the entertainment industry as a whole.
The same could not be said, however, for those close to Yankovic.
“I was disappointed that they overlooked him this year, because there’s no doubt he deserves a star,” David Rossi, the founder of WeirdAlStar.com, the site dedicated to the cause, told MTV News. “I’m not really sure why he was passed over, to be honest. I mean, Al is the top-selling comedy musician of all time. And I think that in general, people don’t take him as seriously as they should. They see him as sort of a joke.”
Late last month, boosted by a benefit concert featuring a host of “Weird Al” tribute acts, WeirdAlStar.com finally raised the $15,000 application fee necessary for Yankovic to be considered for a star. Rossi sent the paperwork to a special committee at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to decide Al’s fate.
But after approximately a month of debate, the Chamber instead bestowed the honor upon a list of Yankovic’s competitors that includes Diddy, Mariah Carey, the Doors and Shania Twain.
“He did have some tough competition in his category, and I’m hoping that it had more to do with that than anything,” Rossi said. “I don’t know a lot about country music, or hip-hop and R&B, but I think those people are the tops in their class, and I think Al is the top of his class. I certainly congratulate all the musicians who will be getting their stars, and I hope Al will be joining them next year.”
“Next year” appears to be the rallying cry for the Yankovic faithful. His application will automatically roll over to 2007, when the committee will once again consider his worthiness. And with a DVD coming out in August and a new album tentatively slotted for release later this year, Rossi thinks that there will be plenty more to add to Yankovic’s résumé.
“We will send them an update in early 2007, just to keep them aware of all that Al’s accomplished. The hard part on our side was raising the money, and now it’s out of our hands,” Rossi said. “We can’t petition the committee, and we have to let Al’s merits stand on their own. Hopefully the committee will notice them.”
At press time, calls to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce had not been returned, and Yankovic’s manager, Jay Levey, said his client was unavailable for comment.