Weird's 'Yankovic Bump' Has The Real-Life Numbers To Back It Up

The creators of "Weird," the Weird Al fake-biopic that was released last week on Roku, have been very open about the fact that they didn't do much research before writing the script. As Al Yankovic himself will tell you, his life wasn't quite "interesting enough" to "merit a Hollywood biopic," so they decided to make a movie that was completely, utterly disinterested in being accurate to his experience at all. 

There were some nuggets of truth in the film, however. A door-to-door accordion salesman actually did show up at Al's door, for one thing; it's just that Al's father didn't beat the salesman halfway to death shortly after he walked inside the home. Perhaps more noticeable is that the "Yankovic bump," which the movie makes into a major plot point, was also a real thing. Artists of the original songs truly did tend to receive a boost in record sales after Weird Al parodied their songs. 

Unfortunately no, Weird Al and Madonna were never a couple in real life, but Madonna did in fact want Al to make a parody of her song, "Like a Virgin." As Al recounted at a recent New York Comic Con panel, Madonna had "wondered aloud" to a "mutual friend" if Weird Al could make a parody song called "Like a Surgeon," which Al agreed was a good idea. (The rest is history.)

'They sold like an extra million units of Nevermind'

In an interview with Seth Meyers, Al Yankovic talked about a little about the Yankovic bump and how it influenced the movie. "I heard from Nirvana's record label that, when my parody 'Smells Like Nirvana' was released, they sold like an extra million units of 'Nevermind,'" he said. "Artists' record sales spike when the parody comes out, so we kind of took that little nugget and extrapolated it into this whole subplot about Madonna wanting that Yankovic bump!"

It turns out to be the one of the funnier storylines within the movie. Played excellently by Evan Rachel Wood, Madonna visits Al out of the blue and asks him to parody her music. Al says no — he's decided at this point that he's only going to make original songs — but at first it doesn't seem to matter: Madonna is already infatuated with him. And so begins an absurdly passionate, chaotic, increasingly toxic, entirely-fictional love-affair between the two mega-stars.

While most of the appeal of "Weird" is just how unhinged and disconnected from reality it is, it might be at its most appealing when the plot stumbles upon things that are actually sort of true. You can read /Film's review of "Weird" here, which will hopefully make you check out the movie if you haven't already. We can't recommend it enough.