As a lover of comedy, I grew up listening to Al's early work. I still consider myself a fan, even though I've hardly heard anything since "Polka Party."
I was sorry to hear about his loss. If anything I've read about him is true, and I've read a fair amount over the years, he was quite close to his folks. It must be a terrible blow, doubly so that both were lost in the same fireplace accident.
When I left college and stopped listening to popular music, I also pretty much stopped listening to Al. They go hand in hand. I'm sure there are a lot of kids listening to Al nowadays who aren't interested in the least in his early Michael Jackson parodies or his first hit, "Another One Rides the Bus." But just because I stopped keeping up with his music doesn't mean I stopped liking him as an entertainer.
Al has never been able to break out of his parody mode. Even though every album is about 50% parodies, 50% original humor songs, it's always the parodies that get the airplay, the videos, and the attention. However, there are a couple of very good originals in his repertoire. I like "Dare to be Stupid" (a minor non-parody hit) plus "You Don't Love Me Any More" and "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota." Plus, I love his reverse parodies--where the lyrics are the same, but put to a frenetic, accordion-driven polka beat. His "Hot Rocks Polka" is especially good, because it is all classic Rolling Stones songs.
If you haven't seen Al's movie, "UHF," you might check it out. The comedy is extremely broad, and not every joke strikes gold, but watch for Michael Richards in an early, Kramer-esque role. (Some people claim the role is NOT like Kramer, but sorry, it's basically Kramer with about 30 fewer IQ points. The role is especially similar to the early "Seinfeld" episodes, when Richards and the writers were still finding the character.) There are some good parodies, and a few genuine belly-laughs to be had.
Feel better soon, Al. And while I'm at it, thanks for the laughs over the years.
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