He may be a fixture of family entertainment, but it’s worth remembering that “Weird Al” Yankovic has always been a staple in the alternative comedy community, lending cameos to shows like Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!.
It’s with this in mind that Sam Campbell, the Sydney-via-Brisbane comic who’s normally a part of sketch troupe Skills In Time, makes for a solid opener. Although some attendees are at first hostile, loudly groaning at some of his intentionally-clumsy jokes, most quickly come around to his various ticks and peculiar stage presence. His grand finale — a three-person interpretive-dance play entitled “Skidoosh!” — has a slew of the crowd in stitches.
As entertaining as that all ends up being, however, it’s no secret who two thousand-odd people have lined up all the way down the block to see. Sauntering in from stage right after beginning with Tacky, the Weird one joins his band on stage to the biggest roar a crowd of dorks, geeks and nerds can muster — not to mention some of their children.
It’s a particularly diverse crowd in attendance, truly stretching the boundaries of an ‘all-ages’ show. The old-school die-hards pop loudest for Dare to Be Stupid, Smells Like Nirvana and Fat — the latter even has the crowd yelling along with the cut-scene from the music video.
The younger attendees, on the other hand, are here to see the hits of their generation get turned on their head — a myriad of them fly by in Yankovic’s most recent polka medley, Now That’s What I Call Polka!, while Foil (Royals) and Word Crimes (Blurred Lines) both get the full production treatment to some of the biggest cheers of the evening.
The career-spanning setlist choices — with some key medleys thrown in to get through as many hits as possible — reflect just what a huge part of pop culture Yankovic has had in his 30-plus years of service. He’s still putting on a world-class entertainment spectacle, still filling out theatres all over the place and making sure that we pop music lovers and culture consumers never forget to laugh at ourselves.
It may have been the Mandatory Fun tour, but the kind the crowd partakes in tonight comes across as completely voluntary.
“Weird Al” Yankovic performs in Melbourne tonight, before heading to Adelaide and WA’s Southbound Festival.
Gallery: “Weird Al” Yankovic – Enmore Theatre, Sydney 02.01.16 / Photos: Ashley Mar