I was surprised to see this article at Salon about Dr. Demento going off the air, not because I’m surprised that Dr. Demento is retiring so much as I was unaware that he was still on the air. I’m linking it for only one real reason, to offer my kudos to the author of the article Sam Adams for his choice of a Weird Al Yankovic song to highlight in the slideshow. Weird Al is mostly known for his parody songs—which I confess I never found very funny, since these songs were just goofy instead of pointed in their humor—but he did do one song that I find kind of amazing. Of course, it helps that it’s not a parody but a homage to my favorite band Devo. In case the way the song was written and the lyrics that borrow heavily from the concept of de-evolution don’t signal that “Dare To Be Stupid” is a Devo homage, the video is just a basically reworking the Devo aesthetic, complete with break dancing and cowboy references. But it’s a good song! Here’s Weird Al doing it in concert.
Since he mostly does parodies, it might seem he’s parodying Devo. But that’s not really it. It’s more worshipful than that.
I didn’t listen to Dr. Demento’s show ever growing up, but I can say that I did occasionally tune in when I was an adult and I had a job that often required me to go to work on Saturday mornings. For the 15 minute drive, I often found it interesting to take a peek into the world of people who actually care about novelty songs, which seems to be a really odd hobby to me. Not judging. Just find it kind of an odd thing to be in to. One particular day, I wasn’t in a very good mood, and this song came on and it cheered me up immensely.
I think there’s something way funnier about parodying leftist folk music than there is than just changing the words to pop songs to make them goofier, but that’s just me. Anyway, I want to thank Dr. Demento for making my day all those years ago.