This morning, social media followers of “Weird Al” Yankovic got the news that many of them have been waiting 30 years to hear: his new album “Mandatory Fun” was No. 1.
That’s right — for the first time in a career that spans close to 35 years, Yankovic has a number one album on the Billboard 200 chart. “Mandatory Fun,” which was released on July 15, outsold Jason Mraz’ “Yes” to claim the top spot, selling 104,000 copies this week. It’s the first comedy album to top the chart since Allan Sherman’s “My Son, The Nut” way back in 1963. Mraz came in at No. 2, with Rise Against’s “The Black Market” No. 3, Kidz Bop Kids’ “Kidz Bop 26” at No. 4 and the “Frozen” soundtrack at No. 5.
It’s official. MANDATORY FUN enters the Billboard album chart this week at #1. Wow. WOW.
– Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) July 23, 2014
In a sign that Al “gets” the internet more than his musical contemporaries do, he supported the release by issuing one new video per day for eight days, with the help of co-producers like Funny or Die and CollegeHumor.com. Most of the videos went viral, especially “Tacky,” a take-off on Pharrell’s earworm “Happy,” and “Word Crimes,” a grammatical take on “Blurred Lines” that had copy editors everywhere euphoric that they were finally in the spotlight. A relentless interview schedule also helped boost the album.
If this is indeed Al’s last album, as he has indicated — mainly because he prefers the speed of online distribution — it’s a heck of a way to go out. Maybe Justin Beiber can take some lessons from Al.