Weird Al and Mailbox Money
I just received an email asking me about Weird Al and what happens with the royalties from "I lost On Jeopardy," Weird Al's parody of my song "Jeopardy." It's an interesting situation.
First of all, before anybody can do a parody of your song for commercial profit, they have to obtain permission from the author. So, when Weird Al called me one day and asked if he could do a parody of "Jeopardy," of course I said yes. I was flattered. It's nice to be parodied, it means you're popular enough to make fun of, which is a good thing. The songwriting royalties are then split between the new and old versions.
So, to make a long story short, I get half the royalties from that parody. God bless Weird Al! What a champ! I still get mailbox money from that song to this day. Plus it was on Weird Al's Greatest Hits which went platinum! Yikes! I asked Al if anyone had ever turned him down and he said yes, Prince had turned him down when he wanted to do a parody of "Purple Rain." I guess Prince took himself very seriously at that time. I had no such problem. I was happy to receive the money.
Here's a footnote about Weird Al- he's a really nice guy and very pleasant to work with. He told me a few Michael Jackson stories that I can't tell you here (maybe later.) After the song came out and was a hit (again) I was asked to be in the video. So, I flew down to L.A. and spent a fun day shooting the video with Al and I got to meet Don Pardo! I made a cameo appearance at the end, which was a further parody of the "Jeopardy" video, where I get tossed into an old MG and drive away. Cool! I have nothing but good memories of Weird Al.
So, if you ever have a hit record and Weird Al or anybody else wants to do a parody of it- say yes!