It’s official. MANDATORY FUN enters the Billboard album chart this week at #1. Wow. WOW.
Weird Al Yankovic’s 14th album, Mandatory Fun, debuted at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard 200, selling just over 104,700 copies in the week ending July 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Thirty-one years into his career, it’s Yankovic’s first No. 1 album. It also appears to be the first No. 1 debut for a comedy album in some 54 years, since Bob Newhart’s The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart hit No. 1 in 1960.
The new album, which features parodies of songs by Iggy Azalea, Pharrell, and Robin Thicke, may be Yankovic’s last. “I hate to draw lines in the sand and say this is absolutely the last album, but it sure looks that way,” he told the Associated Press. “It’s the end of my record deal. I’ve been under contract since 1982 and I just kind of feel like especially with the kind of music that I do, the album format isn’t the best way to deliver that music… I’m going to try to jump on new hits and new trends as soon as I can (with singles) and try to be a little bit more competitive with everybody else in the world on YouTube.”
Yankovic took a vanguard approach to promoting Mandatory Fun. After label RCA informed him that it wouldn’t pay for music videos promoting the album’s tracks, Yankovic sought out partners to foot the bill for eight videos, to be released back to back on eight continuous days. Content hubs like Funny or Die, College Humor, and Nerdist, and independent producers like Jarrett Heather, paid for the production of — and, in some cases, kept ad revenue from— the videos, which rolled out from July 14 to July 21. The goal, Yankovic said, was to get people “talking about the album all week long,” and it was achieved: The eight videos racked up more than 20 million cumulative views during their first week.
Yankovic’s hit the top 10 twice before, with his 2006’s Straight Outta Lynwood and his last effort, 2011’s Alpocalypse. With Mandatory Fun, he’s got his best sales week ever since tracking began in 1991, beating Straight Outta Lynwood, which sold 73,000 copies in its debut week.
4. Yankovic expressed surprise at the victory and thanked fans on Twitter:
A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Yankovic’s 2011 album.