|“This is a story about a guy named Al,
And he lived in the sewer with his hamster pal,
But the sanitation workers really didn't approve,
So he packed up his accordion and had to move…”
Th comic stylings of “Weird Al" Yankovic came to Saturday morning for a brief run in 1997. The frizzle-haired musician was best known for song parodies like “Fat” (to Michael Jackson’s “Bad”), “Smells Like Nirvana” (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”) and “Eat It” (“Beat It”), along with their accompanying videos. Al had been appearing on the small screen for over a decade, and since youngsters made up such a large portion of Al’s fan base, Saturday morning seemed like the next logical step.
The Weird Al Show, like CBS’ earlier Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, was set in the star’s wacky "home," featured short films and cartoons, and had a large cast of recurring characters. Al’s co-host was Harvey the Wonder Hamster, a real hamster who once wrestled “Macho Man” Randy Savage into submission. The host and his rodent lived in a secret cave workshop, but they somehow managed to get visits from Bobby the Inquisitive Boy, next-door neighbor The Hooded Avenger, and Val Brentwood, Gal Spy, among others. Celebrity guests also stopped by, including Drew Carey, Dr. Demento, Fabio, Dick Clark, Alex Trebek, musical group Hanson and Dick Van Patten dancing in a pink tutu.
To keep the kids at home entertained, Al showed home movies and cartoons, the most famous of which starred Al’s chubby alter ego, “Fatman.” The host also flipped through the channels on his own “Al TV” set, checking out the competition. Uncle Ralphie had a kids’ show of his own, and one memorable episode had Al and Ralphie trying to sabotage each other’s shows in order to win the “Best TV Show Host of the Year Award” (a third entrant, Fred Huggins, won because he played fair).
As wacky as The Weird Al Show was, new federal regulations required that the program also contain positive educational messages. Al obliged, doling out lessons on self-respect and good behavior, but he was clearly more in his element giving less preachy advice, like, “If you find a spider on your shirt, roll, roll on the ground. Spiders are icky,” and, “If you lose a pants leg, call home right away so your friends won't beat you up for looking like a dork.”
Unfortunately, CBS decided to scrap its entire Saturday morning schedule in 1998 and air a new all-cartoon lineup. Only 13 episodes of The Weird Al Show were produced, and Al returned to his still-successful recording career.