Bernstein: This Performer Must Play Super Bowl 2013

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) It’s rare that a cause inspires me to add my name to an online petition.

And by rare, I mean that it’s never occurred, as far as I can remember. Saving whales, stopping land mines, saving Wales, re-routing an oil pipeline, SOPA/PIPA, ozone depletion or whatever, I have never been sufficiently motivated to act, even if it’s just keystrokes and a mouse-click.

Then, I became aware of this.

I made my support official, and you should, too.

Weird Al Yankovic must play halftime of the next Super Bowl. This has to happen.

I speak for everyone tired of the whole bit – whether the post-Nipplegate parade of dessicated geezers halfheartedly belting out long-dead warhorses over pathetically-obvious backing tracks, or the post-post-Nipplegate reintroduction of sanitized party acts, whose songs are already used in half of that year’s commercials.

The idea of the musical halftime show has jumped the shark, jumped up and down on the shark, backed over the shark, and hacked the shark into chum. Even if a given year’s performance seems fleetingly satisfactory (like the most recent did, to me), it’s only as compared to others of its kind. In larger context, really, it’s over. So let’s at least use the platform to make fun of it.

I speak for dorks of the 1980s, who waited all week for the Sunday night broadcast of “Dr. Demento,” and tried to remember to flip the cassette in the boombox so as not to miss recording a song, at least during Funny Five time.

And I speak for what’s just plain right.

The man has three Grammy Awards among nine nominations for lampooning exactly the type of singers and bands that have become so stale. The biggest names have made the choicest targets: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Queen, The Kinks, Dire Straits, Green Day, Usher, R Kelly and more. Time to do a Super Bowl halftime show that goes beyond the usual earnestness, blasts right past the next step of winking self-awareness, and explodes into full-blown parody of music and culture.

Roger Goodell and the NFL have long been concerned with pleasing as large an audience as possible, while alienating few. They have tried recently to again balance safe with edgy, black with white, and old with new. They also want to be newsworthy.

In Noise Magazine, Yankovic described his concert performance as “a rock and comedy multimedia extravaganza.” He told Yahoo that his regular crowd ranges “from toddlers to geriatrics.” Good enough, Roger?

Perhaps there would be concern about the interest from the international TV audience, which is understandable, but baseless. First of all, any country not wanting to watch Weird Al is clearly in desperate, immediate need of Weird Al.

I’m looking at you, Syria. You too, Myanmar. And Venezuela, for sure.

Second, he has performed extensively in Australia and Canada, and has done shows in England, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The multinational presence is there.

I know our effort faces long odds, but that’s no reason not to try. The uphill fight will only make the taste of victory that much sweeter when Weird Al takes the stage in the Superdome on February 3rd, ready to do his best Springsteen stage-slide, mock Madonna’s choreographically-literal grandstanding, or show off his Moves Like Jagger that kill two groups with one bit.

In a perfect world, we could get guest cameos from an 83-year-old Tom Lehrer doing “National Brotherhood Week” and Napoleon XIV with “They’re Coming to Take me Away, Ha-Haa!” Even better, we could make it utterly Dadaist, with Barnes & Barnes performing “Fish Heads,” then dropping the mics, walking off, and leaving the globe in stunned silence. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our opportunity is here, and there is precious little time to waste.

The grand stage of Super Bowl halftime has become lame, and it needs to get Weird.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: This Performer Must Play Super Bowl 2013
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.

The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM (or you can listen online).
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  • J. Peterman

    You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it’ll always be Burma to me.


    No ‘hawks thoughts? Some things are better left on the side of the curb, I guess (for Chicago sports, that’s a big curb).
    You can’t count me as an admirer of C.Lo, MIA, MSNBLFKMA, or that one lady who orchestrated it all.
    But, I’m on board for this one, Dan.
    Saw him at the Star Plaza
    A 45’s medley is worth the price of the album.

    “you got me in (honk honk honk honk)
    a state of shock!”

  • Martin

    Weird Al rules….

    With all the hype, his first song should be ‘Another Rides the Bus’ with him on the accordion and Schwartz on the ‘drums’…the accordion case.

  • Josephinie

    OMG, we should start a freaking petition. YES.

  • Cheryl

    This is a fantastic idea!

  • Race Bannon

    If he closes with the yet-to-be-written, “Down, Down With People! I Hate ’em Wherever I Go…” than, by gum, I’m four-square behind the idea – in a west of Pennsylvania way.

  • Race Bannon, Who Now Feels Shame

    THEN. Sorry.

  • non

    Zappa plays Zappa should perform . I’m sure the song “Dinah Moe Hum” would do more than raise a few eyebrows

  • TonyStark

    Great idea. Considering most halftime acts perform medleys of their biggest hits anyway, any one of Weird Al’s polka songs mashing together several well-known songs would fit the bill quite nicely. Too bad his songs don’t get any airtime whatsoever though…the Middle East could use some Weird Al!

  • Meatless Meatball

    Apparently, the Flaming Lips are working with Erykah Badu, Ke$ha, and Bon Iver, among others. God, that’d be a fun halftime show. And wacky. But yeah, Weird Al could be fun, too.

  • Campaign Helper

    Weird Al Yankovic? WAY!

  • mike in davenport

    Weird Al is just as old as the other geriatrics that have performed recently. Neither age nor style of music should matter.

    The only criterion that I care about is whether the band has a good live show. That’s all that matters.

    For me, Weird Al qualifies because he has an EXCELLENT live show.

    • So...

      Gallagher! Come on down!!

  • Sean Connery's Cackle

    Loved White and Nerdy lol. He’d be awesome at a Super Bowl.

  • swidman

    I love the idea! I was one of those geeks taping the old Doctor into the wee hours of the night as a youth.

    He has to start with “Another One Rides the Bus”, just because it was his first song. Then he could pick just about any of the many classics from his repertoire.

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    He would top Madonna with “Like A Surgeon.”

  • citybiker

    Has Uncle Terry’s Manometer ever been to Myanmar? We’ll start the show with Al playing the accordion doing “Another One Rides the Bus” as he’s trotted on stage on Jerome Bettis’ shoulders…”Like A Surgeon” choreography number with the likes of all of the current torn ACL victims from Brady, McGahee, Adrian Petersen, etc. Then the Coup d’Grat…Al as Tim Tebow at the 50yd line rising out of the manger of the N(FL)ativity scene like the Crist Child, Three wise men hand him a football, helmet and cleats..optioning the ball to…

    • Martin

      That would be an awesome half-time show. Music review with proper parody of the NFL too…

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