The only person who gets to poke fun at Eminem is…himself?
That’s the word from Weird Al Yankovic who, despite gaining permission from the rap superstar to parody his hit “Lose Yourself” in a tune called “Couch Potato,” couldn’t convince his Em-inence to let Yankovic do the same in a music video.
One would think the hip-hopster would stand up and oblige a comedian who’s made a career out of satirizing the likes of Michael Jackson (“Eat It,” “I’m Fat,”), Madonna (“Like a Surgeon”), Nirvana (“Smells Like Nirvana”) and Coolio (“Amish Paradise”), but the answer was an unequivocal no.
While Eminem has an affinity for spoofing Christina Aguilera, Fred Durst, Osama bin Laden and even himself (as the Real Slim Shady) in his videos, the chart-busting rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, allegedly nixed Weird Al’s plan for a parodying clip after hearing the final mix of “Couch Potato” because the rapper felt he needed to maintain the integrity of his own song.
“Eminem was fine with me having the parody on my album but said he was afraid that a Weird Al video might detract from his legacy, that it would somehow make people take him less seriously as an important hip-hop artist,” Yankovic told Launch.com.
“Lose Yourself,” of course, was Eminem’s mega-hit off the multiplatinum-selling soundtrack to his blockbuster film 8 Mile, which also earned the rapper an Academy Award for Best Song. With “Couch Potato,” Yankovic hoped to take a few humorous jabs at tube addicts, a far cry from 8 Mile’s story about a young kid rhyming his way out of the ghetto.
While he was thankful Shady gave him the opportunity to record the song for inclusion on his upcoming 11th release, Poodle Hat, Yankovic had to admit he was “extremely disappointed” by the setback with the video.
“Frankly, this was going to be the best video that I’ve ever done,” boasted Yankovic, who added that he was planning to do a “patchwork quilt” montage spoofing the most famous scenes from Eminem’s video.
A rep for Eminem said that Mathers was simply trying to protect his street cred.
“It’s an important personal piece of music for him, a piece of art,” Interscope Records spokesman Dennis Dennehy told the Associated Press on Friday. “He doesn’t mind him doing the song, but he didn’t want to change kids’ visual perception on what that image was. He wanted to make sure the image would remain intact.”
Even then, Em isn’t doing Weird Al too many favors. Though he can put “Couch Potato” on his album, Yankovic is prohibited from releasing the track as a commercial single.
Other artists getting a Weird Al workover on Poodle Hat include Avril Lavigne and St. Louis rap star Nelly. The album hits stores on May 20, after which Yankovic will embark on a national tour beginning June 19 in Del Mar, California.