That Time Weird Al Yankovic Was Blocked From Doing A Harry Potter Parody Song

Daniel Radcliffe, pictured as Harry Potter and Weird Al Yankovic, side by side.
(Image credit: Warner Bros/Roku)

For all of the actual song parodies that Weird Al Yankovic has put out into the world, it’s amazing to think of some of the ones that were stopped in their tracks. Promoting his faux biopic, the new movie release Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, the singer revealed yet another song that he just couldn’t get the approval to undertake.

Sadly enough, it would have been a Harry Potter parody, which would have been all the more appropriate now. Speaking with THR on behalf of the Roku Original he co-wrote with director Eric Appel, Yankovic told this amusing tale, and the lesson it taught him: 

Whenever it was, about a decade or two ago, I approached the movie company just to get a general blessing like, ‘Hey, I’d like to do a Harry Potter parody.’ And I think they said no, or they never responded or whatever. But sometimes when you’re dealing with franchises, and you ask permission, you know, there’s so many people that can say no, and they usually do. … If I’m doing a franchise, it’s usually better just to do it and ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

It’s rather odd to look back and think that somehow one of the parties involved in the Harry Potter saga thought that a Weird Al song would have been anything short of a magical blessing. It’s a point that stands especially when you look at the film and TV parodies that Al has landed over the years, covering things like Spider-Man, Hamilton, and even Star Wars. But somehow, J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World was a no-go.

Naturally this isn’t the first rejection that Weird Al Yankovic has gotten when it comes to his potential works. In the case of trying to cover Sir Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” Al was rejected because he wanted the proposed “Chicken Pot Pie” to be something more vegetarian.

Then there was Yankovic's single “You're Pitiful,” which was a cover of James Blunt’s hit “Beautiful.” While the artist approved, his record label did not, and in this instance there was already a whole Weird Al song written and recorded. So Al just put it into the world, for free, through his “Close Personal Friends of Al” email newsletter. 

Perhaps if the tides had turned a different way, we’d have been listening to a Weird Al Yankovic parody that covered the Fantastic Beasts saga. Which, if movie franchises are anything like musical artists, would have meant that the series could have gotten “The Yankovic Bump” in popularity. With that sort of juice, it might have helped some folks at Warner Bros. remember the franchise when talking about the potential of future films with J.K. Rowling.

For now, we’ll just have to imagine what a Harry Potter/Weird Al mashup would sound like. Not to mention if there ever is a sequel to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, this real life incident could become another successful comedic exaggeration to tell that outrageous "life story." Those of you still trying to dream up the scenario mentioned above, take a look at that time Yankovic sent up the Star Wars universe, “The Saga Begins.” 

Should you want to watch Daniel Radcliffe’s unhinged Weird Al performance, you can catch Weird: The Al Yankovic Story on the Roku Channel. Streaming for free, it’s a parody that even the accordion master himself approved of. Plus, it's now even funnier to think of how Harry Potter has technically parodied Weird Al, bringing this story full circle.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.