“You Can Call Me Al” is a song by Paul Simon, and its titular sentiment could carry on to many Alberts, Alfreds, or Alexanders. Throughout media and sports, there are tons of Als. In the NBA, there is Al Horford and Al Jefferson, while the NFL had Al Davis and MLB had Al Kaline. We have Al Pacino in our movies, Al Roker on our TV, and Al Green singing us songs. It’s a name that pops up everywhere, but one Al has long assured that he remains one-of-a-kind, by tacking on “Weird” to the front of his name.
Indeed, “Weird Al” means something, to the extent that no other Al could really be called “weird” without evoking the polka-loving, parody song master ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. But with the wave of allegations swallowing up comedian-turned-politician Al Franken, “Weird Al” is being sure that his name doesn’t get used improperly. The always-funny Yankovic posted to Twitter a photo of the trademark application for his “Weird Al” nickname on Twitter earlier today, noting that “If you really feel compelled to insult Franken, Sharpton, Gore, Roker, or Pacino… PLEASE CHOOSE A DIFFERENT NICKNAME.”
There are lots of words we can use to describe Franken, along with any of the other Als. And indeed, you can still call them “Al.” But don’t call them “weird.” There’s only one “Weird Al.”