"The poodle's a slimy, carnivorous beast," Weird Al Yankovic sang on a 1988 children's record, but by the end of the song, the king of parody adds, "on the other hand, I could be completely mistaken."
Lucky for him, he was. These days, Al and his family -- his wife, Suzanne, and their daughter, Nina -- live, as his web site says, "with their cockatiel, Bo, and non-flying poodle, Bela, in an architectural-style home in the Hollywood Hills."
Al's trademark style -- hyperbole taken up a notch -- knows no boundaries. His song parodies have targeted everyone from Michael Jackson ("Eat It") to Billy Ray Cyrus ("Achy Breaky Song") to Nirvana ("Smells Like Nirvana").
"Paul McCartney told me he didn't want me to do a parody of 'Live and Let Die,' called 'Chicken Pot Pie,' because he's a strict vegetarian," says Al, who asks artists for permission before recording parodies of their songs. "I am too. I just thought it was funny."
With a new album scheduled for release May 20 and fresh from a recent guest appearance on The Simpsons, Al is set to hit the summer festival circuit. But this time he'll take a few more breaks along the way. Al became a father for the first time in February at the age of 43, and says, "I don't want to have to watch my baby grow up on a web cam." His best pal, Bela, is assured plenty of attention, too.
"Whenever we pay attention to our bird, Bela gets jealous and starts biting her squeaky toy to prove she can make that noise, too. And when my wife house-trained Bela, she would make a huge deal of it every time she went on her wee-wee pad," he explains. "To this day, whenever Bela goes to the bathroom, she'll start running around the house like crazy because she knows she's going to get a treat."
Al even adds: "We think Bela is a genius." For the man who wrote "I Want A New Duck," a genius poodle doesn't seem like much of a stretch.