Perform This Way

Album: Alpocalypse (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • This comedic version of Lady Gaga's song, "Born This Way," pokes fun at several of the New York superstar's signature styles, including her bubble dress.
  • Initially it appeared that Gaga had refused to allow the satirist to include the song on his record, even after he sent lyrics to her camp. "OK, I thought, she wants to know exactly what the lyrics are going to be before she signs off on the parody," Yankovic said on his website. "Some artists just are a bit more protective of their material and don't want to take any chances. Fair enough. Because it was such an earnest human rights anthem, I thought some people might consider a parody to be in poor taste."

    So he sent the lyrics to Gaga's people and waited on "figurative pins and needles" for her to give the go-ahead. After a few days, the Mother Monster's manager replied: "She actually needs to hear it. Otherwise the answer is no."

    The response mystified Yankovic. "At this point she has the lyrics ... and hopefully she is familiar with her own song ... and the parody is basically her music ... with my lyrics. It really shouldn't be that hard to decide - based on having the lyrics right in front of you - whether or not you'd be 'okay' with a parody. But, alas, we'd been given an ultimatum. If she didn't hear it, she wouldn't approve it."

    Following an Internet outcry, it turned out that Gaga's manager had never forwarded the parody to the singer. Once Ms. Germanotta heard it she gave an immediate thumbs up, allowing Yankovic to release the song. This was a good thing not only as it proved Gaga does have a sense of humor but also all proceeds from the song were donated to the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Yankovic explained his writing process in an interview with Gibson.com: "I'm pretty analytical, and I like to make lists and focus and obsess about details. I can spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks writing a song. It doesn't just flow out of me naturally. I wish it did, but it involves a lot of heavy thought. My wife doesn't care for it when I'm in my writing mode, because I'm kind of oblivious to anything else. I'm like a zombie, apparently. I think I do a lot of things pretty well, in that I'm a decent singer and a decent musician. But I think my true talent lies in being able to craft a parody song."
  • Yankovic found Gaga an easy person to parody. He explained to Artist Direct: "The whole point was poking fun at her bigger-than-life persona. I wanted to do a song that wasn't putting Lady Gaga down. I wanted to find as much humor as I could in her being and her entity. At the same time, I was trying to dissect her psyche a little bit and make whatever jokes I could about the vision of herself that she was putting out there. She's a good person to lampoon because I've always said, 'It's hard to parody an act that's somewhat generic". She's anything but generic. She's got such great visual style, flare, and idiosyncrasies. She's very easy to caricature."
  • The self-directed video shows the parodist donning Gaga's most famous getups. Want to know how Al got such a feminine figure for the video? He had his head overlaid onto dancer Vlada Gorbaneva and contortionist Marissa Heart using CGI effects.
  • The Madonna lookalike in the video was played by Holly Beavon, a professional celebrity impersonator known for her act as the Material Girl, as well as Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, and Heather Graham.

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