Alfred Yankovic: Cal Poly's "Weirdest" Alum

Alfred Yankovic, or more famously known as “Weird Al” Yankovic, is, believe it or not, one of Cal Poly’s very own alumni. Weird Al enrolled at Cal Poly to study architecture in 1976 at the age of 16. He also lived on campus his first year in Sierra Madre Tower 4 room 43G. Being that Weird Al was much younger than most college students at the time, he was frequently picked on and taunted, hence being where he actually got the nickname “Weird Al”. However, throughout his time at Cal Poly, Weird Al continued to practice his love for music and write parodies. In fact, it was here at Cal Poly’s very own radio station where Weird Al volunteered as a DJ and recorded his first parody song “My Bologna” that would go on to inspire his other top-ranking parody hits.

During his time here at Cal Poly, Weird Al’s love for music began to grow, inspiring him to expand his horizons and begin playing his music in public. Weird Al played his first gig at The Coffee House on Cal Poly’s campus (now known as Ciao) and people immediately reacted with big laughs to his comedic lyrics and accordion playing. Weird Al kept performing at The Coffee House and eventually moved on to perform at the World Famous Darkroom in downtown SLO. Weird Al even wrote a song called “Cruising Down Higuera” (whose commemoration to San Luis Obispo unfortunately couldn’t be found, no matter how intensely I searched the Internet).

Weird Al’s rise to fame also, interestingly enough, happened right here on Cal Poly’s campus. Weird Al actually recorded the song that would land him his record deal in the graphic arts building room 229. While still attending Cal Poly, Weird Al landed a record deal with Capitol Records and sold over 10,000 records in a month.

Weird Al has now moved on from Cal Poly to record popular parody songs such as “White and Nerdy” and “Amish Paradise,” that starred in hit movies and shows such as Adventure Time and Family Guy, and have even won two Grammys.