After more than 30 years on the charts, comedian-singer "Weird Al" Yankovic earns his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, as "Mandatory Fun" debuts atop the list. The album is the first comedy set to top the chart since 1963, and logs the largest sales week for a comedy album since 1994.
"If you'd told me 30 years ago this would happen, I never would've believed it," Yankovic tweeted on Wednesday. "If you'd told me 2 WEEKS ago, I never would've believed it."
"Mandatory Fun" was released July 15 through Way Moby and RCA Records, and sold 104,000 copies in the week ending July 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It was promoted by a well-received daily viral video campaign that launched Monday, July 14. Starting with his parody of Pharrell's "Happy," Yankovic released eight music videos for the album through the week on various sites, like The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Nerdist, College Humor and YouTube.
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"Mandatory" is the first comedy album to top the Billboard 200 since Allan Sherman's "My Son, the Nut" spent eight weeks at No. 1 beginning on the chart dated Aug. 31, 1963. A couple of comedy sets came close since then, including Steve Martin's No. 2-peaking "A Wild and Crazy Guy" back in 1978 and a pair of No. 2 Cheech & Chong titles in the early 1970s.
Also, Yankovic's sales week is not only his biggest since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991, it’s also the largest for a comedy album since 1994, when "The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience" sold 118,000 copies in the week ending Jan. 2. That compilation album was presented by the animated duo, and had comedy skits interspersed with rock songs from the likes of Anthrax and Aerosmith. (Beavis and Butt-Head also memorably duetted with Cher on a new rendition of "I Got You Babe.")
In total, "Mandatory Fun" is the third top 10 album for Yankovic, who previously visited the region with 2006's "Straight Outta Lynwood" (No. 10) and his last album, 2011's "Alpocalypse" (No. 9). The latter debuted with 44,000 in its first week — less than half of his new album's first-week sales. (Yankovic's previous best SoundScan-era sales week came when "Lynwood" bowed with 73,000.)
Yankovic leads a debut-filled top four on the Billboard 200, where Jason Mraz's "Yes!" starts at No. 2, Rise Against's "The Black Market" bows at No. 3, and Kidz Bop Kids' "Kidz Bop 26" enters at No. 4. The entire top four has not been populated by debuts since the Oct. 12, 2013 chart, when Drake's "Nothing Was the Same" opened at No. 1.
Mraz was initially in a slight battle with Yankovic for the new No. 1 slot, as industry forecasters suggested both "Yes!" and "Mandatory" would sell around 70,000 to 75,000 copies in their first week. Ultimately, while both albums sold stronger than forecast, "Mandatory" blew past expectations.
That said, "Yes!," which sold 81,000 copies, is the fourth top 10 album for Mraz and second to reach the No. 2 slot. (He has yet to earn a No. 1.) "Yes!" follows 2012's "Love Is a Four Letter Word," which also debuted and peaked in the runner-up slot, selling 102,000 in its first week.
Rock band Rise Against nets its fourth top 10 album as well, as "The Black Market" opens at No. 3 with 53,000. It follows 2011's "Endgame," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 with 85,000.
Kidz Bop Kids' "Kidz Bop 26" is the fourth and final arrival in the top 10, as the latest in the kids-sing-the-hits series starts with 46,000. It's the 40th charting album for the Kidz Bop franchise and the 19th top 10 for the series. The new set features kid-friendly (and kid-sung) covers of such hits as Pharrell’s "Happy," Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" and One Direction's "Story of My Life."
While earlier Kidz Bop albums mostly featured anonymous studio singers, recent sets have focused on branding named talent. The new album's five young singers (Jayna Brown, Ashlynn Chong, Grant Knoche, Matthew Martinez and Bredia Santoro) are even on tour, with concert dates lined up through October.
The "Frozen" soundtrack spends its 30th straight week in the top five, as it descends 2-5 with 43,000 (down 6 percent). The last album to spend a longer consecutive run in the top five was Adele's "21," which wrapped a 39-week reign in the region on Dec. 3, 2011.
Sam Smith's "In the Lonely Hour" dips 3-6 (35,000; down 17 percent), Ed Sheeran's "x" falls 5-7 (24,000; down 32 percent), the "Now 50" album slips 7-8 (23,000; up 4 percent), and Trey Songz's "Trigga" drops 4-9 (nearly 23,000; down 35 percent).
Blake Shelton closes out the top 10 with his surging "Based On a True Story …" album. It vaults 63-10 with 22,000 — up a whopping 386 percent. The album was sale-priced in the iTunes Store last week for $5.99 and grew by 1,000 percent in overall download sales. To promote the sale pricing, Shelton's Twitter account sent out two Tweets during the week to the country star's 6.8 million followers. His Facebook page, which has 8.3 million likes, also spread the word about the discount.
Over on the Digital Songs chart, Magic's "Rude" holds at No. 1 with 195,000 downloads sold (up 6 percent), and Smith's "Stay With Me" rises 3-2 with 164,000 (up 1 percent). Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," featuring Charli XCX, climbs 4-3 with 155,000, and 5 Seconds of Summer's "Everything I Didn't Say" bows at No. 4 with 149,000. It's the sixth song released in the lead-up to the debut of the band's new self-titled album, which was issued July 22.
Ariana Grande's "Problem," featuring Azalea, is steady at No. 5 with 114,000 (down 8 percent), and Maroon 5's "Maps" rises 7-6 with 105,000 (down less than 1 percent). Florida Georgia Line's "Dirt" drops 2-7 in its second week, selling 99,000 (down 46 percent). Nico & Vinz's "Am I Wrong" descends 6-8 with 96,000 (down 13 percent), Charli XCX's "Boom Clap" moves 8-9 with 91,000 (down 9 percent) and Sia's "Chandelier" reaches the top 10 for the first time, flying 18-10 with 83,000 (up 29 percent).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending July 20) totaled 4.4 million units, up 7 percent compared with the sum last week (4.1 million) and down 8 percent compared with the comparable sales week of 2013 (4.7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 133.5 million, down 15 percent compared with the same total at this point last year (156.5 million).
Digital track sales this past week totaled 20.4million downloads, up less than 1 percent compared with last week (20.3 million) and down 11 percent stacked next to the comparable week of 2013 (22.8 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 655.5 million, down 13 percent compared with the same total at this point last year (752.2 million).
Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2013 when: Selena Gomez earned her first No. 1 album with the chart-topping debut of "Stars Dance," selling 97,000 in its first week. The previous week's leader, Jay Z's "Magna Carta … Holy Grail,"fell to No. 2 with 77,000 (down 40 percent).