Al's Brain (found 3D educational short film; 2009)

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Poster for the short film.

Status: Found

Date found:
13 Nov 2020 (original cam upload)
29 Feb 2024 (direct quality version)

Found by: minnick27 (original cam upload)
ChriztopherT2004, Ziggy Cashmere (reupload)
Bryce Buchanan (direct quality version)

Al's Brain (also known as Al's Brain: A 3-D Journey Through the Human Brain) is a 3D short film directed, written by and starring musician "Weird Al" Yankovic that was first displayed on July 16th, 2009 at the 2009 Orange County Fair in Orange County, California. The short was produced on a budget of $2.5 million,[1] and was designed to be educational in nature, teaching viewers about the design, structure, and various functions of the human brain.


The short was 10 minutes in length, and featured a mix of live-action and computer animation, showing Al interacting with animated characters such as Billy the Brain and Norm the Owl as he answers questions about the human brain while also making humorous commentary, such as explaining how we have as much chance of fully understanding the human brain as we do the final 20 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many of these questions would be asked in "man on the street" style interview segments with celebrities like Paul McCartney and Fabio, with other celebrities such as Patton Oswald and Tim & Eric appearing elsewhere in the short in other cameo roles.

Alongside explanations of the structure of the human brain, Al's Brain is also known to have discussed the life of Phineas Gage, an American railroad worker who infamously survived an 1848 accident in which an iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, with Al portraying a fictionalized version of Gage named "Phineaus Cage" in the short.

The short ends with Al performing "The Brain Song", a song written specifically for Al's Brain which details the four lobes of the human brain and the function they each serve. Al would state in an interview with the Orange County Register that the writing of this song was by far the most research-intensive part of production, remarking that "I pretended like I took a class in the working of the brain and this is my final exam, this is my thesis paper."[2]


  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - Himself/Phineaus Cage
  • Paul McCartney - First Man on the Street
  • Fabio - Second Man on the Street
  • Patton Oswald - Co-worker
  • Thomas Lennon - Co-worker
  • Tim Heidecker - Brain Stretcher
  • Eric Wareheim - Brain Stretcher
  • Billy West - Norm the Owl/Billy the Brain (voice)
  • Michael William Arnold - Timmy
  • Bob Bancroft - Norm Koslovsky
  • Ezra Buzzington - Homeless Guy (uncredited)

Al's mother-in-law also appears in the short in an unknown role. Al had also offered a role in the short to rapper Coolio (whose 1995 single "Gangsta's Paradise" Al had previously parodied as "Amish Paradise"), but Coolio declined.[3]


Al's Brain would first be displayed at the 2009 Orange County Fair from July 16th to August 5th, 2009. The short was shown within a hangar building (referred to as "The Brainitorium") at the end of the fair's main hall, with a merchandise tent and a sand sculpture of Al and his brain being placed close by. Upon entering, attendees would be given 3D glasses in a waiting room containing many optical illusions, brain teasers, and pieces of trivia related to the human brain and various intelligent people from history. A short film would also be shown within this waiting room, which was a parody of educational films from the 1950s that lectured audiences on the horrors of brain freeze.[4] Upon entering the screening room, a brief interlude would be shown in which Al displays the 3D effects while asking questions such as "Do we really use only 10% of our brain?" and "Can a person survive with a metal stake driven through their skull?", at which point the short would begin.

Al's Brain would prove to be immensely popular during its initial showing, drawing a total audience of 250,000 people,[5] and following the conclusion of the 2009 Orange County Fair, it would later be showcased at the 2009 Puyallup Fair in Puyallup, Washington from September 11th to September 27th, 2009.[6] Here, the display of the short would similarly be enhanced by the addition of numerous exhibits loaned from the nearby Pacific Science Center, among which was an actual human brain. Plans would also be made for the short to be displayed the following year at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, but it is unknown if this screening actually took place.[7]

Once its theatrical displays had concluded, the short would subsequently fall into obscurity, with the only content from it to have seen a home media release being the audio for "The Brain Song", which was included in Al's 2017 compilation album Medium Rarities. The full short itself remained lost, with a recording of the music video for "The Brain Song" and a selection of behind-the-scenes clips being all that had surfaced from it. A full camrip of the short had previously been uploaded to Google Drive by Reddit user minnick27, but it would later be deleted due to minnick27 not "wanting to ruffle any feathers," with no archives of this recording being known to exist[8] until February 20th, 2024 when Lost Media Wiki user Ziggy Cashmere uploaded the full recording from ChriztopherT2004, who had downloaded the recording from minnick27. On February 29th, YouTube user Bryce Buchanan uploaded the full short film in 4K, this upload was quickly deleted, alongside the channel for unknown reasons, it has since been re-uploaded, however, these re-uploads, along with the recording were later taken down for copyright claims due to the usage of "The Brain Song", the film can still be found on the Internet Archive.

Short Film

Reupload of minnick27's recording of the short film.

The full short film. (Direct HD quality).


Video created to advertise the short.

Video showing the location at the Orange County Fair in which the short was played.

Video in which Al and Orange County Fair president Steve Beazley discuss the short.

Another video in which Al and Steve Beazley discuss the short.

See Also

External Links