1. Michael Jackson not only enjoyed Weird Al Yankovic’s parodies of his songs but helped to make them- at one point signing a contract for “Eat It” as a “co-writer,” and subsequently lending Weird Al the original “Bad” subway set for Yankovic’s own music video “Fat”.
Weird Al Yankovic was actually surprised by Michael’s reaction when asked to do a parody. He claimed Michael thought it was funny and completely supported it, even letting the crew use his subway set for the music video. The comedy songwriter used two of MJ’s songs and was becoming known as “the guy who did Michael Jackson parodies” before moving on to Nirvana. He stated in an interview with Rolling Stone
“In a very real sense, he jump-started my career. “Eat It” basically changed me from an unknown into a guy that got recognized at Burger King.”
2. Despite rumors and debate Michael Jackson actually did voice Mental Patient Leon Kompowsky in The Simpsons. He is credited under a pseudonym.
MJ did the voice for Leon Kompowsky (who was Homer’s roommate in the mental institution) but under the pseudonym, John Jay Smith. He really enjoyed the show and offered to do a guest spot. His condition before performing the voice of Leon was that he would voice himself, but someone else would receive credit for it. At the time, the producers legally couldn’t confirm he guest starred on the show; though many people believed it was his voice. Afterward, producers decided that celebrities had to be willing to be credited under their real names if they wished to guest star on the show.
His singing was recorded by Kipp Lennon, which Jackson thought would be a hilarious joke. He couldn’t sing on the show, due to a contract obligation, but he did write “Happy Birthday Lisa” for the episode.
In the show, Leon actually claimed to be Michael Jackson when he meets Homer. At the end of the episode, he admits that he is actually Leon Kompowsky and was trying to sound like Michael Jackson to make the world a better place.
3. Michael Jackson admired Eminem as an artist but was disappointed when the rapper made fun of him in “Just Lose It” and said that, “I’ve never attacked a fellow artist. Great artists don’t do that.”
In the interview, MJ brings up that even Stevie Wonder was offended by Eminem’s lyrics. In the “Just Lose It” video Eminem mocks MJ in a blatant way that is described by Stevie Wonder as “bullsh*t.” Michael touches on the fact that Eminem’s mockery was insulting, but great artists don’t need to bash other artists because they “don’t have to.”
4. Michael Jackson wanted to build a 50-foot robot of himself to roam the Nevada desert.
Plans for a large series of Las Vegas concerts began in October 2005, only months after the King of Pop was acquitted on child molestation charges. Michael’s vision was enormous. He put Fashion designer André van Pier, in charge of the project which included costumes under the theme of”space-age”, that would have solar-powered fabric that would change color under the stage lights.
The team also planned to create a Michael Jackson robot, that would be 50ft high and visible from the McCarran airport. The plan was to have the robot wander the city as an advertisement for Jackson’s show. The only thing holding them back was funding. Coming out of his trial he had a hard time securing investors. Instead, they scaled down the vision and made a Jackson-themed hotel and casino – with an android at the entrance.
5. When CBS refused to fund the music video for “Beat It,” Michael Jackson filmed the video on LA’s Skid Row, using 80 real members from the Crips and Bloods.
The video cost him $150,000 to create after CBS refused to financially support it. He filmed the video on LA’s Skid Row, using street gangs as cast members. Jackson thought it would make the production authentic, but he also hoped it would help foster peace between the two groups. He even helped with some of the choreography.