Donny Osmond can take a joke, and he can deliver one as well. When Al Yankovic asked the former teen idol to be part of his “White and Nerdy” video seven years ago, as the poster boy for, well, being arguably the most square Caucasian, Osmond signed on.
“I thought it was going to be a lot of fun,” Osmond said. “Weird Al is one of the most inventive individuals in the business. When I saw what he was going to do with Chamillionaire's 'Ridin,' I was on board.”
Osmond went the extra yard. His silly improvised dances, which helped make the video so popular, cracked up everyone, including Yankovic.
"I was performing behind Al. He couldn't see me, but he saw it was cracking everyone up,” Osmond said during a call from Las Vegas. “Later on, he lost it when he saw what I did.”
Having a sense of humor is just one of the many weapons in Osmond's arsenal. That's how Osmond has thrived since he was a pin-up during the early '70s, who scored five Top 10 thits with such ballads as “Puppy Love” and “Go Away Little Girl.”
During the late '70s he hosted an ABC variety program with his sister Marie. “Donny and Marie” was a popular vehicle, and Osmond toured when he wasn't on the sound stage with his country-loving sibling.
“The '70s was incredibly good to me,” Osmond said. “I accomplished so much. I was everywhere physically or everywhere in terms of magazine covers. The media and fan attention was overwhelming. But that doesn't last forever.”
Just ask Bobby Sherman, Lance Bass and Jesse McCartney. Those teen dreams had to adapt or die. Osmond, like the few boy band alums, did make modifications.
Not every career move worked. There was the Broadway debacle “Little Johnny Jones,” which featured Osmond in 1982. The show opened and closed the same night. “That was difficult to rebound from,” Osmond said.
But Osmond did bounce back from that failure. He hooked up with Peter Gabriel during the late '80s. That unlikely pairing, wholesome Mormon and the innovative British singer-songwriter, yielded a number two-hit single, “Soldier of Love.”
“Peter admires my voice,” Osmond said. “He was excited about working with me and helped me come back.”
Osmond co-anchored a talk show with his sister during the '90s. He hosted game shows during the Clinton era. He also competed on ABC's “Dancing With The Stars” in 2009 and he won. “That was hard work,” Osmond said. “You really have to put the time in to become a great dancer, but that's the same if you want to be a great singer or a great entertainer. You have to work your butt off.”
And Osmond has released a number of albums over the past generation. “I love making music,” Osmond said. “I love to record, and I love to tour.”
Osmond is on the road with his sister Marie for their Christmas tour, which stops Friday night at the Forum. Count on Christmas classics and plenty of Osmond hits. “It's always fun going out with Marie,” Osmond said. “We love doing the Christmas tunes and we are more than happy to belt out the songs we're known for. I never get tired of singing the songs people made hits years ago.”
Osmond is proud that he's part of an American institution. The Osmond family has been performing in one form or another for 55 years. “That's staggering,” Osmond said. “We've certainly been at this for a long time. Personally, I love it. I hope to be doing this for many more years.”