Pure Comedy

Album: Pure Comedy (2017)

Songfacts®:

  • The title track of Father John Misty's third album, this was released as the record's first single on January 23, 2017, along with a video directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. Misty had previously debuted the song during a benefit concert for the Seattle Children's Hospital on December 3, 2016.
  • Father John Misty wrote most of the Pure Comedy album in 2015 and this song's first verse is an almost direct paraphrase of a brief rant he delivered during a performance at WXPN's XPNONENTIAL Festival in July 2016. The verse introduces a theme running throughout the record about how humans are born without knowledge and we're consequently at the mercy of others to educate us.

    The comedy of man starts like this:
    Our brains are way too big for our mothers' hips
    And so nature, she divines this alternative:
    We emerge half-formed and hope whoever greets us on the other end
    Is kind enough to fill us in
    And babies, that's pretty much how it's been ever since


    Misty explained: "Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species' only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like 'love,' 'culture,' 'family,' etc."
  • Father John Misty was given a Steinway piano for his 36th birthday by his wife, Emma, Pure Comedy producer Jonathan Wilson, songwriter pal Emile Haynie, a friend and a couple of people from his UK label. He told Uncut: "Pure Comedy was the first song I ever wrote on piano, and it was the weirdest thing,. Just finding the right notes."

    "No I didn't take lessons," he added. "If you hear music in your head it's not that hard to learn."

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