Father John Misty Pens Eulogy for Chuck E. Cheese's Animatronic Band

Father John Misty performs on the Coachella Stage during day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2017 in Indio, Calif.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

Father John Misty performs on the Coachella Stage during day 1 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 14, 2017 in Indio, Calif. 

While kids these days are apparently too sophisticated to pay any attention Chuck E. Cheese's animatronic band at birthday parties, the phasing out of the chain's classic, if peculiar, house entertainers has struck a chord with Father John Misty. The Pure Comedy singer-songwriter wrote a clever eulogy for Chuck E. Cheese, star of the singing robots, which he posted on Facebook Friday night (Aug. 18.)

"I typically don't eulogize over social media, but the shock and sadness I feel over losing this artist compelled me to humbly offer a few words in remembrance," he began in a post that received plenty of laughing-crying emoji reactions and one-liners attempting to match the tone of his eulogy.

He set the scene, one that's familiar to many: "I started having birthdays at a very, very young age. As was the custom in pre-suburban Maryland, at the behest of my parents a dozen or so friends from school and church would join us at Chuck E. Cheese for pizza, games of skill and various proto-gambling amusements followed by gifts, cake, what have you."

"Having been a professional musician for a few years now, I can appreciate firsthand not only the strain of trying to sustain a flow of creativity for so long but the rigorous, pretty unexotic feat of physical endurance just getting through a few hundred shows a year, plus all the travel, is," Father John Misty continued. "When I consider that this motherf---er was playing up to 5 sets a night all over the country simultaneously I am reminded that, yes, it can be done, and that just by getting on that stage every night and leaving everything up there, I am part of lineage, of a collective imagination that spans the generations. How he maintained that smile on his face, playing so consistently and with such little flash (even though I'm sure some nights he just wanted to stretch out and make it all about himself) is beyond me. Don't forget: this man's middle name was literally 'Entertainment.'"

He then went on to compare Cheese to Sinatra, with his "style that cannot be taught."

"None of this, however, has anything to do with why I fell in love with this man's playing. Chuck was an interpreter. He didn't write much, outside of his seminal 'Happy Birthday' but neither did Frank f---ing Sinatra," he said. "Like Sinatra, Chuck wasn't 'the best.' But he had a style, and style cannot be taught; something we tend to forget in this era of manufactured pop stars. Max Martin would've had nothing to do with Cheese. He was a little thick around the waste, and certainly refused to change with protein fads in the culture."

"He was never political, but he didn't need to be. Neoliberalism had just left the think tanks and had been deployed in service of combatting the rampant stagflation that had bedeviled the economy of the '70s. Chuck embodied the American ideal of the time while presaging the alternative currencies that we'd see 30 years later," he wrote.

"This man introduced me to music," he concluded. "Though the world may have moved on, the music remains."


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