That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

Album: Meat Is Murder (1985)
Charted: 49

Songfacts®:

  • Front man Morrissey told Melody Maker in 1985 that this song was inspired by the music journalists who persistently mocked him for writing about "the unhappy side of life." Morrissey added: "When I wrote the words for that, I was just so completely tired of all the same old journalistic questions and people trying, you know, this contest of wit, trying to drag me down and prove that I was a complete fake. And I was tired of that because it just seemed that, like, even the people within popular music, even the people within the music industry, didn't have that much faith in it as an art form. And they wanted to really get rid of all these people who are trying to make some sense out of the whole thing. And I found that really distressing."
  • Guitarist and co-songwriter Johnny Marr recalled to Uncut magazine in February 2008: "'That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore' was always one of my favorites. It just fell through the roof. It was one of those lovely times when the feeling just falls down on you from the ceiling somewhere and it almost plays itself. It gives an almost esoteric feeling."
  • Apart from "How Soon Is Now," which was only included on American and post WES re-issues, this was the only single release from the album. Except for a 1995 re-issue of "Ask," it was the band's lowest chart placing in the UK singles charts. In the same Uncut interview Marr discussed why despite Meat Is Murder being the only Smiths album to top the UK LP charts and regularly featuring on best album lists, no hit single came from it: "When we made the album, we weren't thinking that we needed to pull a single from it. That's the prerequisite these days, and maybe even then. Because we were also writing singles. We wrote albums to be albums and if some singles came off them coincidentally then fair enough. We assumed that most people who followed the band were the same as us, and presumed that they didn't need to be spoonfed a commercial track to buy an interesting piece of work. So that's why Meat Is Murder is the way it is - almost unfettered by chart considerations."

Comments: 3

  • Andy from Taunton, MaAgreed with Jeff from TX....amazing song, amazing band
  • Jeff from Austin, TxAMAZING song!! The Smiths are so underrated in the US.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnI'VE SEEN THIS HAPPEN IN OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES, AND NOW IT'S HAPPENING IN MINE... there will be a moment in everyone's life when that lyric will suddenly become like a bright light. And until that moment, the lyric is hard to understand.
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