That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore (4:57)

Cover of Meat Is Murder

From Meat Is Murder and 41 other releases

“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” is a song by British rock band The Smiths. It first appeared on their album Meat Is Murder, and was released as their eighth single. It was composed by guitarist Johnny Marr and singer/songwriter Morrissey.

A unique single, it was the second-lowest charting Smiths single, reaching only #49. The repetition and sad tone conveyed are unusual for a Smiths single. This has raised suspicions that the song is about a journalist with whom Morrissey had a relationship. According to Dave Simpson in his Uncut article (August 1998), the unnamed journalist steadfastly refuses to discuss Morrissey to this day.

The song is about a car ride where the narrator’s partner makes a mocking statement about those who are suicidal and lonely (“when you laugh about people who feel so very lonely / their only desire is to die”). In an extended monologue, Morrissey responds to the joke. He plays with figurative and literal meanings – notably in the line “I drove the point home” – which refers both to the literal “return home” in the car and the insistence with which he makes his point in response to the joke.

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