That's The Joke

That's The Joke

Part of a series on The Simpsons. [View Related Entries]

Updated Aug 20, 2013 at 02:06PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jan 21, 2013 at 11:29PM EST by Gaben The Troll.

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“That’s the Joke” is a catchphrase uttered by the fictional character Rainier Wolfcastle in a stand-up comedy scene from a 1995 episode of The Simpsons. Online, the quote is used to condescendingly explain the punchline of a joke, or as the deadpan punchline to an otherwise-unfunny remark. It can be also iterated in filename extension format, such as “thatsthejoke.jpg.”


The quote first appeared in an episode of The Simpsons “A Star is Burns”[3] which aired on March 5th, 1995. In the scene, an excerpt clip is shown from character Rainier Wolfcastle’s (voiced by Harry Shearer) new stand-up comedy movie. After missing the punchline, Wolfcastle plainly says “that’s the joke.”


On July 18th, 2006, YTMND user sebastienricher created a site[2] replaying “That’s the joke” on loop over a still image of Rainier Wolfcastle. On 4chan, the filename extended version has been in use as early as January 22nd, 2008, when a user on /v/[4] (Video Games) posted “thatsthejoke.jpg” in response to another user unnecessarily pointing out the joke in a thread where every Pokemon character was re-designed in the style of Gardevoir. Throughout 2008, the phrase continued to appear on /co/[5] (Comics and Cartoons), /a/[6] (Anime and Manga) and /tg/[7] (Traditional Games). The same year, the webcomic Gunshow[10] began using the phrase as a trope in several comic strips.

In July 2009, “thatsthejoke.jpg” came up in a thread on the IGN Forums[9] discussing the spread of 4chan memes outside of the imageboard. This reference to the image has also been used on Fark[13], Twitter[12] and message boards including GameFAQs[14] and the Roblox forum.[15] On Tumblr, “That’s the Joke” has evolved into a tag[1] that is often paired with the tag “that’s it”[8], as to emphasize the lack of humor contained in the post. The idea behind the original Simpsons skit is explored on TV Tropes on the page “Don’t Explain the Joke.”[11]

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