Brandi Carlile staged a grand, live version of "The Joke" on Wednesday's Late Show, belting over acoustic guitar and a string quartet. Shooter Jennings – who co-produced Carlile's recently issued sixth LP, By the Way, I Forgive You, with Dave Cobb – accompanied the vocalist on keyboards.
The Americana singer-songwriter recently spoke to NPR about "The Joke," detailing the single's message of inclusion. "There are so many people feeling misrepresented [today]," she said.
"So many people feeling unloved. Boys feeling marginalized and forced into these kind of awkward shapes of masculinity that they do or don't belong in ... so many men and boys are trans or disabled or shy. Little girls who got so excited for the last election, and are dealing with the fallout. The song is just for people that feel under-represented, unloved or illegal."
In January, Carlile performed the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live! She also debuted "The Mother," another song from her latest LP, in solo acoustic form.