Batman:The Animated Series Wiki

The Laughing Fish is an episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series. It is the fifth episode produced featuring the Joker and is notable for being an adaptation of classic Joker stories from the comic books, one of which was written by Dennis O'Neil.(See Notes)

"The Laughing Fish" was the 34th episode produced and the 46th episode aired.


Joker unleashes a toxin into Gotham City's harbors, causing all the fish affected to mutate into "Joker fish", with a deformed smile clearly resembling his own. The Clown Prince of Crime's plan is far more bizarre and he soon reveals to the world his desire to copyright the fish, and thus gain a percentage over all sold fish in the Gotham area.


A fishing boat has just returned from a harvest in Gotham Harbor. As the ship unloads its catch onto the docks, the crewmen are horrified to find that every one of the fish possesses a creepy Joker-like grin on their faces, while Batman looks on from a distance. Newspapers all over Gotham feature articles discussing Joker's latest scheme, and everyone is baffled. Upon returning to the Batcave with a Joker fish, Bruce asks Alfred to fetch the dissection tray. Based on what he finds, Batman is relieved to learn that the toxin in the fish has no effect on humans, leaving only the question "What is Joker really planning if he's not out to poison people?"

TLF 12 - Joker Fish

The Joker Fish

The Joker's real intention is to copyright the smiling fish, but when he goes to the Gotham Office of Copyright, he is told that it is not possible since fish are a natural resource and nobody can copyright natural resources. Joker then plans the killing of the man who denied him his wish by intoxicating him with his Joker Venom. Batman saves the man by injecting his antidote and Joker soon lets everyone know that he plans to murder a second victim. Batman and the cops try their best to protect the man but again, the Joker comes up victorious and almost kills his second target. Harvey Bullock becomes tired of waiting for the Joker to act and he decides to start looking for the clown. Following the last clue left by Joker on his second murder attempt, Batman does the same.

Bullock ends up in the Aquarium and he finds Joker but he is trapped by Harley Quinn and tied up by the Joker, who threatens to drop Bullock into a shark's tank. However, Joker has second thoughts as he deduces that since Bullock found their hideout easily, Batman would not be far behind. True to Joker's hunch, Batman arrives a few minutes later and is ambushed by Joker and his men.

TLF 65 - Bat Behind

A Bat behind you

Batman and Bullock are both dropped in the shark's tank and Batman manages to tame the shark using the handcuffs Joker had used to tie him. The shark breaks one of the tank's walls, freeing both Bullock and Batman. In the chaos created by the release of the water from the tank, the Joker's henchmen fall down to another tank along with Harley. Meanwhile, Joker tries to escape through the ceiling but Batman follows him. After a brief fight in the roof of the Aquarium, Joker realizes that he has nowhere to run and he decides to drop down to the sea below. Joker believes he is safe with his duck float ring, but he soon realizes that the shark has escaped his tank and is waiting in the sea.

Afterwards, the police arrive and takes the Joker gang, but when Commissioner Gordon asks Batman if he believes that the Joker is gone, Batman tells him that as much as he wishes it were true, he doubts it deep inside. In the end the shark appears again, but there is no sign of the Joker.


Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Bob Hastings Commissioner Gordon
Robert Costanzo Rocco
Harvey Bullock (uncredited)
Fisherman 1 (uncredited)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Alfred
Cop (uncredited)
George Dzundza G. Carl Francis
Thomas Jackson (uncredited)
Fisherman 2 (uncredited)
Mark Hamill The Joker
Stevedore (uncredited)
Arleen Sorkin Harley Quinn