Don't Laugh at Me

"Don't Laugh at Me" is a song written by Allen Shamblin and Steve Seskin, and recorded by American country music artist Mark Wills. It was released in July 1998 as the second single from album Wish You Were Here. Like "I Do (Cherish You)" before it, "Don't Laugh at Me" was a number 2 hit on the Billboard country charts. The song received Country Music Association nominations for Country Music Association's Single, Song and Video of the Year in 1998.[2]

"Don't Laugh at Me"
Single by Mark Wills
from the album Wish You Were Here
B-side"I Can't Live with Myself"[1]
ReleasedJuly 13, 1998
LabelMercury Nashville
Songwriter(s)Steve Seskin
Allen Shamblin
Producer(s)Carson Chamberlain
Mark Wills singles chronology
"I Do (Cherish You)"
"Don't Laugh at Me"
"Wish You Were Here"


Allen Shamblin was inspired to write the song after his school-aged daughter came home and confided that she was being teased by her peers because of her freckles.[2]


The song is a ballad in which various characters, such as children who have been teased or a homeless man begging on a street corner, ask for acceptance from others.

Wills has received letters from teachers and students who have said that they can identify with the song's story. According to him, "everyone can relate to [the song]…Everyone at some point in their life has been picked on, made fun of or put down."[2] He told Billboard magazine that the song is "one of the strongest songs I've ever recorded in terms of dealing with life in general."[3]

Music videoEdit

The music video was directed by Jim Hershleder and premiered in mid-1998. It features Wills performing the song at a school playground at night, witnessing scenes of bullying as depicted in the song.

Chart performanceEdit

"Don't Laugh at Me" debuted at number 69 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of July 18, 1998. The song peaked at number 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart on October 10, 1998 for two weeks and was kept out of the top spot by "Where the Green Grass Grows" by Tim McGraw.

Chart (1998) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[4] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 73
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 2

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1998) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[7] 29
US Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 26

Peter, Paul and Mary versionEdit

Peter Yarrow attended a performance by co-writer Seskin at the Kerrville Folk Festival, which led to his recording the song with Peter, Paul and Mary.[9] Their version appeared as the sole new recording on their compilation album Songs of Conscience and Concern. The song helped inspire Yarrow to found the non-profit organization Operation Respect, promoting tolerance and civility programs in education. The organization distributes curriculum programs under the "Don't Laugh At Me" name.[10] In conjunction with this program, the song has been made into a children's book including an afterword by Yarrow. Part of the proceeds from the book go to Operation Respect.

Lagwagon versionEdit

In 2014 Lagwagon recorded a punk rock version of this song which was published as "bonus track" from their record Hang.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 470–471. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  2. ^ a b c Van Ingen, Lori (2008-11-15). "Singer takes teasing to task: Mark Wills visits St. Leo 2nd-graders". Lancaster Online. Archived from the original on 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
  3. ^ Billboard, April 4, 1998
  4. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 7026." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 26, 1998. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Mark Wills Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  6. ^ "Mark Wills Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1998". RPM. December 14, 1998. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "Best of 1998: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1998. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  9. ^ JAN LINVILLE (Oct 7, 2010). "Hit Writer's Career Built on Honest Songs". Franklin Life. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  10. ^ "Don't Laugh at Me". The Advantage Press. Jan 2004. Archived from the original on April 3, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2011.

External linksEdit