American actor and comedian Dave Coulier has reflected on the moment he realised that Alanis Morissette’s ‘You Oughta Know’ was written about him. The track, released as the lead single from Morissette’s 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, was one of that year’s biggest alt-rock songs, winning two Grammy Awards and topping the US Alternative Airplay chart.
Since its release, the inspiration behind the song has remained a closely-guarded secret by Morissette, much like the subject of Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’. However, in the years since, Coulier has gone on record to alternately confirm and deny that he is the subject of the track that made Morissette a household name.
Dave Coulier claims to be the subject of ‘You Oughta Know’
In a new interview with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts of SiriusXM, Coulier again claimed to be the song’s subject, recounting how he had dated Morissette prior to her recording the album.”We dated and she was writing all that Jagged Little Pill stuff during that time,” he explained.
“I never saw this angry white girl thing that people have kind of coined her as. I never saw that. She was funny, she was sweet, she was super intelligent, super talented,” he added. “I never saw that, but that was ’95 when Jagged Little Pill came out.”
Coulier said he first heard the song while driving in Detroit, and began to recognise similarities between the lyrics and his relationship with Morissette.
“I went to the record store, bought the CD,” he said. “I went and I parked on a street and I listened to the whole record and there was a lot of familiar stuff in there that her and I had talked about, like [in ‘Right Through You’], ‘Your shake is like a fish.’ I’d go, ‘Hey, dead fish me.’ And we’d do this dead fish handshake.
“So I started listening to it and I thought, ‘Oh, I think I may have really hurt this woman.’”
In an interview with Buzzfeed in 2014, Coulier denied the track was about him, claiming he had even asked Morissette what he should say when asked about whether he was the song’s subject. “I asked Alanis, ‘I’m getting calls by the media and they want to know who this guy is’,” he said. “And she said, ‘Well, you know it could be a bunch of people. But you can say whatever you want.’
“So one time, I was doing a red carpet somewhere and [the press] just wore me down and everybody wanted to know so I said, ‘Yeah, all right, I’m the guy. There I said it.’ So then it became a snowball effect of, ‘OH! So you are the guy!’ It’s just become this silly urban legend that I just have to laugh at.”
Alanis Morissette has always denied that ‘You Oughta Know’ was written about Coulier, including in the 2021 documentary, Jagged.