On Friday night, Bill Maher dedicated a portion of the Season 19 finale episode of his hit HBO series Real Time to one of the week’s biggest news stories: Taylor Swift’s updated 10-minute rendition of “All Too Well,” a fan-favorite song off her acclaimed album Red.
The song, for the uninitiated, is inspired by the singer-songwriter’s two-month-long relationship with the actor Jake Gyllenhaal in 2010, when Swift was 20 and Gyllenhaal nine years her senior. In it, Swift alleges that Gyllenhaal committed a number of offenses, including being cold to her (and refusing her hand) at a dinner party, owning a “fuck the patriarchy” keychain (this claim is almost certainly false), breaking up with her by phone in a “casually cruel” manner, and keeping the scarf she’d left at his sister Maggie’s home.
Following the song’s release, Swift’s rabid army of fans have harassed Gyllenhaal and those in his orbit, including his girlfriend, his sister, and his godmother Jamie Lee Curtis.
“We are back on January 21st,” announced Maher during the show’s monologue. “That’s a lot of time—but I am going to need all that time to get through the new Taylor Swift song. This is all America seems to be talking about. And I don’t follow her as closely as I should. I remember she went out with Jake Gyllenhaal like… ten years ago, right? And now I hear she’s got this 10-minute song about how he did her wrong and I’m like, he did it again? No. It’s the same [thing]. Wow. And I thought Republicans were stuck in the past. Fuck.”
He then added, “But you can’t deny her popularity. It’s shooting up the charts with a bullet—the same one that Jake Gyllenhaal dodged.”
In the new “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),” Swift takes yet another parting shot at her ex of 11 years ago with the line: “And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punchline goes / ‘I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age.’” (Gyllenhaal, now 40, is reportedly dating a 25-year-old model, and they’ve been together for about four years.)
“Now, she’s very upset about the nine-year age difference that they had. Really?” asked Maher. “Yes, he was old enough to be your father’s stepson from another marriage. You know, you kids do a lot weirder shit than that. How about shake it off?”
Then again, Maher isn’t exactly an authority on relationships.