There’s one man who, for more than a decade, has been hankering to know just who Taylor Swift was referring to in her Fearless song “Hey Stephen.” That man is Stephen Colbert.
Colbert tried to get to the bottom of it during an interview with its creator on The Late Show. Truth be told, it wasn’t so much an interview as a sketch.
The late night host opened the segment by giving his viewers the low-down on Swift’s campaign to rerecord her entire catalog, starting with Fearless (Taylor’s Version).
With all that work to do, it made sense for Swift to zoom in from the studio where she’s rerecording her complete works. That’s exactly what she did.
So, was “Hey Stephen” written about Colbert? Nope. C’mon. Swift recorded it back in the day when she was 18, he was probably 44. “It’s just the power of music,” she explained, dismissing him. “Don’t flatter yourself.” Then, matters took a strange turn when Swift held up something she prepared earlier, a mood board stacked with pictures of Colbert.
Swift then flexed her comic-acting chops by walking us through some stalker-ish knowledge of Steph’s little-known table-waiting history and every fine detail down to his social security number.
“You Need to Calm Down” also isn’t about Stephen, maybe.
“Hey Stephen” is actually, in Swift’s own words, about the master of horror Stephen King. “He’s amazing. The Dark Tower series changed my life. Plus The Shining, The Stand. And don’t even get me started on his short stories.”
So that’s that. Or is it?
Earlier, during an earlier chat with Late Show bandleader and new BAFTA winner Jon Batiste, Colbert insisted he was “ready to join the squad. If the squad is still a thing?”
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is flying to the summit of the U.K. Albums Chart, where it should give Swift her seventh straight No. 1. The new, revisited set is also expected to blast to the top reaches of charts around the globe.
Watch the Late Show segment below.