The Funniest, Most Outrageous Lyrics of Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

taylor swift  the eras tour singapore
‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Lyrics Are WildAshok Kumar/TAS24 - Getty Images

Taylor Swift’s surprise double album, The Tortured Poets Department, answers a lot of questions. Questions like: Matty Healy? Really? And: Hey, how did your dad feel about Matty Healy? And: Since you brought him up, did Matty Healy tell Lucy Dacus he’d kill himself if you guys didn’t get married? And, in a fun little twist: Do you think Charlie Puth is an underrated pop star?

But the biggest question TTPD answers, one that has dogged Swift her entire career and fractured her fan base, has nothing to do with Matty Healy, Joe Alwyn, Joe Biden, Joe the Camel, or whomever else Swift may or may not have dated. (Who cares?!?) It has to do with Swift herself and the potential limits of her genius. We all know she can pen a timeless bop and a devastating breakup ballad. But can she write a joke? In other words: Is Taylor Alison Swift funny?

Swift is no stranger to comedy. She’s been on SNL so many times that Lorne Michaels is practically part of her squad (the first one, not the new one). But for every funny Lonely Island cameo and charming late-night anecdote Swift has delivered, there’s been an equal number of clunky dad jokes and cringe interview quotes. So I was quite surprised when I started laughing out loud multiple times throughout the first half of TTPD.

Turns out Taylor Swift is funny. In fact, she’s hilarious—especially when she has zero fucks to give and nobody to perform in front of. Swift isn’t a stand-up comedian. She’s the funniest, most vicious friend in your group chat. From the Matty Healy insults to the self-aware shots she takes at herself, here are the funniest, most outrageous lyrics from The Tortured Poets Department.

saturday night live season 43
In TTPD, Taylor Swift makes us... laugh?NBC - Getty Images

“But Daddy I Love Him”

Now I’m runnin’ with my dress unbuttoned / Scrеamin’ “But Daddy I love him” / I’m havin’ his baby / No, I’m not, but you should see your faces

All the wine moms are still holdin’ out, but fuck ’em, it’s over

“But Daddy I Love Him” takes dead aim at the millions of people, including Swift’s parents, who did not want to see the pop star end up with the volatile and problematic frontman of the 1975. But as Swift confesses in this scorched-earth banger, she loves him and doesn’t give two shits what anyone thinks about it. Picture Swift, drunk on Healy’s nicotine-stained kisses, telling her dad that she and her new sentient cigarette of a boyfriend are pregnant, then immediately saying, “Just kidding! Gotcha!” It’s insane. It’s hilarious. It’s “Leader of the Pack,” if the Shangri-Las wrote it while they were locked away at Shutter Island.

Also, insulting your own fan base by calling them “wine moms”? This is Richard Pryor—level work, folks. More, please!

“I Can Do It with a Broken Heart”

I’m so depressed I act like it’s my birthday every day / I cry a lot, but I am so productive / Cause I’m miserable and nobody even knows! Try and come for my job

It’s like Taylor Swift woke up one day and decided to ruin the Eras Tour for every girl still young enough to believe in long-term monogamous love. To which I say, good for you, blondie! It’s giving Lover House on fire, and I, for one, am living for these raw, day-three-of-your-period lyrics. The very best line is the kicker, in which Swift fires a warning shot at the incoming freshman class of pop-star girlies. She may as well have written, “I’m going to eat you alive, Olivia Rodrigo,” but “Try and come for my job” is just as good and leaves a little room for plausible deniability.

taylor swift performs during the eras tour concert at sofi stadium
"Wine moms?!" Easy on your fans, Tay! Allen J. Schaben - Getty Images

“The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived”

Was any of it true? / Gazing at me starry-eyed / In your Jehovah’s Witness suit / Who the fuck was that guy?

In the album notes of the TTPD vinyl edition, Swift declared in a poem that “it’s the worst men that I write best,” as if we didn’t already know this thanks to “Dear John.” But the earnest insults of “Dear John” don’t hold a candle to the vicious burns on “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived.” I’m sorry, but insulting your ex by referring to his outfit as a “Jehovah’s Witness suit” is a textbook hilarious dig. It sounds like a line from T. Swift’s new screenplay, Mean Girls, the Geriatric Millennial’s Version. And then following that up with a variation of the classic “new phone, who dis?” diss? Savage.


Even if it’s handcuffed, I’m leaving here with you

Swift has been exploring the “mad woman” character ever since 2020’s Evermore. But in “imgonnagetyouback,” she embraces the role for herself, delivering terrifying, hilarious lines that recall her “Blank Space” days. For what it’s worth, I’d be proud to have a crazy ex-girlfriend as hilarious as Taylor Swift and would welcome it if she forced me to leave a party handcuffed to her.

“The Black Dog”

I hope it’s shitty in the Black Dog / When someone plays “The Starting Line” /And you jump up, but she’s too young to know this song

Let the record show that we here at Esquire have always recommended dating someone your own age, if for no other reason than to avoid the exact situation Swift describes in these cutting lyrics from “The Black Dog.”

“Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”

So I lеap from the gallows and I levitate down your street / Crash the party like a record scratch as I scream / Who’s afraid of little old me? / Well, you should be

This is the campiest, craziest song Taylor Swift has ever written. I get the sense it may be her most truthful, too. It’s “Anti-Hero” on steroids. At the root of all great comedy is self-awareness. That’s why we say, “It’s funny because it’s true.” Swift’s description of herself as a toothless witch “levitating down your street” shows that she understands the mockery the media has made of her. She’s in on the joke. In fact, she’s laughing a little too loudly, and it’s making the rest of us a little nervous.

afc championship kansas city chiefs v baltimore ravens
When GTA VI comes out, I hope Taylor knows that she’ll likely never see Travis again. Patrick Smith - Getty Images

“The Tortured Poets Department”

I laughed in your face and said / You’re not Dylan Thomas, I’m not Patti Smith / This ain’t the Chelsea Hotel, we’rе modern idiots

Anyone who listens to the 1975 and has suffered through years of Matty Healy’s antics knows that the dude was ripe for a takedown. He’d been asking for it, and who better than Swift to deliver the total knockout by reminding Healy he’s a fuckboi, not a poet. Thank you, Taylor, for doing the Lord’s work.


My friends all smell like weed or little babies

If anyone ever asks me what it’s like to be in your mid-thirties, I will simply recite these lyrics.

“So High School”

Touch me while your bros play Grand Theft Auto

Unfortunately, I don’t think Swift was trying to be funny when she wrote this ode to her new beau, Travis Kelce. But not all humor is intentional, and sometimes the most cringeworthy lines are genuine knee-slappers.

You Might Also Like