James Corden’s stateside success punctuated by controversy

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Despite his rampant stateside success as host of The Late Late Show, James Corden has occasionally found himself the subject of criticism and controversy.

The British comedian has more than once been forced to address his behaviour publicly.

From accusations of joke-stealing to poor restaurant etiquette, here the PA news agency looks at some of Corden’s most awkward gaffes.

– Alleged joke-stealing

Last year Corden responded to criticism that he appeared to copy a joke made by fellow British comedian Ricky Gervais – saying he delivered it “obviously not knowing it came from him”.

During a monologue on The Late Late Show addressing Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, the presenter told a gag which viewers noted was remarkably similar to one from Gervais’s 2018 stand-up show Humanity.

“Inadvertently told a brilliant Ricky Gervais joke on the show last night, obviously not knowing it came from him. It’s brilliant, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joke,” Corden later tweeted.

Gervais, 61, drew attention to the similarities in a now-deleted Twitter post, though later defended Corden, saying he doubted he would have told it “knowingly”.

It followed a similar incident in 2017, in which Corden was accused of copying a joke from Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding.

– New York City restaurant ban

Several months previously, Corden bore the brunt of online outrage following a public dispute with the owner of a high-end restaurant in New York for alleged bad behaviour.

He was briefly barred from Balthazar in Manhattan after owner Keith McNally claimed he had been “extremely nasty” to his staff on two separate occasions about a meal involving an omelette.

Mr McNally posted about the incident on social media which prompted a strong backlash, with calls for Corden to be “banned” from other venues.

Corden later addressed the incident during an episode of The Late Late Show and said it was “never my intention” to upset staff – but acknowledged he had been “ungracious” during the incident.

– Not knowing his crew’s name

Back in 2016 he was embarrassed during a segment of his show titled Spill Your Guts Or Fill Your Guts – a game involving answering personal questions or eating disgusting food.

Playing the game with fellow US chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, Corden was asked by Kimmel to “name two cameramen in this room”.

“That’s a great question,” Corden replied, looking sheepish and joking “it’s a different crew tonight actually”.

He later opted to drink a fish smoothie, rather than attempt to name the crew members.

– Cats the musical film

Corden attracted more criticism after starring in the 2019 live-action remake of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit stage musical Cats.

The film was widely panned by critics and audiences alike, despite featuring an A-list cast including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift.

Corden, who played gregarious Bustopher Jones, told The New Yorker he had “a great time” making the film but did not have plans to watch it.

He later poked fun at the movie during the 2020 Oscars, where he appeared alongside co-star Rebel Wilson to present the award for best visual effects dressed in comedy cat costumes.

However, Corden’s remarks prompted annoyance from the Visual Effects Society, which criticised him and the Academy for making the effects the “butt of the joke”.

– Sir Patrick Stewart

Prior to his Hollywood success, Corden caused a stir with a public row with Sir Patrick Stewart which resulted in the two exchanging verbal jabs on stage at the Glamour Awards in 2010.

Graham Norton Show – London
Corden fell out publicly at the Glamour awards in 2010 with Sir Patrick Stewart (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Corden responded with his own advice, that Sir Patrick should “f****** get on with it”, and later asked for a taxi to be ordered to take “the old man home”.

The pair have reportedly made up since the incident, and starred in a humourous skit together for the Channel 4 Comedy Gala in which they appeared in a bed together.

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