- James Corden has come under fire in recent weeks for reportedly being rude to restaurant workers.
- Then, comedian Ricky Gervais said that one of Corden’s writers had plagiarized a joke.
- Here’s a timeline of all the drama that’s happened, causing Corden to apologize.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for late-night TV host James Corden.
The comedian has been banned (and subsequently unbanned) from a high-profile New York City restaurant Balthazar, and has also come under fire for re-telling a joke from Ricky Gervais during an episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden.”
Even more recently, fans noticed Corden appeared to retell a joke from “The Mighty Boosh” creator Noel Fielding during a 2017 episode of “The Late Late Show.” When Fielding was alerted to the joke in 2017, he reportedly tweeted, “Yes I believe this is my material.”
Corden has since apologized to Gervais and the workers at Balthazar, but some on social media are wondering if the comedian is on his way to getting “canceled.”
Keep reading for a timeline of Corden’s drama in the past few weeks.
On October 17, restaurateur Keith McNally slammed Corden in a lengthy Instagram post
“James Corden is a Hugely gifted comedian, but a tiny Cretin of a man,” McNally’s post began. After calling the late-night host “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago,” McNally revealed that he’d banned Corden from the SoHo restaurant, despite never having banned a customer before.
The restaurant owner went on to detail two instances of Corden’s allegedly “abusive” behavior towards staff at Balthazar — a buzzy, high-profile restaurant in SoHo serving French cuisine — citing managers’ reports from June and October.
In the first instance, McNally said Corden was “nasty” to Balthazar’s manager after finding a hair in his food. Corden then demanded that the manager cover all of their drinks and bring another round immediately, otherwise the comedian would leave a “nasty” Yelp review, according to McNally’s post.
In the second instance McNally detailed, Corden became angry with waitstaff after the kitchen made a mistake with his wife’s omelet order, “yelling like crazy” at the server and telling them they “can’t do their job.” After a manager brought over complimentary champagne, McNally said, things calmed down, but Corden was still “nasty” to the server.
Corden reportedly called McNally that same day to apologize for the incidents after McNally’s post garnered attention on Instagram
“James Corden just called me and apologized profusely,” McNally revealed in a subsequent post, shared the same day as the original. “Having fucked up myself more than most people, I strongly believe in second chances.”
The restaurateur joked that he’d allow Corden back at his restaurant if he was allowed to host “The Late Late Show” for nine months.
“Anyone magnanimous enough to apologize to a deadbeat layabout like me (and my staff) doesn’t deserve to be banned from anywhere. Especially Balthazar,” McNally continued.
He concluded his post by writing “All is forgiven.”
But then the drama continued after McNally took issue with Corden’s statement to the New York Times three days later
In an awkward interview with the Times, shortly after McNally’s initial accusations went viral, Corden denied that he “did anything wrong, on any level” during his visits to Balthazar.
“I was there. I get it. I feel so Zen about the whole thing,” Corden told Times reporter Dave Itzkoff in the October 20 article. “Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us.”
McNally didn’t take kindly to Corden’s comments and doubled down on his criticism of the late-night host while also defending his staff.
“I wish James Corden would live up to his Almighty initials and come clean. If the supremely talented actor wants to retrieve the respect he had from all his fans (all 4 of them) before this incident, then he should at least admit he did wrong,” McNally wrote in another impassioned Instagram post on October 21.
“If he goes one step further and apologizes to the 2 servers he insulted, I’ll let him eat for free at Balthazar for the next 10 years,” the restaurant owner added.
Many assumed that, based on McNally’s post, Corden had been re-banned from Balthazar. Representatives for Balthazar didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Corden’s subsequent on-air apology on October 24 appeared to put the issue to bed
Corden opened his October 24 show with his version of events, telling audience members that he had “made a rude comment” and hoped to apologize in person someday, as Insider’s Rachel Askinasi reported at the time.
“Last week, there were stories about me being banned from a restaurant,” the host explained.
Corden went on to reveal that he considered tweeting about the issue or saying something on Instagram after McNally’s initial post. But, in keeping with his usual way of dealing with “these sorts of moments,” Corden opted to follow the “British attitude of keep calm and carry on.”
According to Corden, the issue began when his wife told restaurant staff she had a food allergy and then received the food she was allergic to. The comedian said they received the meal “wrong” three times, which lead to him making a “sarcastic, rude comment” about cooking the food himself “in the heat of the moment.”
“It is a comment I deeply regret,” Corden said, adding that he worked in restaurants for years and understands the pressure that comes with the job, and as such, he has huge respect for those in the field.
“But here’s the truth of it,” Corden continued. “Because I didn’t shout or scream, like I didn’t get up out of my seat, I didn’t call anyone names or use derogatory language, I’ve been walking around thinking that I hadn’t done anything wrong.”
McNally, for his part, seemed satisfied by Corden’s on-air apology and said it “takes a real man” to apologize publicly.
“In the past, I’ve behaved much worse than Corden, but wasn’t man enough to apologize,” McNally wrote in yet another Instagram post on October 25.”For this reason, I’m going to lift the ban on Corden and impose one on myself instead. I’m going to ban myself from Balthazar for 2 weeks.”
“People who live in Glass Houses…” the restaurateur concluded.
But the comedian’s comments in an interview with the London Times published on October 28 caused McNally to call him out once again
In the London Times interview, Corden reportedly doubled down on his opinion that he did nothing wrong during his meals at Balthazar.
“I never screamed at anyone, I didn’t shout, didn’t call anyone a name or swear or use derogatory language… How is it remotely a thing?” he said, according to the Evening Standard.
“And now it’s fact, and that’s that. When that person who posted the story wasn’t even there. Just so odd,” Corden added.
He also reiterated that his wife’s egg white allergy is what made him send back the dish in the first place.
McNally didn’t take too kindly to Corden’s comments and accused the comedian of telling “a massive lie” yet again. The restaurant owner also said that upon watching Corden’s apology on “The Late Late Show” again, he found it to be “contrived and phony.”
“The actor will say anything to save his bacon,” McNally concluded, adding: “In the scheme of things my opinion means nothing, but after Friday’s interview and a second look at his fraudulent confessional, I’ve given up on James Corden. For Good.”
A few days later, Corden and his writers were accused of copying a joke from Ricky Gervais in his opening monologue for ‘The Late Late Show’
As Insider’s Rebecca Cohen originally reported on November 1, Corden poked fun at Elon Musk’s recent Twitter takeover during the monologue, noting that the new CEO has often referred to the social media platform as “the town square.”
“When you see Elon Musk talk about Twitter he does this thing where he goes ‘Well, it’s the town square,’” Corden said.
He continued: “But it isn’t. Because if someone puts up a poster in a town square that says ‘guitar lessons available,’ you don’t get people in the town going, ‘I don’t want to play the guitar! I want to play the piano, you piece of shit!’”
“That sign wasn’t for you, it was for someone else,” Corden said. “You don’t have to get mad!”
When the episode of “The Late Late Show” aired, numerous fans noted that Corden’s town square joke was lifted almost word for word from Gervais’ 2018 comedy special “Humanity.”
—Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) November 1, 2022
—Paul Anthony (@PaulFI9) November 1, 2022
In Gervais’ special, the comedian argued that everyone thinks the world revolves around them, particularly people on Twitter. Gervais said he can tweet something, and one of his followers might get mad about it, even though Gervais has no idea who that particular follower is.
“It’s like going into a town square and there’s a notice for guitar lessons and you go ‘but I don’t fucking want guitar lessons!’” Gervais said in the special.
After fans called out Corden for copying the joke, Gervais himself even weighed in on the similarities between his material and Corden’s in a since-deleted tweet, writing, per Rolling Stone UK: “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.”
And when a user asked Gervais if Corden had asked for permission to use the joke, the “Office” star said no.
“I reckon one of the writers ‘came up with it’ for him. I doubt he would knowingly just copy such a famous stand up routine word for word like that,” Gervais said.
—Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) November 1, 2022
Corden subsequently admitted that the joke was originally from Gervais
“Inadvertently told a brilliant Ricky Gervais joke on the show last night, obviously not knowing it came from him,” Corden tweeted from “The Late Late Show” Twitter account on November 1. “It’s brilliant, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joke.”
“You can watch all Ricky’s excellent specials on Netflix,” he concluded, signing off with an “x.”
—The Late Late Show with James Corden (@latelateshow) November 1, 2022
Shortly after the Gervais controversy, people revisited a different accusation of Corden copying another comedian during a 2017 episode of ‘The Late Late Show’
While chatting with Matthew Broderick on “The Late Late Show” in 2017 about being robbed, Corden joked that the most effective way to deter a robber would be to suddenly start whispering when the mugging began.
However, per a Daily Mail report on November 2, fans at the time realized the “Cats” star appeared to have lifted the entire bit from “The Great British Bake-Off” cohost Noel Fielding, including the set-up and whispered punchline.
Fielding joked in 2010 during his set at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal that the easiest way to avoid being mugged in London was to start whispering. Fielding also included whispered lines of dialogue between the would-be robber and a potential victim.
—Pop Crave (@PopCrave) November 3, 2022
And when a Twitter user pointed out the similarities between Corden and Fielding’s jokes back in 2017, the comedian reportedly retweeted the fan and voiced his agreement, writing: “Yes I believe this is my material,” per the Daily Mail.
Fielding’s tweet appears to have since been deleted.
Representatives for Corden, “The Late Late Show,” and Fielding didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.