James Corden Says He 'Inadvertently' Told An Old Ricky Gervais Joke On The Late Late Show

The presenter insisted he "obviously" didn't know the material wasn't original.
The Late Late Show with James Corden
The Late Late Show with James Corden
CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

James Corden has responded to criticism that he appeared to copy a joke originally made by Ricky Gervais – saying he delivered it “obviously not knowing it came from him”.

The Late Late Show host gave a monologue during Monday’s episode of the US talk show where he addressed Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover and told a gag which viewers noted was remarkably similar to one from Ricky’s 2018 stand-up show Humanity.

In his version of the joke, James said: “When you see Elon Musk talk about Twitter he does this thing where he goes, ‘Well, it’s the town square’.

“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!’

“Well that sign wasn’t for you, it was for someone else. You don’t have to get mad about all of it!”

Responding to the accusations on the official Late Late Show’s Twitter account, James said: “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. You can watch all Ricky’s excellent specials on Netflix. J x”.

It didn’t go unnoticed by Ricky, who drew attention to the similarities in a since-deleted Twitter post in which he shared the clip and wrote: “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.”

The After Life creator then defended James after a Twitter user asked if he had asked permission to use the joke.

“No. I reckon one of the writers ‘came up with it’ for him,” Ricky replied.

“I doubt he would knowingly just copy such a famous stand up routine word for word like that.”

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais
Mike Marsland via Getty Images

In April, James announced that he was stepping down as host of The Late Late Show.

More recently, the actor and presenter found himself at the centre of a heated online dispute with the owner of Balthazar restaurant in New York for alleged bad behaviour.

He was briefly barred from the Manhattan restaurant last week after its 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 James to be “banned” from other venues.

The British star 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.


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