It seems like every late-night talk show host on American television is best friends with every single guest they ever have on their various after-the-news-and-before-bedtime programs. That’s part of the talk show format and the Hollywood game — hosts are gregarious, warm, and welcoming to the big movie, TV, and music stars gracious enough to fill airtime by plugging their latest film, show, or album. Arguably nobody is better at this nightly televisual glad-handling than James Corden. Prior to taking on hosting duties of CBS’s The Late Late Show, Corden was a well-known actor in his native United Kingdom, a standout on shows like Doctor Who and Gavin and Stacey who continues to act in big American movies like Ocean’s Eight, The Prom, and Cats.
Through his British celebrity, popular talk show, and film career, Corden knows just about everybody in the entertainment industry, but not everybody in the entertainment industry likes him; they couldn’t fake pleasantries on The Late Late Show if they tried. Here are some of the people of varying levels of fame who seemingly dislike James Corden or have publicly called him out for a grievance.
Bill Maher and James Corden went back and forth
At the end of a 2019 episode of his HBO show Real Time, Bill Maher discussed high obesity rates. His solution: make people feel bad about themselves for being overweight. “Fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback. Some amount of shame is good,” Maher said. “Shame is the first step in reform.” A few days later, James Corden took nearly eight minutes at the top of an episode of The Late Late Show to address Maher’s remarks.
“So I sat at home and I’m watching this and all I could think of, I was like, oh, man, somebody needs to say something about this!” Corden said. “If only there was someone with a platform who knew what it was actually like to be overweight, and then I realized, ‘Oh, that will be me.'” Corden reminded Maher that fat-shaming was still alive and well, adding that “there’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy, and we’re not.”
Following Corden’s plea for basic human decency, Maher fell back on his comments about obesity as a health issue. “You can’t keep eating as much as you want and as s***** as you want and expect us to cover the bill,” he said on an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, adding that Coren “missed a great opportunity to literally save lives” and that “he took the easy way out” by criticizing the Real Time host.
Asia Argento and Rose McGowan found James Corden's jokes extremely offensive
In 2017, a sea change in Hollywood took place, with the #MeToo movement and other organizations calling out men for decades of unchecked offenses of a sexual nature. Arguably the biggest catalysts was an October 5 New York Times story that revealed numerous allegations against studio mogul Harvey Weinstein. The entertainment industry was left shocked and reeling, and James Corden failed enormously to read the proverbial room. According to The Guardian, on October 13, 2017, he hosted a black-tie charity gala event for the AIDS research foundation amfAR, and he peppered his monologue with several jokes about Weinstein. For example, called the evening so lovely that Weinstein “has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.” Then he cracked, “It has been weird this week hasn’t it, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath, it’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water.”
Two of the women who accused Weinstein of deplorable acts of sexual violence didn’t think Corden’s jokes were all that funny. “Shame on this pig and everyone who grunted with him,” tweeted actor Asia Argento (via The Guardian), and Rose McGowan called Corden a “MOTHERF****** PIGLET.” Corden later apologized via a statement on Twitter, writing “I was not trying to make light of Harvey’s inexcusable behavior, but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims. I am truly sorry for anyone offended, that was never my intention.”
Ricky Gervais loves a chance to take a jab at James Corden
In many ways, Ricky Gervais and James Corden have lived out parallel careers. Both are comedians who came to prominence on British television shows they starred in and created in the 2000s —The Office and Gavin and Stacey, respectively — before jumping to movies, and eventually, hosting American TV productions (the Golden Globes for Gervais, and The Late Late Show for Corden).
According to a source close to the situation in The Sun, the seeds of a nasty rivalry were planted when Corden played Gervais on his 2009 sketch comedy series Horne and Corden. In the years since, Gervais has publicly teased and criticized Corden on multiple occasions. As The Sun‘s source said, “Ricky is now somewhat obsessed, attacking James when his jokes fall flat and poking fun of his size.”
For example, after Corden bombed with some Harvey Weinstein jokes at a gala just days after the producer was exposed as a serial abuser, Gervais told Radio Andy that Corden “didn’t do it well enough.” And at the 2020 Golden Globes, Gervais quipped, “The world got to see James Corden as a fat p****. He was also in the movie Cats, but no one saw that.” Oof.
James Corden had a run-in with Pierce Brosnan at a concert
Okay, this one isn’t a feud, but it is a story about a sour moment between two famous individuals. On The Late Late Show, host James Corden occasionally plays a potentially dangerous game with guests called “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts.” A twisted take on “Truth or Dare,” the rules require both parties to either tell an awkward truth or consume some kind of gross food. In a 2017 iteration against Khloé Kardashian, Corden had the choice of drinking bird saliva or to name a celebrity who was rude to him, and he chose the latter.
After some hesitation, Corden dropped the name: Pierce Brosnan. The chat show host said he once attended a U2 concert with his wife and some friends and was seated near Brosnan and his party, who left in the middle of the show. Brosnan’s group vacated a choice spot near a runway where U2 singer Bono would occasionally occupy, “so me and my wife moved into this area, and literally, I’ve never felt anything like it,” Corden said, describing how Brosnan “just pushed me out of the way.” Corden told Kardashian that Brosnan apparently didn’t acknowledge the interaction, before adding, “Maybe he’s just a bit f***ing rude.”
Patrick Stewart mocked James Corden at an award show
What’s this, another heated one-off? James Corden hosted the 2010 Glamour Women of the Year Awards, and a presenter that evening was another well-known entertainer: Sir Patrick Stewart. When the Star Trek icon got to the stage, he thought it was the right time and place to lay into Corden’s stage demeanor between hosting segments.
“When the presenters are up here and when the recipients are receiving their awards, don’t stand at the back of the stage with your hands in your pockets looking around as though you wished you were anywhere but here,” Stewart instructed. Corden tried to keep the show moving, apologizing if he appeared bored, adding, “But when you come up and present an award, just f****** get on with it.” Stewart didn’t get on with it. “From where I was sitting, I can see your belly, and that was right there over at the back of the room,” the venerated actor said. Corden replied, “You can see my belly, and we can all see you dying right now.” Stewart’s final retort was a quip to “cover your belly,” which made Corden wince in embarrassment, but not necessarily his own.
Stewart later apologized. “Patrick felt awful about the ugliness,” a representative told The Sun. “He had had a drink, his new girlfriend was there, and he just got carried away.” They eventually joked about the spat in a sketch for a Channel 4 charity special.
Ricky Whittle didn't appreciate James Corden's soap slander
Hollyoaks is one of British television’s most popular soap operas, airing in the early evenings on Channel 4 since 1995. It takes place in the fictional Chester suburb of Hollyoaks, and, like most daily, serialized, English-language dramas on both sides of the Atlantic, concerns the romantic and relationship entanglements of primarily young and attractive people. Ricky Whittle, best known to American audiences for his work on The 100 and American Gods, played constable and nightclub operator Calvin Valentine on the series from 2006 to 2011, during which time James Corden, who appeared on one episode of the soap in 2000, fired some verbal shots at the series. “I’d actually rather die than go back. It’s f****** awful,” Corden told Esquire (via Metro) of Hollyoaks in 2008. “It just breeds p***** – all these people walking around with this chicken-in-a-basket fame, talking about going to L.A., you know?”
Whittle threw the nasty shade right back at Corden. “It’s very childish that he’s slating the place where he came from, the place that made him,” the actor told whatsontv, before mocking Corden’s 2000s sitcom Gavin and Stacey. “I don’t know who he is and I’ve never seen the show he’s in. Is he Gavin?” Whittle closed out his remarks with a threat to Corden: “Good luck to him, I hope he doesn’t bump into us on a night out!”
Artie Lange doesn't think James Corden is remotely funny
Comedian Artie Lange got his big breaks in the 1990s as an original cast member of Mad TV and a star of Norm Macdonald’s cult classic Dirty Work. That led to one of the most prestigious gigs in radio: Lange served as a sidekick on the extremely popular The Howard Stern Show on radio from 2001 to 2009, when he was asked to take a hiatus from the show because of substance abuse issues. In 2019, Stern told The New York Times Magazine that he does “get sad talking about Artie” and there have been “many years of wanting Artie to get help.” For his part, Lange has lashed out at his ex-boss, as well as others with whom he’s recently associated, including James Corden.
On a 2016 episode of his podcast Artie Quitter (via Daily Mail), Lange criticized Stern’s persona, which has grown less raunchy and abrasive and more celebrity-friendly over the years. “He’s the only guy that could’ve said, ‘F*** you, I think Ellen [DeGeneres]’s dancing is stupid,'” Lange said, before confusingly dragging The Howard Stern Show guest Corden into the fray. “When James Corden opens his fat f****** mouth to do karaoke in a car — something that wouldn’t be f****** funny to the secretaries at an accounting firm, and gets an Emmy for it, I’m allowed to say he sucks.”
Liam Gallagher doesn't want to hitch a ride with James Corden
Every late night show has a signature schtick, a recurring comedy bit that keeps fans tuning in year after year. For Jimmy Kimmel Live, it’s celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves. For The Late Late Show with James Corden, it’s the host and an extremely famous singer driving around Los Angeles in a car singing along to the musician’s own songs in a segment called “Carpool Karaoke.” It’s Corden’s most popular contribution to the culture by far, and the likes of Adele, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga have taken part.
In a 2017 interview with GQ, Liam Gallagher, the former lead singer of ’90s alternative rock sensation Oasis, said that if asked, he would not do Karaoke. “No thank you very much,” he said. “No f****** chance mate. With that fat bloke from Kevin and Perry?” he added, seemingly referring to Corden’s old sitcom Gavin and Stacey. What’s more, Gallagher said, “James Corden is a knobhead.”
When the Daily Beast asked Corden if he’d caught wind of Gallagher’s remarks, the host said he had. And then, Corden offered up a sarcasm-drenched response: “I don’t know how we’ll even think of carrying on. Yeah, God, what will we do?”
TV writer Jack Allison called out James Corden
Jack Allison wrote for Jimmy Kimmel Live in the 2010s, and as such, he’s a member of the Writers Guild of America. In 2019, he told a story on Twitter about the time he went to a union that James Corden also attended: “I’d like to state once again for the record that I went to a WGA meeting for only late night writers, and James Corden showed up without any of his staffers to advocate for a lower pay grade for late night writers.” That means, according to Allison, Corden apparently made a special trip to ask a trade union to allow him to decrease the salaries of his own employees at The Late Late Show. Allison claimed that Corden wanted to hire “writers assistants” for 13-week stints instead of for longer periods as contracted, full-fledged writers, which by WGA rules would carry a higher salary. “He was framing it positively as ‘we want to give writers assistants a chance so maybe there should be a lower pay grade for them,'” he tweeted.
According to Allison, WGA officials quickly dismissed Corden’s request, while on Twitter, Corden related a different version of events. “I would never ever want to pay a writer less than they deserve. Never,” the talk show host wrote. “I love every writer on my show and all I ever wanted from that meeting was to explore whether talented people could get a better opportunity.” Allison dug his heels in, tweeting, “What I said was accurate.”
Prominent film critics detested James Corden in The Prom
The Prom hit Broadway in 2018 and earned seven Tony Award nominations. The musical is about a bunch of narcissistic New York theatrical actors use a small town controversy — the high school won’t allow a gay female student to take her girlfriend to her prom — as a cause to cynically embrace and promote themselves. The film version arrived on Netflix in late 2020 and it featured a cast including Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and James Corden as Barry Glickman, possibly the most self-absorbed of the New York contingent. The character is also openly gay, while Corden is not, and his interpretation of the role earned him some pointed criticisms.
Erik Anderson of the awards show tracker AwardsWatch called Corden’s portrayal “gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time.” Indiewire news editor Zack Sharf called out the tension between how “The Prom shouts tolerance but has James Corden leaning into effeminate gay stereotypes every chance he gets. (“Gayface” refers to those “effeminate gay stereotypes.”) And as Richard Lawson, the chief movie critic at Vanity Fair, wrote, “No more straight actors playing gay men until the sins of The Prom are properly atoned for.”
Evidently, some members of the press weren’t put off by the performance: Corden was nominated for a Golden Globe. Sacha Baron Cohen ultimately nabbed the award for his work in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
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