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Has James Corden Been Stealing Jokes From British Comedians For Years?!

James Corden Stole Jokes Ricky Gervais Standup Noel Fielding

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… and sometimes where there’s smoke, there’s another kind of smoke? OK, the metaphor is breaking down, but what we’re trying to say is… jerks will be jerks??

There’s been a lot of noise lately about whether James Corden was rude to servers. After the owner of NYC’s Balthazar gave him a very public ban, recounting a couple nasty incidents, there was a long back-and-forth of apology, non-apology, and denial. Meanwhile completely unrelated stories were starting to come out — and we got lots of hints from folks who worked on his show that he was an entitled a-hole there, too.

Well, that all might have been just the tip of the iceberg… We expected more stories about diva behavior, but it didn’t even occur to us he could be a joke thief!

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On Tuesday, Ricky Gervais blasted the Late Late Show host after hearing one of his own standup bits being done during his monologue. Corden was talking about Elon Musk taking over Twitter and joked:

“When you see Elon Musk talk about Twitter, he does this thing where he goes ‘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 wanna play the piano you piece of s**t!’ But that sign wasn’t for you, it was for somebody else, you don’t have to get mad about all of it.”

It’s a funny takedown of Twitter generally, but we weren’t sure how much it had to do with what Musk is doing. As it turns out, maybe that’s because it was a joke from 2018, long before the billionaire emptied his pockets for the social media app!

Folks noticed right away that it was basically the EXACT same joke Ricky told in his Netflix special Humanity, in which he said:

“They can be following me without me knowing, choose to read my tweet, and then take that personally. That’s like going into a town square, seeing a big notice board and there’s a notice — guitar lessons — and you go, ‘but I don’t f**king want guitar lessons’. ‘Fine, it’s not for you then, just walk away. Don’t worry about it!'”

Yeah… See them spliced together (below):

Even Ricky agreed. He tweeted out a link to the video, writing:

“The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant

After a couple hours of ribbing, Corden apologized, writing:

“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.”

The Late Late Show‘s Twitter and YouTube accounts deleted the video btw. The apology is still up:

Eventually Gervais took down his tweet pointing out the plagiarism, and when a fan asked why, the Office creator replied:

“Started to feel sorry for him

Um, really? Because he was being blasted for stealing your joke? Well, not exactly. Gervais reasoned it probably wasn’t Corden’s fault, saying:

“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.”

Right… such a famous routine…

But the thing is, this isn’t the first time he’s been accused of lifting material off a fellow Brit comedian. Noel Fielding may not be a household name in the US, known mostly for The Great British Bakeoff, but in the UK he’s HUGE and has been for years. Years like 2017 when Corden was having a convo with Matthew Broderick and dropped the gem of a bit:

“If someone tries to mug you – so someone comes up and goes: ‘Give me your wallet, man,’ just go: [whispered] ‘You’re never gonna believe what’s happened.’ If you just go: ‘You’ll never guess what?’ They go like this, they go: ‘What?’ And it gives you time, you just bolt!”

Which was similar to the Mighty Boosh star’s “whisper” bit from Montreal’s 2010 Just For Laughs Festival, in which he joked that the “rules” of whispering were so strong that if you’re being mugged, and you whisper “oi, mate” he has to stop and respond, also in a whisper, “What is it?”

Ch-ch-check out the full thing at about the 4:30 mark (below):

That was pointed out at the time as well. Noel himself quote tweeted a fan saying:

“@JKCorden totally stole the whisper thing from @noelfielding11”

And added:

“Yes I believe this is my material x”

That video was also taken down. Though maybe Corden didn’t think Noel was a big enough name that he had to make a public apology? Maybe he didn’t want to draw attention to the habit of snagging bits from other British comics he thought his new Yank audience might not know?

Hard to blame that one on a writer, seeing as it wasn’t even in a monologue. That was impromptu!

What do YOU think, Perezcious comedy fans? Is joke thievery just another of James Corden’s more colorful personality quirks??

[Image via Late Night/The Late Late Show/The Jonathan Ross Show/YouTube.]

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Nov 02, 2022 16:38pm PDT