James Corden’s biggest controversies as his final Late Late Show episode airs

British star has had his ups and downs in recent years

Tom Murray
Friday 28 April 2023 08:20 BST
James Corden recalls pranking Adele in final Carpool Karaoke session

James Corden’s time as the host of The Late Late Show on CBS comes to an end tonight following an eight-year run in the presenter’s chair.

The British entertainer has a star-studded week of guests lined up ahead of his last show, including a final Carpool Karaoke session with Adele.

Since arriving in the US in 2015, Corden has gone from being the beloved star of the hit BBC comedy series Gavin & Stacey to a global phenomenon, appearing in major Hollywood movies and forming personal relationships with A-listers like Tom Cruise.

However, the dizzying heights Corden has reached have also been marked by some embarrassing lows. Over the years, Corden has been accused of exhibiting diva behaviour and stealing jokes from other comedians.

Read on to find a timeline of the entertainer’s biggest controversies.

2010: Patrick Stewart row at the Glamour Awards

James Corden and Patrick Stewart square off at the 2010 Glamour Awards
James Corden and Patrick Stewart square off at the 2010 Glamour Awards (Rex Features)

A moment of genuine drama unfolded at the 2010 Glamour Awards ceremony as Corden clashed with X-Men star Patrick Stewart on stage.

As he walked up on stage, Stewart told Corden to get his hands out his pockets and accused him of “looking around as if you would rather be anywhere in the world but here”.

”Oh! You couldn’t be more wrong, sir. You couldn’t be more wrong,” Corden responded. “Genuinely. And if it looked like that, I’m so sorry. But when you come up and present an award, just f***ing get on with it.”

Stewart kept the argument going, making fun of Corden’s weight: “From where I was, I could see your belly and that was from right at the back of the room.”

As the actor paused, Corden hit back: “I’m waiting for the punchline. Go on. No, seriously, go on. No, go on! You could see my belly, and we can all see you dying right now.”

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He concluded: “OK, can we get a taxi really quickly please. There’s an old man going home.”

2017: Weinstein jokes at the amfAR Gala

Corden received backlash for his stint as host at the AmfAR Gala – an HIV/Aids fundraiser – in Los Angeles, where he chose to comment on the then-ongoing sexual harassment scandal involving Harvey Weinstein.

The comedian quipped: “This is a beautiful room. It’s a beautiful night here in LA. So beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.”

Corden continued with: “It has been weird this week though, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath.”

James Corden speaks onstage during the amfAR Gala Los Angeles 2017
James Corden speaks onstage during the amfAR Gala Los Angeles 2017 (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for FIJI Water)

The actor’s jokes about the disgraced Hollywood film mogul were met with harsh reprisals from the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Rose McGowan, who alleges that Weinstein raped her.

Corden later apologised for the awards show segment, tweeting: “To be clear, sexual assault is no laughing matter. 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.”

2020: Accusations of ‘gayface’ in Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Prom’

In 2020, the actor was accused of portraying “gross and offensive” gay stereotypes in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix musical, The Prom.

Corden – who is straight – plays ailing gay Broadway star Barry Glickman in the film. AwardsWatch’s Erik Anderson described the Brit’s performance as “the worst gayface in a long, long time”.

IndieWire writer Zack Sharf tweeted: “The Prom shouts about tolerance but has James Corden leaning into effeminate gay stereotypes every chance he gets.”

In an article about Corden’s “insulting” performance for Vanity Fair, Richard Lawson said that Corden is “so bad” that “no more straight actors” should play gay men “until [the film’s] sins are properly atoned for”.

‘The Prom’

2022: Balthazar restaurant scandal

Last year, Corden was branded a “tiny cretin of a man” and banned from New York City restaurant Balthazar over his alleged treatment of the staff.

The owner of the eatery Keith McNally alleged on Instagram that The Late Late Show host was “the most abusive customer to my Balthazar servers since the restaurant opened 25 years ago”.

However, McNally rescinded the ban shortly after and claimed that Corden had “apologised profusely” and “all was forgiven” in a second post.

Corden later addressed the controversy on his talk show, saying: “The truth is I have made a rude, rude comment. And it was wrong. It was an unnecessary comment, it was ungracious to the server.”

As the saga unfolded, however, a clip resurfaced online showing the Gavin and Stacey star being unable to name members of the crew on The Late Late Show.

2022: Joke-stealing accusations

Just months after the restaurant scandal, Corden was accused of stealing one of Ricky Gervais’ stand-up jokes.

On 31 October, Corden told his Late Late Show crowd: “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, ‘cause 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 wanna play the guitar! I wanna play the piano, you piece of s***!’

“It’s like, ‘That sign wasn’t for you – it was for somebody else. You don’t have to get mad about all of it.’”

James Corden (left) and Ricky Gervais
James Corden (left) and Ricky Gervais (Shutterstock)

The joke was practically identical to one Gervais made in his 2018 special Ricky Gervais: Humanity.

Gervais himself drew attention to the similarities before swiftly deleting the Twitter post.

Corden addressed the subject hours later, writing on the Late Late Show’s official Twitter page: “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 With James Corden airs weeknights at 12:37am EST on CBS in the US. The final episode will air on 27 April.

UK viewers can tune into on Sky Comedy the next day at 11:50pm GMT.

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