James Corden can’t stay out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A few weeks after New York restaurant mogul Keith McNally publicly banned the Late Late Show host from the popular Manhattan brasserie Balthazar — then un-banned him, then banned him again — Corden is back with a brand new controversy, sans egg whites.

Last night, Corden took a moment during The Late Late Show to talk about the ongoing drama surrounding Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter when he made a joke that felt eerily familiar to fans of acerbic British comedians — just a few hours after the show concluded, Twitter was ablaze with fresh Corden controversy when it was pointed out that one of Corden’s jokes comparing Twitter to “a town square” was practically identical to a joke that Rick Gervais made in his 2018 Netflix special Humanity. At least we’re not talking about his dinner anymore.

Parallel thinking happens a lot in comedy, but the very specific setup of comparing the act of posting a tweet to putting up a poster for guitar lessons in a town square feels more like a copy/paste job rather than lightning hitting the same place twice, especially when Corden used it to make the exact same point that Gervais already made four years ago.

After the video splicing the two jokes went viral, Gervais voiced his displeasure toward Corden copying his homework when he shared the clip from Corden’s show on Twitter with the caption, “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.” Gervais has since deleted the tweet, explaining to his followers that he “started feeling sorry for (Corden).” 

Gervais does not believe that the copycat bit was an intentional act of plagiarism on the part of Corden, sharing on Twitter, “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.”

Capital United Nations Entertainment

We hear Corden's working on a new sitcom called The Workplace

Corden responded to the controversy with a tweet of his own, telling an outraged Twitter, “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.”

Noticeably absent from Corden’s response are the words “I’m sorry,” or anything approaching an admission of guilt. Following his disappointing reaction to the Balthazar controversy, this apprehension toward accountability is a predictable reaction from Corden. Still, he did manage to get Twitter to stop talking about what an awful restaurant guest he is for at least a few hours.

Maybe Corden and Carlos Mencia can collaborate after Corden leaves The Late Late Show next year.

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