James Corden had to be warned over harsh Ricky Gervais sketch for going too far
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James Corden’s recent restaurant antics have attracted debate from across the internet, with even British comedian Ricky Gervais wading in with a sly 'worst dinner party ever’ reference on Twitter – the latest in a long-running series of digs between the two stars. Watch Corden's sketch about Gervais that's believed to have started it all off here:
Earlier this week, James Corden was labelled the 'most abusive customer' by restaurant owner Keith McNally, who shared details alleged incidents between Corden and members of his staff at Balthazar, New York.
While Corden apologised and has since been unbanned, Gervais took the opportunity to re-share a tweet of an old clip from his Netflix comedy-drama After Life, which sees his character Tony discussing dream dinner party companions with colleague Kath (Diane Morgan) - who said Corden would be her ‘number one’ choice.
Kath says: "We could do carpool karaoke. That man can do anything. I know the cool kids don't like him but he never stops working. He's a grafter like me."
Tony then laments with Kath's decision to bring Princess Diana back if the royal has to be stuck in a room with her 'and James f**king Corden'.
Upon Kath revealing her next choice of Rowan Atkinson, Johnson states: "You've invited multi-millionaire Rowan Atkinson along to a dinner party with you, a dead woman and James Corden and you expect him to stay in character as Mr f**king Bean?"
But this isn’t the first time Gervais and Corden have taken an aim at one another – whether genuinely or, as Gervais has claimed, as a bit of fun.
In 2009, Corden parodied Gervais’ infamous The Office character David Brent in a sketch for his series with Mathew Horne, Horne and Corden, pretending Brent had been cast in a fictitious 14th Karate Kid sequel.
In the same show, he also channelled his inner Brent in another sketch set in WWI trenches, and one which saw him recreate the character's famous dance moves.
Horne – who famously once snubbed Corden by refusing to be interviewed with him - later revealed on Never Mind the Buzzcocks that he’d actually had to rein Corden in on his performance, with Newsweek reporting that the star had ‘taken it too far’.
A few years later, Corden and Gervais were both hosting major awards ceremonies, with Corden vowing not to take on his fellow comedian’s infamously offensive style.
"I’m not going to go down the Ricky Gervais road because, well, you can’t in that room, anyway – there’s a big difference between the O2 and the dining room in the Beverly Hilton," Corden told The Mirror at the time.
"Basically, I want to host the Brits with as much warmth and sensitivity as possible. Fewer gags.
"Mostly I’ve been following guidance from the producers. They’re encouraging a positive, upbeat, interesting show as opposed to anything particularly risqué."
Gervais then criticised Corden’s attempt at a risqué Harvey Weinstein joke, which he delivered while hosting an amFar charity dinner.
"When you do a contentious joke or talk about a taboo subject, it's got to be a great joke," Gervais said on Radio Andy.
"You can't just bounce out there and do jokes about abuse and rape. You've got to be very intelligent when you do it.
"There's got to be a point to it. He did it like it was light entertainment. He didn't do it well enough."
However, earlier this year, Gervais insisted that his supposed beef with Corden was simply a bit of ‘fun’.
"James did an impression of me in his show, I didn't take it personally, it's just fun," he said.
"I've got no animosity. People will think that though, but as long as they [the subjects] don't, that's all I care about."
He also told The Sun in 2020 that there was ‘no feud’ between him and Corden, adding: "James' impression of me in his sketch show was also friendly teasing, and I took no offence to that."
Corden has also previously defended Gervais, saying in 2011 ‘people should keep their hands off him’.
According to the Mirror, he added: “If I only managed to do half of what he has done I will consider myself a success.”