James Corden credits Ricky Gervais after making nearly identical joke – The Washington Post

James Corden credits Ricky Gervais after making nearly identical joke – The Washington Post

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For years, social media sites have been decried as cesspools where trolls abound and users get mad about everything. That’s the point CBS late-night host James Corden was trying to make on Monday night when he took a crack at Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk and his penchant for describing the platform as a “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 [who] go, ‘I don’t want to play the guitar! I want to play the piano!’ ” Corden said, arms flailing. “Well, then that sign wasn’t for you. It was for somebody else! You don’t have to get mad about all of it.”
Laughs broke out in the audience of “The Late Late Show.” But Twitter users realized that same joke had been made before — almost word-for-word, by another well-known comedian.
In which James Corden basically does a Ricky Gervais joke word for word pic.twitter.com/8MfkrBo8Y0
Enter: Ricky Gervais during his 2018 Netflix special, “Humanity.”
“They choose to read my tweet, and then take that personally,” Gervais said of angry Twitter users that year. “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 … want guitar lessons.’
“Fine! It’s not for you, then,” he added. “Just walk away, don’t worry about it.”
The nearly identical punchline and phrasing prompted Gervais on Tuesday to post — and then delete — a tweet reading, “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant” alongside the clip of Corden.
When asked why he had excised the post, the five-time Golden Globes host said he “started to feel sorry” for Corden, with a laughing crying emoji included. Another user questioned whether Corden had asked to use the joke.
“No,” Gervais responded. “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.”
That might well be the case, according to a message Corden wrote on the same platform both comedians took a swing at.
“Inadvertently told a brilliant Ricky Gervais joke on the show last night, obviously not knowing it came from him,” Corden tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “It’s brilliant, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joke. You can watch all Ricky’s excellent specials on Netflix.”
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
Repeating material is nothing new in the comedy world. According to research by Patrick Reilly, an organizational theorist and economic sociologist, comedians throughout the early 20th century would perform jokes that had been told for some time, often snagging them from colleagues. But everything changed — and joke theft became a big deal — in the 1960s and 1970s, when televised shows and comedy clubs made it easier to catch comedians in the act.
Joke theft isn’t new. Joke theft via Twitter? That’s just the latest wrinkle.
“Representatives from television and film attended comedy clubs to scout new talent,” Reilly wrote in a 2018 journal article on the topic. “Performing others’ jokes would signal a lack of ability or, more tellingly, could deprive the original author of deserved opportunities.”
But while using another comedian’s jokes is generally frowned upon — and could constitute a copyright infringement in some cases — there’s no shortage of stars who’ve been accused of … well, a lack of originality.
James Corden admits to ‘rude,’ ‘ungracious’ remarks at Balthazar
Carlos Mencia, the former star of Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia,” has been accused of joke theft by George Lopez and Joe Rogan, who dubbed him “Men-Steal-ia” in 2007. Mencia denied the claims on LATV Network in 2019.
That same year, Conan O’Brien settled a lawsuit alleging he stole material from comedy writer Robert Alexander Kaseberg. O’Brien maintains that he had never heard of Kaseberg — attributing the similarities in their jokes to “topical comedy” and the pattern it follows.
And, most recently, people pointed to Amy Schumer’s 2022 Oscars monologue, alleging she had stolen a jab at Leonardo DiCaprio from a viral tweet. (Schumer denied doing so.)
Corden’s joke sampling follows another social media-driven drama for the late-night host. Last month, the “Carpool Karaoke” funnyman was accused of being rude to a server at Balthazar, a restaurant in New York City owned by Keith McNally. The comedian was then banned from the eatery over a dispute about an all-yolk omelet.
James Corden reminds us how not to complain at a restaurant
Corden eventually apologized for making a “sarcastic, rude comment about cooking [the omelet] myself,” and the quarrel was put to an end, with McNally lifting Corden’s Balthazar ban.

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