Ricky Gervais says horrified James Corden apologised after joke saga

James Corden and Ricky Gervais tell similar jokes

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James Corden was skewered by fans after one of his Late Late Show monologues sounded very similar to one of Ricky Gervais’ jokes from 2018. Now, Ricky has revealed that James personally contacted him after the realisation was made and was “horrified” by the situation.

Speaking to the Headliners podcast, Ricky said James had called to apologise, and he had told the Late Late Show host not to worry about it. 

He defended James, adding: “Whatever you think of James Corden there is no way he knowingly ripped off my joke and thought he’d get away with it.

“It was the biggest special of the year. There is no way he thought ‘I can rip him off’. No chance.”

Ricky had found some comedy in the entire situation, albeit it wasn’t the type of hilarity the writers had planned. 

He said: “I thought it was funny. I thought it was absurd that it was such an obvious rip-off.”

Ricky admitted that it could have been possible that one of the Late Late Show writers watched his show five years ago and had forgotten about the line, only to think they had made it up on their own. 

The comedian revealed that this is a more common occurrence in the industry than people may think, and didn’t hold it against James as he isn’t the one who penned the segment. 

He said: “There are some plagiarists but a lot of it is genuinely accidental. 

“That is clearly my routine but I don’t think he came up with it at all. 

“I think a writer pitched that to him and didn’t tell him it was mine, or the writer forgot.”

James told the joke in late October, as Elon Musk prepared to take over Twitter.

The tech mogul had compared the social media platform to a town square, but James argued to the contrary. 

He said on the show: “Because if someone puts up a poster in a town square that says, ‘Guitar lessons available’, you don’t get people in the town square saying: ‘I don’t want to play the guitar! I want to play the piano, you piece of s***!’ 

“Well that sign wasn’t for you, it was for somebody else, you don’t have to get mad about all of it.”

Viewers noticed the joke was incredibly similar to a line Ricky said during his 2018 Netflix special, Humanity. 

The segment went semi-viral and in a now-deleted tweet Ricky himself referenced his own joke. 

He sarcastically commented: “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.”

While Ricky’s comment was one of the tamer pieces of backlash James received over the bit, the After Life creator deleted the comment and has said he “felt sorry” for James.

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