Despite putting on a brave face, James Corden is not having a good week. In fact, as those fast-moving nails prove, the exact opposite is true.
A seemingly trivial row about the chat show host’s wife being served a yolk-only omelet that contained a rogue streak of egg white at New York restaurant Balthazar erupted on October 17. . and still raging for almost three weeks.
It seems that every day has brought something new. He was banned from the venue, then made an apology, was ‘unbanned’, tried to justify himself, was called a liar and was banned again. None of it made him look any better.
Indeed, the omelet-gate fallout has unleashed a stream of abuse on a global scale — to the point where one can’t be sure if Corden’s reputation hasn’t been irreparably tarnished.
Despite putting on a brave face, James Corden is not having a good week. In fact, as those fast-moving nails prove, the exact opposite is true
It’s open season on Corden. This week he had to apologize for plagiarizing, seemingly unwittingly, a Ricky Gervais joke on The Late Late Show on CBS. He has also been accused of breaking a Noel Fielding routine back in 2017. ‘Yes. I believe this is my material,’ Fielding wrote on Twitter.
His critics, and there are many, love it. ‘It’s all over but the crying, fat boy,’ one wrote online yesterday.
There are those who believe that it is nothing less than this ‘offensive’ man deserves. As a former colleague told me with pleasure: ‘This has been a long time coming, hasn’t it?’
The Late Late Show host was banned from a New York restaurant, then apologized, got ‘unbanned’, tried to justify himself, was called a liar and got banned again
Another source described Corden as ‘a very complicated and very insecure person who can behave very badly – and I’ve seen him do it.’
Friend Ruth Jones, with whom he co-wrote the hit TV comedy Gavin & Stacey, has previously said his business is a rollercoaster because there are two versions of James Corden, and one is prettier than the other
Even mild-mannered actor Eddie Redmayne, who went to stage school with him, said only a few weeks ago that his behavior can be very mean.
Redmayne told a story of Corden bothering him on The Late Late Show by airing a full two-and-a-half-minute clip of the Oscar-winning star singing Memory while at school. ‘I just squirmed a bit,’ said Redmayne. ‘It was public ritual humiliation.’
Now that the boot is on the other foot, Corden’s friends are outraged and believe the episode is taking a serious toll. ‘This has been very difficult, very difficult,’ I am told. ‘It would be a lot for everyone to deal with.’
This week he had to apologize for plagiarizing, apparently unknowingly, a Ricky Gervais joke on The Late Late Show on CBS
They add: ‘Does he have to talk about that every day for the rest of his life? What is happening is massively unfair and so bizarre.’
Perhaps Corden’s big problem is why, despite all the feel-good hit shows, his established family life, boy-next-door air and strikingly good works, there is a vocal group that the actor just can’t stay, who was raised by supportive and deeply Christian parents in Buckinghamshire.
One source, who has spent time with him several times over the years, told me this week: ‘Up to this point he’s been a double lottery winner – he’s a comic actor who’s risen to incredible fame , much of which has to do with his knack for networking with brilliant, useful people like [TV producer] Ben Winston, the genius behind The Late Late Show and Friends: The Reunion, which he fronted.
‘James has been lucky and smart. The problem is that he has been sold to us as the boy next door when in fact he is a powerful man. He has a stylist and a tailor and a nutritionist and is as Hollywood as they come.
‘His friends are all famous. His wife is a power player, besties with Adele and Meghan Markle.
‘When he gets “caught” as a member of his multi-millionaire media clan, everyone thinks he’s fake, but actually he’s not. That person who sent back an omelette and was upset about it is now exactly who he is.’
A seemingly trivial row about the wife of the chat show host (pictured) who served a yolk-only omelet containing a rogue streak of egg white at Balthazar restaurant in New York erupted on October 17.
It is worth noting at this point that we have been here before. Back in 2008, there was a setback when Corden, at the height of his fame after the success of Fat Friends and then Gavin & Stacey, began a party-hard period.
He seemed to live in the Groucho Club. He tried to date Lily Allen and gave singer Alexandra Burke a £4,000 watch to convince her of his intentions. He dated, and dumped, Sheridan Smith.
As he admitted in his memoirs, he was rude, self-centered and ‘lost’ after too many parties.
An intervention by his mother and father, Malcolm and Margaret, showed him the error of his ways.
“I felt so ashamed of the way I had lived my life, the arrogance and the lack of respect I had shown myself and my work,” he said.
Corden admitted in his memoirs that after too many parties he was rude, self-centered and ‘lost’
Has he reached another personal low? It is true that he is going through an important period of change, both professionally and personally. In April, he announced that he would not be renewing his contract with CBS as the host of The Late Late Show, despite major offers to stay, and will return to the UK next year. The family’s £6million home in London sold this spring and their £7.5million home in Los Angeles was quietly put up for sale in October.
He cites his three children with wife Julia (Max, 11, Carey, eight, and four-year-old Charlotte) as the reason for leaving America at the height of his success, saying he realized how quickly they were growing up and didn’t want to spend more time with them.
He is said to not know what he will do from the summer of 2023 when he returns, but more acting and writing seems likely.
His performance in the Amazon drama Mammals is praised. He has also written two scripts for feature films.
Certainly, it seems that the actor is already entertaining thoughts that he is taking a huge risk, and may never have success on this scale again.
In an interview with the Radio Times, he said that he had ‘made peace’ with the possibility that his return could be considered a failure.
‘I think that failure is necessary, for every person. You need it. I am at peace with the idea that it can never get this big again. Either way, the worst case scenario is that I take my kids to school and pick them up every day.’
For those who need to remember, the current crisis began when the owner of Balthazar in New York, Keith McNally, wrote on Instagram that Corden had been a ‘cretin’ and ‘abuse’ for staff. Apparently, he sent back his wife’s omelet because it had egg whites in it, and when the returning dish had the wrong accompaniment, Corden lost his head, yelled and offered to cook it himself.
k eith McNally said the ‘extremely annoying’ star was banned from the venue. A day later, he said Corden had called to apologize ‘profusely’ and that he had been fired.
It was unlucky for Corden that this coincided with a press tour to promote mammals, as he promptly gave an interview to the New York Times, in which he made everything much worse by showing what came across as cockiness.
He told the interviewer: ‘I have done nothing wrong, on any level. I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so stupid. I just think it’s among all of us. It’s under you. It is certainly under your publication.’
Being big, when a humble apology was obviously in order, was a wrong move. Corden himself has always admitted that he has a pompous side: ‘This arrogance thing . . . I’ve had that all my life’, he once said.
‘I flip between, “Oh really? Oh thank you. Wow. That’s awesome.” And: “Yes! Of course I am.” ‘
A friend of Corden said the incident was deeply unfair.
‘What happened here is that the restaurateur discovered that talking about James Corden was really great for business.
‘In the real world, people love him on the street, all the major networks want to work with him and he makes millions of people around the world laugh.
‘A lot of it is driven by pure jealousy. He has done better than any other British person who has gone to America to try to have the same journey. I think he wouldn’t get half the amount of abuse if he wasn’t working class. A lot of online comments are focused on his weight.’
As Corden said last weekend, he believes that many of his detractors are snobs. ‘I think there’s definitely a world of people who think that someone who went to a comprehensive in High Wycombe and got two GCSEs wouldn’t do what I do.’
Speculations that the staff on his show don’t like him, and therefore wrote old jokes into his scripts, are denied.
I am even told that he personally paid the wages of his ‘team’ during the pandemic. He will be in the bosom of that ‘work family’ until the summer of 2023 when he resigns from The Late Late Show for the last time.
What the future holds for Corden on this side of the Atlantic is still unclear. One thing’s for sure, though: waiters can look forward to some generous tips – but omel