James Corden denies intentionally stealing Ricky Gervais’ joke

James Corden has responded to accusations that he “stole” one of Ricky Gervais’ stand-up jokes.

The host of The Late Late Show made the quip in question on Monday (31 October). Viewers immediately highlighted that it was extremely similar to one made by Gervais in a Netflix special.

Gervais himself drew attention to the similarities in a now-deleted Twitter post.

In the clip, Corden said: “When you see Elon Musk talk about Twitter, he does this thing where he goes, ‘Well, it’s the town square.’ But it isn’t, ‘cause if someone puts up a poster in a town square that says, ‘Guitar lessons available,’ you don’t get people in the town going, ‘I don’t wanna play the guitar! I wanna play the piano, you piece of s***!’

“It’s like, ‘That sign wasn’t for you – it was for somebody else. You don’t have to get mad about all of it.’”

The joke was practically identical to one Gervais made in his 2018 special Ricky Gervais: Humanity.

Before swiftly deleting his post, Gervais wrote on Twitter: “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.”

However, when asked if he thought Corden had shamelessly stolen it, the comedian answered: “I doubt he would knowingly just copy such a famous stand-up routine word for word like that.”

Corden addressed the subject hours later, writing on the Late Late Show’s official Twitter page: “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”

James Corden addresses claims he ‘stole’ Ricky Gervais’ joke on ‘The Late Late Show’ (Twitter)
James Corden addresses claims he ‘stole’ Ricky Gervais’ joke on ‘The Late Late Show’ (Twitter)

The Independent has contacted both Gervais and Corden for comment.

Last week, Corden teased his forthcoming return to the UK after his final Late Late Show episode airs in summer 2023.