James Corden responds to accusations he copied Ricky Gervais joke

James Corden has responded to criticism that he appeared to copy a joke originally made by Ricky Gervais – saying he delivered it “obviously not knowing it came from him”.

The host of the US programme The Late Late Show gave a monologue during Monday’s episode addressing Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover and told a gag which viewers noted was remarkably similar to one from Gervais’s 2018 stand-up show Humanity.

Comedian Gervais, 61, drew attention to the similarities in a now-deleted Twitter post.

In the joke, Corden says: “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. Because 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 want to play the guitar! I want to play the piano, you piece of shit!’”

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

Responding to the accusations, Corden, 44, tweeted from The Late Late Show account: “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”.

Gervais defended his fellow comedian earlier in the day after a Twitter user asked if Corden asked permission to use the joke.

He replied: “No. 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.”

In April, Corden said he will be stepping down as host of The Late Late Show.

The actor and comedian was recently in a heated online dispute with the owner of Balthazar restaurant in New York for alleged bad behaviour.

He was briefly barred from Balthazar in Manhattan last week after its owner Keith McNally claimed he had been “extremely nasty” to his staff on two separate occasions about a meal involving an omelette.

Mr McNally posted about the incident on social media which prompted a strong backlash, with calls for Corden to be “banned” from other venues.

Corden later addressed the incident during an episode of The Late Late Show and said it was “never my intention” to upset staff – but acknowledged he had been “ungracious” during the incident.