Ricky Gervais tweets as James Corden accused of stealing his joke ‘word for word’

Ricky Gervais conceded he didn’t think James Corden had deliberately borrowed the joke   (PA Archive)
Ricky Gervais conceded he didn’t think James Corden had deliberately borrowed the joke (PA Archive)

Comedian James Corden has been accused of stealing a routine from a Ricky Gervais stand-up sketch on The Late Late Show.

The After Life creator pointed out similarities between the Gavin and Stacey star’s gag in the opening monologue of the talk show and one of his own jokes in a now-deleted tweet.

Corden, who is facing criticism after he was banned from a top New York restaurant due to his treatment of waiting staff, is now facing allegations of copying one of Gervais’s most famous jokes.

During a Halloween special on Monday night, Corden discussed Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the billionaire’s plans to charge verified users for their blue ticks.

Corden said: “When you see Elon Musk talk about Twitter, he does this thing where he goes ‘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 wanna play the piano you piece of s***!’”

He finished: “But that sign wasn’t for you, it was for somebody else, you don’t have to get mad at all of it.”

After he made the joke, the clip was shared on the Corden show’s Twitter account, where many UK fans were quick to point out that it appeared to be almost a carbon copy of a joke by Ricky Gervais in 2018.

In the Ricky Gervais joke from his Humanity gig, the comedian made a dig at social media users who take things too personally on Twitter.

In the sketch, he said: “They choose to read my tweet, and then take that personally.”

“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 f***ing guitar lessons’.”

Gervais added: “Fine, it’s not for you then, just walk away. Don’t worry about it!”

Having noticed the similarities between Corden’s joke and his own, Gervais shared the clip on Twitter, with the words: “The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant.”

Later, he deleted the tweet, and appeared to come to Corden’s defence, pointing out it appeared to be someone else on the team who’d written the script.

In response, some fans criticised him, with one saying: “Didn’t deliver it like you though,” before adding: “I assume he asked to use that joke?”

Another added simply: “James Corden stealing a Ricky Gervais joke during a monologue about Elon Musk really is something to behold.”

In response, Ricky said: “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.”