Paul has been fascinated celebrity culture and passionate about comedy for many years. Born and raised in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
James Corden is like a persistent rash for many people: he gets under their skin and then refuses to go away.
His early reputation in America was as a loveable Brit, but over time his brand has become increasingly tarnished, thanks to a number of well-publicized incidents which have led many people to perceive Corden as arrogant and lacking in moral integrity, artistic judgement, and talent.
He first came to public attention in the UK in the popular and critically acclaimed BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which Corden co-wrote and starred in. In the US, he's better known as the loveable late-night talk show host of The Late Late Show with James Corden.
However, his overall output has been somewhat patchy to say the least. There have been numerous movie and TV appearances which can only be considered flops. A number of alleged incidents in his private life have also caused many to question whether his friendly public image is an accurate representation of the real man.
This article examines five reasons why James Corden is despised by many, as well as the possible mitigating factors and defenses for his actions and behavior.
Disclaimer: While I will attempt to be as fair and unbiased as possible in this article, I must admit that I have come to dislike Corden myself.
Why James Corden Is So Disliked: 5 Reasons
Here are 5 common reasons that people give for disliking Corden:
- Clashes with Other Celebrities
- Terrible Movies and Shows
- Bad Taste Humor
- The Fake Persona
- You Can't Escape Him
I explore each reason in more detail below.
1. Clashes with Other Celebrities
For someone who wishes to project an amiable image, James Corden has had more than his fair share of feuds and fights with other celebrities over the years. In many cases, he's not emerged from the conflicts looking good and many people have ended up siding against Corden.
Bill Maher, Ricky Gervais, Ricky Whittle, Artie Lange, Liam Gallagher, Pierce Brosnan, Asia Argento and Rose McGowan are just some of the celebrities who've clashed with Corden or expressed negative comments about him over the years.
The Patrick Stewart Incident
Perhaps the most egregious fallout involving Corden happened at the Glamour Women of the Year awards show in 2010, when Patrick Stewart expressed frustration with Corden over the way that he was presenting the show. Stewart criticized Corden for being disrespectful to award winners.
Corden was clearly agitated by Stewart. However, his attempt at witty comebacks were awkward, and rather than being funny, came across as unnecessarily snide and childish to many viewers.
In Corden's Defense
It could be argued that the celebrity world is a competitive and catty place and that Corden is just another victim of the malignant environment. He has also suffered a multitude of jokes and comments about his weight and size, which seems unfair.
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2. Terrible Movies and Shows
Corden's acting career started out well. His role as Smithy in the award-winning BBC show Gavin & Stacey was hugely popular in his home country.
However, things would go downhill as Corden's fame grew. He appeared to accept every work offer that came his way without much consideration, resulting in multiple flops. These included some truly awful movies like Cinderella, Lesbian Vampire Slayers, and The Emoji Movie.
He also exploited gay stereotypes with his character in The Prom.
Perhaps Corden's most cringeworthy performance, though, came in the movie Cats, where Corden played Bustopher Jones in the critically savaged box office disaster. Despite Corden saying that he didn't regret his involvement, he later admitted that it was unlikely that he would ever watch the film himself.
In Corden's Defense
If you're as prolific and hard-working as Corden, there are bound to be plenty of failures as well as successes. As far as Cats goes, a lot of stars had their reputations tarnished through their participation in the movie.
3. Bad Taste Humor
Corden's fondness for publicity and attempts to be funny have at times got him into deep water. He has an awful habit of failing to read the room and his poor joke choices can fall flat, or cause an openly negative reaction.
The Harvey Weinstein Jokes
Perhaps his worst fail was when Corden was master of ceremonies at an Aids research benefit gig in Los Angeles in 2017. He caused outrage when, in an apparent effort to appear edgy, he waded into the then recent Harvey Weinstein scandal and made a series of insensitive jokes about the disgraced movie director's crimes.
The backlash against Corden was huge. Afterwards, the actor Rose McGowan, who has alleged that Weinstein raped her, labelled Corden a “motherfucking piglet.”
In Corden's Defense
Corden did apologize later for his lack of empathy. "I was not trying to make light of Harvey’s inexcusable behavior," Corden explained, "but to shame him, the abuser, not his victims."
Now We Understand Why These Celebs Can't Stand James Corden
4. The Fake Persona
While James Corden's public image is of a loveable Brit, the Corden who's experienced in private situations has been described by some as a very different person. For many people, the nice guy public persona has worn thin and there are too many cases where the mask has slipped to reveal a more arrogant and spiteful side to him.
Corden's increasingly gained a reputation for behaving badly towards the people who work with him and for him. One allegation, made by writer, comedian and podcaster Jack Allison, was that Corden attended a Writers Guild Association meeting specifically to advocate for lowering the pay of late night writers.
Numerous accounts of Corden behaving badly at restaurants have emerged over the years, both from servers and other customers. There was even an alleged incident on a plane.
This self-indulgent segment of Corden's talk show deserves a special mention. The conceit is that Corden drives around and buddies up with a popular celebrity, at some point staging a singalong.
However, the whole thing has a very staged, artificial feel, not helped by the revelation that the car is in reality is being towed around and Corden isn't really driving.
In Corden's Defense
Corden denied the Jack Allison allegation, explaining that he only wanted to give new writers more opportunities. The allegations of bad behavior in restaurants and other places should perhaps be treated with a large grain of salt.
5. You Can't Escape Him
Perhaps the biggest problem for people who dislike James Corden is that he seems to be absolutely everywhere nowadays. As well as hosting talk shows, and acting in movies and TV shows, he's always showing up on panel and sketch shows, in music videos, commercials, and at award ceremonies.
He seems unable to turn down any work offer, no matter how third rate or crass the project. Presumably it's the attention he craves, because he can't be that desperate for the money surely? It all leaves many people just wanting a break from him.
The Sheep Whisperer Advert
A particular annoying appearance was in a TV commercial for car insurance that he did for British TV. In this, he clears a path through a flock of sheep that are blocking a country road in a scene reminiscent of Moses parting the Red Sea. At the end of the ad, he declares himself to be the "Sheep Whisperer."
No matter how many times that you see it, the commercial fails to be amusing or entertaining. If anything, it just grows increasingly irritating each time that you're exposed to it.
In Corden's Defense
Corden has confessed that there have been times in the past when he's fallen for his own hype. He was persuaded by his family at one point to undergo therapy to stop him being a "brat." Fellow Gavin & Stacey comedy actor Rob Brydon also had to intervene and inform Corden that his spoilt behavior was out of control.
© 2022 Paul Goodman