Ricky Gervais says there’s no feud with James Corden.
Ricky Gervais says there’s no feud with James Corden.

Gervais and Corden’s back-and-forth insults

They are two of Britain's biggest comedy stars, but Ricky Gervais and James Corden can rarely resist the opportunity to take a swipe at one another.

Last week, Gervais cracked a gag at Corden's expense as he hosted the Golden Globes.

"The world got to see James Corden as a fat pu**y. He was also in the movie Cats, but no one saw that," Gervais joked.

It's far from the first time he's taken aim at Corden, The Sun reports.

In the past The Office star has slammed Corden's attempt at emulating his hosting style at awards shows and has made thinly veiled digs at his career choices, suggesting he's sold out by hosting a chat show.

Corden has imitated Gervais in his sketch show, Horne and Corden.

So do the two stars really have beef, or is it all meant in jest?

"Their spat began years ago and started off as harmless banter," a Hollywood source told The Sun Online. "They were often pitted against each other, two up-and-coming British stars who were trying to make it in America.

"James started out mocking Ricky, his character David Brent and his movie career in sketches with Matt Horne, and Ricky retaliated, but the clash has now taken on a life of its own."

Here's how the pair's friendly rivalry became a battle of words.

Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes. Picture: Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes. Picture: Paul Drinkwater/NBC


James Corden. Picture: Leon Bennett/Getty Images
James Corden. Picture: Leon Bennett/Getty Images


In 2017, at the height of the #MeToo revelations about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual abuse, Corden hosted the annual amfAR charity dinner in Hollywood and told a tasteless joke.

"It's a beautiful night here in LA," he told the A-list audience. "So beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage."

The joke was met with groans, and in an interview on Radio Andy, Gervais put the boot in.

"When you do a contentious joke or talk about a taboo subject, it's got to be a great joke," Gervais said.

"You can't just bounce out there and do jokes about abuse and rape. You've got to be very intelligent when you do it. There's got to be a point to it.

"He did it like it was light entertainment. He didn't do it well enough."

The comments were the most direct criticism of the star from Gervais, who had been taking potshots at his fellow comedian for several years.

A source told The Sun: "Ricky is now somewhat obsessed, attacking James when his jokes fall flat and poking fun of his size. He can get quite personal."

But Gervais has denied there is any resentment, telling The Sun: "There is no feud between myself and James nor has there ever been. The Cats joke that I told at the Golden Globes is obviously a pun on his role in the film, and James' impression of me in his sketch show was also friendly teasing, and I took no offence to that."

Corden speaks onstage during the amfAR Gala. Picture: Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Corden speaks onstage during the amfAR Gala. Picture: Charley Gallay/Getty Images


While both comics have enjoyed huge success in the US, Corden reached dizzy heights when he bagged an $18 million deal to take over as host of The Late Late Show in 2015.

He also introduced the hit feature Carpool Karaoke in which he drives and sings with the likes of Adele, Michelle Obama and Madonna.

But in an interview with XFM, Gervais appeared to slam Corden's career choices, without naming him.

"I think that sometimes … people do it the wrong way round," Gervais said. "Someone works really hard, and they become a comedian and they get a big show, then they get offered a chat show in America, and they take that and then work their way down from a comedian to a bloke who's looking for hits on YouTube the next day because no one watches late night."

In another interview, Gervais revealed he had turned down stints as a chat show host because he would become "the second most interesting person in the room".

Carpool Karaoke with Celine Dion.
Carpool Karaoke with Celine Dion.

"Ricky claims James is a sellout for doing Carpool Karaoke and relying on celebrity collaborations for online hits on YouTube as less people watch TV," a source told The Sun. "He doesn't have a lot of respect for him.

"Ricky has stuck to comedy, he's stayed in his lane. He's also passionate about things outside of the Hollywood bubble, spending a lot of his time advocating for animal rights.

"James is more ambitious, he just wants to be a star. He classes A-listers as his close friends, everyone from Harry Styles to US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who he dines with one-on-one. He's a big mover and shaker and has embraced the Hollywood lifestyle.

"Ricky has never been in these circles. In fact, he's shunned them and instead used his platform to mock Hollywood. He can't really go back on that and start hanging out with George Clooney."

Interestingly, Gervais has never been a guest on Corden's The Late Late Show despite gracing the sofa of almost every other chat show.

Corden and Paul McCartney do Carpool Karaoke.
Corden and Paul McCartney do Carpool Karaoke.


Sources suggest Corden's meteoric rise to stardom could be behind Gervais' alleged resentment.

Gervais began his showbiz career as one half of a failed pop duo called Seona Dancing before switching to comedy.

It took him over a decade to get his big break, and in the early 2000s he was at the peak of his sitcom success with The Office, followed by Extras in 2005.

At the time, Corden was a jobbing actor, with roles in Fat Friends and the stage show The History Boys, but he was also keen to break into comedy.

To the up-and-coming Londoner, Gervais was a comic hero.

By 2007, Extras had come to an end and Gervais was lining up film roles, starring in a series of box office flops including Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying.

Corden's star, on the other hand, was on the rise when his sitcom Gavin and Stacey became an overnight smash.

Corden became the most sought-after star in UK TV and even landed his own sketch show - Horne and Corden - with his Gavin and Stacey co-star Matthew Horne.

"At the end of the day, Ricky is a little envious," the source said. "He didn't find fame until he was 40 and there were decades of setbacks for him.

"Success came very easily for James and at a younger age. He's now a huge star despite having many sceptics because of his extreme, full-speed-ahead enthusiasm and rejection of heavy irony."

Gervais and cast members from The Office Christmas Special.
Gervais and cast members from The Office Christmas Special.


Gavin & Stacey cast: Ruth Jones, Joanna Page, Mathew Horne and Corden.
Gavin & Stacey cast: Ruth Jones, Joanna Page, Mathew Horne and Corden.


By now Corden seemed to be emulating Gervais, perfecting his quickfire delivery, risqué jokes and raucous laugh.

But he also mocked Gervais's film career in two sketches, one as The Office character David Brent in the World War I trenches and another where he took off his famous dance.

Offstage, the copying continued, with Horne later revealing on Never Mind the Buzzcocks that he had to pull Corden up for acting too much like Gervais.


In his new hit comedy After Life, Gervais continued to mock Corden.

In one episode, when his colleague Kath is writing her fantasy dinner party guest list, she mentions Corden and says, "That man can do anything."

"And does," fires back Gervais.

When she replies he "never stops working", he retorts, "As a chauffeur, mainly."

The Sun's source said: "James tries to brush off Ricky's jokes, but sometimes his comments irritate him, especially when he's critical of his work because he respects Ricky as a comedian. But he doesn't fire back as often because he's not as ballsy and doesn't get away with as much."

In a recent interview, Gervais denied there was any resentment towards Corden or the other stars he targets in his comedy.

He told the Press Association: "I hope they know I've got nothing against them. James did an impression of me in his show, I didn't take it personally, it's just fun.

"I've got no animosity. People will think that though, but as long as they (the subjects) don't, that's all I care about."

Even so, for a younger star who once worshipped the Extras comedian, it's got to hurt.

Corden's rep declined to comment.

Gervais’ Netflix show After Life is a must watch.
Gervais’ Netflix show After Life is a must watch.


This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission