James Corden 'Inadvertently' Copies Ricky Gervais Joke

Joke about Twitter was almost identical to one Gervais told in 2018 Netflix special
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2022 3:44 PM CDT
James Corden 'Inadvertently' Copies Ricky Gervais Joke
James Corden arrives at the 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual Grants Banquet.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Embattled Late Late Show host James Corden says he "inadvertently" used a Ricky Gervais joke during his monologue Monday night. Elon Musk "does this thing where he goes, ‘Well, it’s the town square.’ But it isn't," Corden said while discussing Musk's takeover of Twitter, per the Guardian. "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 s---! Well that sign wasn't for you, it was for someone else." Twitter users quickly pointed out that minus the reference to Musk, the joke was, almost word for word, the same as one Gervais told in Humanity, his 1998 Netflix special. This tweet compares the two.

In a now-deleted tweet, Gervais shared a clip of Corden and quipped, "The bit about the town square advert for guitar lessons is brilliant." Asked whether Corden had sought permission to use the joke, Gervais said, "No. I reckon one of the writers 'came up with it' for him. I doubt he would knowingly just copy such a famous standup routine word for word like that." When asked why he had deleted the tweet, Gervais said he "started to feel sorry" for Corden, adding a laughing-crying emoji, the Washington Post reports.

A tweet from Corden on Tuesday suggested Gervais was right about writers being to blame. "Inadvertently told a brilliant Ricky Gervais joke on the show last night, obviously not knowing it came from him," Corden tweeted. "It’s brilliant, because it’s a Ricky Gervais joke. You can watch all Ricky's excellent specials on Netflix." While there's no sign Gervais plans to take legal action, intellectual property attorney Laura Trapnell tells the BBC that there could be a case for infringement. "If he had no idea that the joke was copied, then James Corden would be what's called an innocent infringer," she says. (Last week, Corden apologized for a "rude comment" to a server at a New York City restaurant.)

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