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"He didn’t do it well enough." Inside Ricky Gervais and James Corden's ongoing 'feud'.

In Ricky Gervais’ second season of his drama comedy After Life, which was just released on Netflix, viewers noticed that one character seems oddly… familiar.

The character’s name is James, and viewers are convinced he is based on real-life British comedian James Corden, noting the resemblance between the two is uncanny.


In fact, many thought it actually was James Corden who was acting the part – indicative of just how distinctive the character seemed.

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Hey @rickygervais I just finished watching Afterlife 2. Brilliant! I laughed. I cried. Thank you so much. James Corden’s performances were particularly convincing.

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Watch the trailer for season two of After Life here. Post continues below video. 

Video by Netflix

The new series has seemingly reignited a years-long feud between the two British comedians, that has seen Gervais in particular partake in a slew of digs at Corden.

“Their spat began years ago, and started off as harmless banter,” a Hollywood source told The Sun in January. “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 everything we know about Gervais and Corden’s feud.

Corden’s Weinstein joke.

In October 2017, amid the #MeToo Movement, James Corden made a joke during a black-tie charity event in Los Angeles about now-convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault against women.

“It’s a beautiful night here in LA,” he said. “So beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.”

In footage of his speech, loud groans can be heard from the audience.

“I don’t know whether that groan was that you liked that joke or you don’t like that joke. If you don’t like that joke you should probably leave now,” Corden is heard telling the A-list audience.

Ricky Gervais James Corden
Comedian James Corden at the Emmys in 2017. Image: Getty.
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Later, in an interview with Andy Cohen on Radio Andy, Gervais condemned Corden's comments.

"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 and it's fine just to joke about it. You’ve got to be very intelligent when you do it. You've got to make sure your target is clear, you've got to come down on the right side, there’s got to be a point to it."

"He bounced out and didn't do it particularly right, it wasn't clear who he was going for and he did it like it was light entertainment...

"He didn’t do it well enough. That was his problem. You've got to make your jokes bulletproof."

Gervais implies Corden is just "looking for hits on YouTube".

James Corden has made an international name for himself thanks to a series of segments on the Late Late Show that tend to go viral on YouTube, including his iconic series' 'Carpool Karaoke' and 'Fill Your Guts or Spill Your Guts'.

In an interview with radio station XFM, Gervais criticised comedians who sought such success on YouTube - although never named Corden specifically.

"I think that sometimes … people do it the wrong way round," Gervais said, according to The Sun.

"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."

Side note... Listen to Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, hosted by Laura Brodnik and Kee Reece. Post continues below.

After Life jab.

In season one of Gervais' Netflix comedy-drama After Life, he took the opportunity to take another jab at Corden.

When his co-worker is putting together her dream dinner party guest list, she notes down James Corden, saying: "That man can do anything".

"And does," Gervais' character responds.

"He never stops working," she adds, before he hurls back, "As a chauffeur, mainly."

Ricky Gervais James Corden
Ricky Gervais. Image: Getty.
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Gervais' favourite late night hosts.

Earlier this year, Gervais was asked by Hollywood Reporter who his favourite late-night hosts were, which he answered with basically all famous late-night hosts, bar Corden.

"I think that Jimmy Kimmel is great, I think he's amazing and he's brave. I like the fact that he gets personal, and I think he's great. I think Conan is a genius, he’s a writer — again, a really nice guy.

"I love Jon Stewart. I thought he should be president, that's how much I love Jon Stewart. I think he's great. I think Seth [Meyers] is really smart and uncompromised and doing it at 12.30 at night, and he's doing a great job. Colbert is great, every time I go on there, we talk theology, which is amazing on a late night chat show when you’re meant to play a game of underwater ping pong.

"I love Jimmy Fallon, he’s just pure joy, it's fun being on. I was around in the big Leno-Letterman [time]. I loved doing Letterman because I think it was the most iconic, so I couldn't believe my luck."

Tellingly, Gervais has never been a guest on James Corden's show.

Golden Globes dig.

In his 2020 Golden Globes speech, Gervais said in his opening monologue: "The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy. He was also in the movie Cats.

"But no one saw that. And the reviews — shocking. I saw one that said this is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs."

Ouch.

However, despite the continued jabs at Corden, he has also denied that any such feud exists.

He told The Sun in January: "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."