James Corden’s mug never fails to put a downer on the start of my day. Luckily Sky 1’s new show A League of Their Own isn’t advertised on the Victoria Line. It is, however, pasted across the majority of London buses this week, and so as I walk from the tube exit to the revolving doors of the office each morning, the chances are I will be subjected to seeing that smug blob - the bane of my telly watching schedule – the intolerable James Corden. Dolce &Gabbana, if you’re reading this, please pay for Gisele’s wonderful face to be reinstalled onto the side of the 253 before I throw myself beneath it.
The Corden craze crept up on us all slowly. There was a non-speaking part here and a butter commercial there and then BANG somebody casted Corden in the televisation of Alan Bennett’s gay-but-not-gay play The History Boys.
At first we thought James Corden was a closet gay himself, no doubt chasing Russell Tovey backstage on-set and managing to blag his way into being flatmate’s with his co-star crush Dominic Cooper. Cool-headed Cooper predictably went on to find major Hollywood success in films like Mamma Mia and The Duchess, but before the door of fame clicked firmly shut, clumsy Corden managed to squeeze himself through.
He appeared in the moderately successful series Fat Friends, where he met Little Britain’s Myfanwy, also known as Ruth Jones, his future writing partner and the key to ubiquitous popularity. Gavin & Stacey was a great TV show, but judging by Corden’s other disastrous works we can safely say the success of it was down to Ruth’s writing talents not Corden’s lack of. Although of course we’ll never know for sure, because when the pair appeared on Alan Carr’s and Jonathon Ross’ couches respectively, cod-face Corden wouldn’t give Ruth a word in edgeways.
Roll on 2009 and cue the God-awful film Lesbian Vampire Killers, which nobody seems to have watched (myself included), but everyone agrees wholeheartedly was a pile of plank. It was also around this time that Horne and Corden’s arrogantly self-titled sketch show was aired, prompting insider bets as to how soon it would be axed. Horne & Corden consisted almost exclusively of two jokes, firstly that James Corden is fat, and secondly that he might be gay, or at least that there was something to be admired for Corden in physically normal men. How either of these subjects were sound targets for humour was any thinking person’s guess.
Once again gay rumours re-emerged as Corden kissed, embraced and skipped about naked with TV twink Matt Horne, followed by the pair’s presentation at the Brits alongside the greatest living gay pop icon Kylie Minogue. Critics unanimously slated the terrible sketch show Horne & Corden, wondering how anyone ever funded it, let alone sat through the duration of a pilot.
Gay suspicions dimmed as Corden began waving his girlfriend in front of the paparazzi like a new Barbie, and the ruby slipper of rumours passed onto the other foot as Matt Horne began DJ’ing on the London gay scene with drag queen superstar Jodie Harsh.
But just when our screens couldn’t bear the weight of any more Corden tellytastrophes TV bosses threw salt on our wounds, booking Corden for seemingly endless appearances, most of which involved nudity, obesity or kissing men, evidently a tried and tested route to inducing hilarity.
Still, it’s not Corden’s addiction to poking ridicule at gay people that annoys me most, nor is it his obesity. It is quite simply the fact that he is unoriginal, cumbersome and genuinely unfunny.
Does anyone credible out there actually look forward to watching James Corden’s appearances on television? Does anyone think “ooh James Corden he’s brilliant – I must tune in for that”? Or are TV producers marching ahead upon the incorrect assumption that the public admire him?
Anyone who’s been to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will find an abundance of brilliant, witty, entertaining and incomprehensibly talented comedians and actors. It just seems such a colossal waste of TV space to be commissioning James Corden. After his utterly crap sketch show you’d hope execs would have seen this.
Like you, I’ll be tuning into his Sports Relief diving sketch with Tom Daley, watching him rip off Peter Kay whilst no doubt mentally ripping off the teenager's Speedos, poor boy. Like me, I hope you’ll be thinking “What a boring, unnecessary and try-hard dive for British comedy”.
Above: The young Olympic diver and unwitting gay icon Tom Daley, a quintissential diva demand for a James Corden sketch these days, if David Beckham, Corden's first love, isn't available that is.