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October 26, 2022

James Corden addressed the seemingly ongoing drama surrounding his recent temporary ban from a New York restaurant for alleged “abusive” behavior on Monday’s episode of The Late Late Show.

Following a week of intense scrutiny, speculation and a fair deal of social media backlash, a chastened and sheepish Corden took the time to explain what had happened and why he had said so little about his very public dust-up with the owner of the famed New York eatery Balthazar.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Corden had commented on the drama that initially stemmed from an Instagram post from restaurateur Keith McNally, who revealed that he had the Brit comedian banned from Balthazar for being an “abusive customer” toward the restaurant’s servers. Despite McNally later revealing in another post that Corden had apologized to him, and he was no longer banned, he took to Instagram again to respond to comments Corden made to the Times, stating that he had an issue with the late night host claiming the whole drama was “silly” and that he hadn’t done “anything wrong, on any level.”

“Was he joking? Or was he denying being abusive to my servers? Whatever Corden meant, his implication was clear: he didn’t do it,” McNally wrote, adding that he had hopes that Corden “would live up to his Almighty initials and come clean.”

On Monday’s Late Late Show, a contrite and uncomfortable Corden did indeed come clean. He began by joking that he had switched his phone off for the last week, missing all the news about himself. But with his parents in the audience looking on, Corden dove into the controversy.

“As some of you may have seen, last week there were stories about me being banned from a restaurant,” he began, before explaining that after McNally had initially posted on Instagram, he had considered a more immediate response on his own social media but decided to keep his counsel as he figured it was better to adopt a “British attitude” to the situation, trying to “keep calm and carry on” and “never complain, never explain.”

“But as my dad pointed out to me on Saturday, he said, ‘Son, well, you did complain, so you might need to explain,’” he continued. “Look, when you make a mistake, you’ve got to take responsibility.”

What followed was Corden’s recollection of events and an attempt to provide context. He said he had a deep love for Balthazar, and he went there to have breakfast with his wife, Julia Carey, and friends. He revealed that his wife had a “serious food allergy” and that the restaurant’s servers had gotten her order wrong three times, bringing her something she was allergic to, which made him react. “As her meal came wrong to the table the third time, in the heat of the moment, I made a sarcastic, rude comment about cooking it myself,” he said. “And it is a comment I deeply regret.”

Corden said the servers and the managers were “lovely” about everything and very apologetic and even brought out champagne to the table.

He then seemed to change tack. “But here’s the truth of it,” he said somewhat defensively. “Because I didn’t shout or scream, I didn’t jump up out of my seat. I didn’t call anyone names or use derogatory language, I had been walking around thinking that I hadn’t done anything wrong. But the truth is I have. I made a rude comment and it was wrong. It was an unnecessary comment. It was ungracious to the server.”

Seeking to lighten the mood, Corden then talked about the backlash he faced by reading out some funny mean tweets aimed at him. He ended the segment with another mea culpa, saying, “I get it. I totally understand everybody getting upset and I accept everybody’s opinion.”

He added, “I said to the owner that day, that if I ever upset anybody, ever, it was never my intention.”

Corden concluded by pledging that he would apologize to the Balthazar staff again, in person, next time he was in New York — if they let him in, that is.

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