James Corden baffles me. He’s actually quite a good actor and isn’t utterly dreadful – despite his annoying ubiquity ramping up the irritation quotient. But I have never once found him remotely funny. And when the rest of the world finds something funny that you don’t, it’s discombobulating.
Gavin And Stacy, not funny. Horne and Corden, not funny. Lesbian Vampre Killers I’ll admit I haven’t seen, but does anyone on God’s green Earth think it’s likely to be funny? His Comic Relief skits that Premiership footballers think are hilarious, not funny. James Corden, fundamentally, is not funny.
Consider this James Corden advert for the Samsung Galaxy S6 phone – it is not remotely funny and I honestly can’t see how or why anyone would disagree with this analysis. A man wearing a beard (Wilf, his ‘alter-ego’) and being pretentious isn’t funny; it’s one of the hoariest cliches imaginable about directors. People being freaked out by special effects is not funny. That’s one of the hoariest cliches going about oversold adverts. Taking the piss out of Apple – a bit rich coming from global megalith Samsung – isn’t funny, it’s one of the most frequently-trod memes out there. All told, it’s an incredibly unfunny advert.
Corden is described by Samsung as the ‘man of the moment’ and ‘humourous’. The Drum describes Corden as ‘personable’ and the advert as and ‘tongue-in-cheek’. Wow, hold me back.
“I don’t need this,” says Corden at the end of the advert – and that’s what so odd. No, you don’t need it: you don’t need the money, the exposure or another unfunny thing on your CV and we don’t need it either. Undercutting the over-exposed, rich and successful is a bit of a recurring theme in Corden’s stuff – but isn’t he all of those things? He’s mates with David Beckham, Gary Barlow, David Cameron and Andy Murray. It’s like satire done by people who literally don’t understand satire.
Corden seems to be the golden boy at the moment, for reasons I can’t really fathom. From his oddly creepy documentary following around Gary Barlow – someone else who has attached themselves to David Cameron for reasons not especially obvious – to his day editing The Sun or twatting around with Beckham, it’s as if the roly-poly funnyman seeks out media opportunities designed to irritate most right-thinking people.
Famous people chumming around with other famous people is one of the most aggravating things imaginable – Corden seems to have made a career out of it. It’s safe, smug and sycophantic.
I love Britain for its irreverence and its inclination to cock a snoop at the rich and famous. But the blandishments of Corden – and his resulting popularity – seem to fly in the face of all of that. Like so many others I can only look on when Corden appears on my screen with genuine puzzlement. James Corden just isn’t funny – is he?