People told James Corden he could not be worse than he was in Cats. His response, “Hold my beer.”

“His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.”

“I used to think that it was permissible for a straight actor to play a gay character in some circumstances; now I’m willing to go hard-line against it if it means denying James Corden even one future role.”

Wait! James Corden is straight? Go figure.

15 thoughts on “People told James Corden he could not be worse than he was in Cats. His response, “Hold my beer.”

  1. I’m just amazed that enough people have seen Cats to form a thread. I heard about it, but it just hit me as one of those unpleasant urban myths that you hope are bullshit, like gerbilling or the 1040 long form.

    1. Nope, it is worse. It is a thing that I wish was an urban legend, like Trump getting so many votes in the 2020 election, but it isn’t.

  2. Chris Rock just played a mob boss in Fargo. You can take the show or leave it, but the acting was good. Sarah Silverman has been an actress, at that a decent one, for a long time. Not just all of a sudden and only recently.

    Comedy is, in a way, harder than drama. Many dramatic actors turn out to be terrible at comedy. Some comics aren’t good at acting. But we can say the same for the Average Joe. There are good actors and occasionally, it may happen they were previously known as a comic. In a certain sense, the comic’s skill set includes elements of acting, and comic skills aren’t necessarily required of an actor.

    1. Corden is pretty funny on his show, he’s actually multi-talented with the singing & dancing, but he’s a fat sweaty guy that seems to be trying to step outside of his stomping ground and apparently failing, much like many SNL alumni with whom his style he can be compared. He seems capable of broad, silly caricatures but not much else. Casting him as a gay guy was just a bad idea from the start, because you know how he’s gonna do it. That’s why I mentioned Carvey: so successful on SNL but they thought they could put him in movies by just concocting a silly plot and letting him do his impressions, but it failed miserably. I see most of these people as essentially Joe Piscopo, who once had TV success but bombed out spectacularly in films. You can have exceptions like Silverman, who’s a decent actress, which proved as far back as The Larry Sanders Show.

    2. There is a story about Jack Lemmon visiting a fatally ill actor in the hospital. At one point, the actor said, “Dying is hard, Jack”. Lemmon replied, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

  3. Comedians trying to be actors. Cordon should’ve looked at any Dana Carvey movie and given up the idea.

    1. Some comedians become excellent actors. Robin Williams, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and now Chris Rock have all turned in outstanding performances. Adam Sandler, Bill Murray, Whoopi, Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Dennis Leary, Steve Martin and Sarah Silverman are kinda-sorta good actors, although I guess you could argue that Wiig was always an actress, never really a comedian. But all of them learned to act without falling back on their schtick. Dana Carvey never did. Corden seems to be in that Carvey category so far.

      Corden may develop. Will Ferrell was pretty awful and over-the-top in his early acting efforts, all schtick and no underlying humanity, but he learned to tone it down. Corden has really sucked so far, but seems smart enough to learn from his mistakes.

      1. Corden was on the very popular “Gavin and Stacey” where he played “Smithy” in the UK. It’s not like he hasn’t acted before. In fact he started acting in the mid 90’s.

  4. Under these new rules can gay actors play straight roles? If your bi cans you play both? Do you have to prove your orientation. Or is that an invasion of privacy? I’m only partly joking.
    It’s an interesting discussion on several fronts. Discrimination, the art of acting which has always been about playing someone other than yourself. Should there be a line? If so where do we draw it. How far are we allowed to stereotype without being offensive? It’s considered very offensive when a non gay actor plays an over the top flaming character. But many gay actors have taken it to the next level. Oriental actors play extremely stereotypical parts. Should a Korean actor be able to play camera carrying Japanese tourist? Should a Greek a actor be able to play an Italian mobster role? Should anyone be able to play any role that Disparagingly portrays the a culture or heritage that they don’t belong to? Can a German actor play a Jewish concentration camp prisoner?It’s not OK for a Caucasian to play an American Indian (which seems like a Righteous decision) but can an Eskimo actor? A Hawaiian? God knows John Wayne should have never played Kubla Khan. And Bruce Lee should have stared in Kung Fu! There are lots of obvious ones. But were do we draw the line? Can a openly republican actor play a key historic democratic character? Can a Democrat play a republican character in a positive light? Now I’m just being silly
    I comic once told me all comity is at someone’s expense. And I think that pretty true. The question is where do we draw the line.

    1. Those are all good questions, and the answers are complicated. I would set as a general rule one point you made: if the role in some way disparages the race, or if the race is an important part of the presentation for some reason, hire somebody of that race to do it. You can hire a Greek to play a sensible, everyday person who happens to be Italian, and whose ancestry is irrelevant to the role. But if the role either centers around Italian life or ridicules Italians with stereotypes, better hire an Italian.

      Should it be that way? Maybe not. Acting is, by definition, pretending to be something or somebody that you are not. I remember the playwright Brian Friel pointing out that Meryl Streep was the only actress who got the Irish accent right in Dancing at Lughnasa – and many of the other actors were Irish! Streep meticulously studied the specific dialect of the region and time period. (Ulster, small town in County Donegal, 1930s.) The Irish performers just winged it.

      But in this newly sensitized climate, I think the rule you mentioned is a good one – if the role (or the script) presents something the could be considered derogatory about a race or orientation, it’s probably better to let somebody of that persuasion essay the role. I think it follows the general rule that only black people can use the n word.

      I think that if a gay man had Corden’s role and acted far more flamboyant than Corden, nobody would have said a word, but the fact that Corden is straight got on everyone’s last nerve.

      And I get that.

      1. Agree with above. I am unlikely to see Corden’s performance unless I just happen to catch it channel flipping some day, but I did see Nathan Lane in a flamboyant role in “The Birdcage” (another movie which I ordinarily wouldn’t have seen other than being bored, but which turned out to be pretty good).

        Lane is a damn good comic actor, but the fact that he is gay likely allowed him to give some nuance to what otherwise could have been over-the-top and wince-generating. Robin Williams and Hank Azaria also played gay men, but Williams was the “straight man” (in the comedic sense) and Azaria was just a silly buffoon who happened to be gay.

  5. The highlights from Ricky Gervais’ monologue as you posted here in January 2020 – “The world got to see James Corden as a fat pussy. He was also in the movie Cats.”

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