The internet was treated to “one of its favourite things” this week, says Molly Roberts in The Washington Post: the story of a celebrity behaving badly. Even better, the protagonist was archetypal “Mr Nice Guy” James Corden. The chat show host has crafted a reputation as a happy-go-lucky everyman, never more content than when singing karaoke in traffic with his famous pals. Well, that doesn’t square with Keith McNally’s view. The owner of the fancy Balthazar restaurant in New York says Corden is “the most abusive customer” he has ever served. McNally says the “tiny cretin” lambasted staff over “a little bit of egg white” in an egg-yolk omelette, shouting “You can’t do your job!” in a waitress’s face. He only calmed down when given free champagne.
This behaviour would, from most celebs, elicit little more than an eye roll: they are, after all, “tantrum-throwing brats by default”. But for those who sell themselves on their “niceness and normalness”, freak-outs like this can be terminal to a reputation. Corden’s whole appeal is that he’s the sort of salt-of-the-earth guy who’d queue obligingly for a table or ignore “a little bit of egg white in his wife’s fussy omelette”. Now the illusion is shattered. The same happened with fellow “nice guy” chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, whose career took a massive hit when it emerged she had been bullying her production crew. It’s a warning to all Hollywood divas who keep up this ridiculous pretence: down-to-earthness is “unsustainable as a brand”.