The James Corden-Keith McNally yolk-only omelet showdown has taken yet another public turn, and the soon-to-be-ex-host of The Late Late Show may now be banned from the SoHo brasserie Balthazar once again. It is sort of unclear, based on the famously unfiltered restauranteur’s signature Instagram syntax. At the very least, McNally is mad, and he’s not afraid to post about it with another pixelated screenshot of Corden’s mug:
To back up: Corden, whose frequent habit of being an absolute asshole to servers has been the subject of gossip in internet forums for several years, was banned from Balthazar on Monday. The alleged reason was that Corden had been persistently rude to Balthazar’s staff. This included one incident wherein he reportedly complained about a hair in his food after eating it, and then demanded two rounds of free drinks. It also involved a second incident wherein Corden’s wife purportedly ordered a high-cholesterol-sounding “egg-yolk omelette with gruyere cheese and salad,” only to send it back over the incriminating presence of egg whites. When the second omelet came back with homefries, rather than salad, Corden allegedly “began yelling like crazy to the server: ‘You can’t do your job! You can’t do your job! Maybe I should go into the kitchen and cook the omelette myself!’” Needless to say, this was not well-received. Whether or not these incidents did take place as described, as a general rule, the man would do well to limit his screaming to whatever he does with celebrities in cars.
McNally banned the late-night host in what one can only call an extremely generous Instagram post, calling Corden “a hugely gifted comedian.” It was perhaps the first use of those words in relation to a man who was not only in Cats (2019), but whose performance in it was so astoundingly off-kilter that Andrew LLoyd Webber himself “begged for it to be cut.” But in another show of generosity, McNally rescinded the ban mere hours later, claiming that Corden had called him and “apologized profusely.”
So now what’s all this? After the Balthazar ban-un-ban two-step, Corden granted an interview over breakfast with the New York Times, where he sounded much less conciliatory. The interview began with Corden overhearing a woman sending back her eggs. “Happens every day,” he said. “It’s happening in 55,000 restaurants as we speak. It’s always about eggs.” But lest you think he had suddenly developed a self-aware sense of humor about it all, Corden continued: “Can you imagine now, if we just blasted her on Twitter? Would that be fair? This is my point. It’s insane.”
Surely no one can imagine Twitter blasting a woman for being rude to someone contractually obligated to serve her, someone whose income hinges on them being polite to customers, whatever their attitude or tone. That would be crazy. It would be even more insane if that woman had a highly rated network television show, and her face was recognizable to millions, and she did this on a regular enough basis that random people gossip about it in Reddit AMAs. But that’s neither here nor there. Corden kept going:
“I haven’t done anything wrong, on any level,” he said. “So why would I ever cancel this? I was there. I get it. I feel so Zen about the whole thing. Because I think it’s so silly. I just think it’s beneath all of us. It’s beneath you. It’s certainly beneath your publication.”
Let’s not get into the question of what’s “beneath” the New York Times. (We’d be here till the The Late Late Show airs at 12:35 a.m. EDT.) But McNally was definitely not being Zen about Corden’s attitude. In his latest post, published on Friday morning, he pulled an about face himself:
STORM IN A RESTAURANT TEACUP.
I’ve no wish to kick a man when he’s down. Especially one who’s worth $100 Million, but when James Corden said in yesterday’s NY Times 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. Although I didn’t witness the incident, lots of my restaurant’s floor staff did. They had nothing to gain by lying. Corden did.
I wish James Corden would live up to his Almighty initials and come clean. If the supremely talented actor wants to retrieve the respect he had from all his fans (all 4 of them) before this incident, then he should at least admit he did wrong. If he goes one step further and apologizes to the 2 servers he insulted, I’ll let him eat for free at Balthazar for the next 10 years.
It’s not always easy to follow McNally’s unique approach to combining words into sentences. So some things that are hard to follow here. Is he suggesting that he’s willing to kick men when they’re down if they’re worth less than $100 million? Is he banning Corden again? Is he implying some cosmic link between a guy who had his cat asshole digitally removed in a major motion picture to Jesus? McNally did not immediately respond to us, so we’ll be close reading this text until he posts again, likely tomorrow. But to his credit, the man may not be fully there. He keeps calling Corden “supremely talented.”