James Corden's Restaurant Ban Brouhaha Took A Turn After Talk Show Host Says He Did Nothing Wrong

Late night talk show host James Corden has found himself in a pretty bizarre pseudo-feud with New York restaurateur Keith McNally, after allegations were made about Corden being the “most abusive customer” McNally had seen at his establishment Balthazar in 25 years. However, after banning the British comedian from the restaurant, McNally reversed his “86,” when Corden apparently called the restaurant owner and apologized profusely. In a strange twist, The Late Late Show host has also changed course, saying he rescinds his apology because he did nothing wrong.

James Corden, who announced he’s exiting his CBS late night show after eight years, discussed the Balthazar brouhaha during an interview with The New York Times. The host said there was no need for him to apologize, telling the publication: 

I haven't done anything wrong, on any level. 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.

The host also pointed out that another customer at the restaurant where he was being interviewed was also complaining about her food, saying this kind of thing happens every day, and it would be “insane” to blast her on social media over it.  

Keith McNally had some strong words for James Corden on Instagram this week, calling him a “tiny Cretin of a man” over two separate incidents that had occurred at Balthazar. The restaurateur first accused the comedian of nasty behavior toward the restaurant manager after finding a hair near his food, and, on a separate occasion, said Corden began “yelling like crazy” after problems with his wife’s order. 

While the Balthazar owner first said he’d “86’d Corden,” he rescinded the ban after he and the Cinderella actor shared a phone conversation. Keith McNally said he believed in second chances, given that he himself had “fucked up” more than most, and it seems like McNally is sticking with the high road. Following Corden’s apology retraction, McNally told TMZ

I have no wish to kick a man when he's down, but I believe the best way for James Corden to retrieve some of the vast respect the public had for him before this incident is to own up to it and apologize to the young servers he abused. If he's big enough to do that, he can eat free at Balthazar for the rest of the year.

I’m not sure how The Late Late Show host went from being “86’d” to the opportunity for free meals over the course of just a couple of days, but this feud is certainly a strange one. And the way it's going now, I wouldn't suggest any of those young servers prepare themselves for quick and heartfelt apologies. 

James Corden announced in April that he was leaving his talk show, citing his desire to “go out on top” and not overstay his welcome. For now, though, fans can still catch him on The Late Late Show with James Corden, which airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m. ET and can be streamed with a Paramount+ subscription. Check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.