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James Corden Bites Back at Bill Maher's Segment on Obesity: 'Fat-Shaming Is Bullying'

“We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day,” CBS late-night host Corden says

James Corden used his platform as host of “The Late Late Show” on Thursday night to address Bill Maher directly over a segment he did last week arguing that “fat-shaming” should be encouraged.

“As I was watching it, I was like, ‘Oh, man. Somebody needs to say something about this. If only there was somebody with a platform who knew what it was actually like to be overweight,’” Corden said. “Then I realized, ‘Ah, that’ll be me.’”

Corden repeatedly stated that he likes and respects Maher, but had issues with this particular segment of his HBO show. “Any time I’ve met Bill Maher in person, he’s been nothing but pleasant and kind and nice, which is why I found it so surprising that he or anybody thinks that fat-shaming needs to make a comeback because fat-shaming never went anywhere. Ask literally any fat person. We are reminded of it all the time.”

In the Sept. 6 episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the outspoken political commentator noted that it was “controversial” to say “being fat is a bad thing” and commented on the idea of “fat acceptance”: “We shouldn’t taunt people about it … but there’s no ‘smoking acceptance’ or ‘drunk acceptance.’”

Representatives for HBO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy and we’re not,” Corden said Thursday. “Look, we get it and we know. We know that being overweight isn’t good for us and I’ve struggled my entire life trying to manage my weight and I suck at it. I’ve had good days and bad months. I’ve basically been off and on diets since as long as I can remember and, well, this is how it’s going. But here’s the thing: We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher. We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day.”

Still, he said he believes Maher had good intentions, but that “fat-shaming is bullying” and only leads to more shame, anxiety, depression, and self-harming behavior.

“While you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours,” he concluded.

James Corden's 11 Best Carpool Karaoke Segments, From Paul McCartney to Adele (Videos)

  • 11. Red Hot Chili PeppersThe Chilis showed a lot of skin in this one, but the most exciting moment might’ve happened off camera, when Anthony Kiedis said later on a radio show that he tried to help save a baby that had stopped breathing while ambulances arrived on scene. 
  • 10. Ed Sheeran This “Carpool Karaoke” could’ve ended badly. Ed Sheeran shoves 55 malt balls into his mouth and shares a story about hitting Justin Bieber in the face with a golf club, and he even does an acoustic karaoke version (or you know, an actual performance) of “Thinking Out Loud.”  
  • 9. Jennifer HudsonJennifer Hudson doesn’t have the same hits as a lot of the names on this list, but she lends this clip more of a hangout vibe despite fewer songs. Part of her appeal is her ability to launch her voice into the stratosphere even as she’s ordering through a drive-thru window at Astro Burger. 
  • 8. Foo Fighters It tends to be just one-on-one with Corden and the star, but when literally every Foo Fighter is piling into a van, you know it’s going to be unpredictable. Not everyone is belting out along with Dave Grohl’s lyrics, but it’s worth watching just for Taylor Hawkins’ laid-back cool and Dave talking about dislocating his ankle during a show. Plus it’s nice to have a few bona fide rock stars making it into the rotation of Top 40 singers.  
  • 7. Justin Bieber #1It’s amazing that Corden landed a star like the Biebs so early on in the segment’s run before the concept really caught fire. Bieber looks a little too-cool-for-school at times as he’s riding around but he’s having fun, and their exchange about eating fondue on a date is hysterical. He’d come back just a few weeks later to sing some of his later hits as well, but this one holds up as the best.
  • 6. Lady Gaga Thank goodness Lady Gaga agreed to do a “Carpool Karaoke” — it gave Corden an excuse to try on everything from her police-tape dress to the meat dress, the latter of which almost made Gaga throw up in her mouth. She seems like she’d make a genuinely good karaoke partner, too, capable of doing a banger and a bring down the house, weepy ballad.  
  • 5. Elton John An incredibly flamboyant “Carpool Karaoke,” Elton John made this one into a party, even doing “Circle of Life” in full-on lion’s mane and “Crocodile Rock” in his signature colorful boas.  
  • 4. Michelle Obama The biggest achievement of the Obama era was getting First Lady Michelle to get her freak on with Missy Elliott, right? “Carpool Karaoke” is at its best when its showing an unexpected side to its guests, and Michelle Obama belting some Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé is certainly up there with the best of them. 
  • 3. Paul McCartneyThis super-sized “Carpool Karaoke” (23+ minutes!!) is the only one where you’ll get teary-eyed. All of James Corden’s segments are a delight, but Paul McCartney leading Corden on a childhood tour of Liverpool is lovely. He shares the story of his mom inspiring “Let it Be” and his dad listening to him and John Lennon performing a demo of “She Loves You,” and he even squeezes in his latest single amid all the Beatles classics. (Come on Corden, not a Wings fan?) It culminates though in an impromptu gig inside an English pub and a heartfelt (aren’t they all?) rendition of “Hey Jude,” naturally. 
  • 2. Stevie Wonder The R&B legend really legitimized “Carpool Karaoke.” And he’s just a natural, first pretending like he’ll be the one driving and then doing a FaceTime call to ensure that he’s actually singing with James Corden and not just some random British guy. Not only that, they tear through six of Wonder’s best bangers in just under 11 minutes, a relief since most of these tend to run long. 
  • 1. Adele Adele’s “Carpool Karaoke” doesn’t just have the best songs — but the best guest. Adele and Corden look like besties in an instant, and the segment showcases her endearing quality of endlessly blabbing about getting drunk, chortling at just about anything and even revealing she plays drums on “Hello.” But I can’t get enough of the face Adele makes when she hears Corden harmonizing along with her.

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