“We have gone to this weird place where fat is good, it’s pointing out that fat is unhealthy, that’s what’s bad,” Maher argued on his show. “Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback.” He added that “some amount of shame is good.”
On Thursday’s The Late Late Show, Corden devoted an entire segment to addressing Maher’s comments, saying that as he was watching Real Time at home, he realized that someone should say something, and that someone would be him.
Corden said that because he’s always had pleasant encounters with Maher, he was surprised to hear his comments, especially his assertion that fat-shaming went away. “Fat-shaming never went anywhere. I mean, ask literally any fat person. We are reminded of it all the time,” he explained.
“There’s a common and insulting misconception that fat people are stupid and lazy and we’re not,” the CBS host continued. “We get it, 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.”
“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,” Corden deadpanned.
He admitted that while his fellow late-night host had some interesting points — namely that obesity is a real health problem that needs to be discussed “clearly and honestly” — he pointed out that fat-shaming isn’t the way to handle it, and that studies show it can lead to depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.
“Fat-shaming is just bullying,” he explained. “And bullying only makes the problem worse. I don’t think stuff like this is going to solve the obesity epidemic.”
Corden added that he thinks Maher’s heart is in the right place, and he’s touched that he cares about the health of others, but in the meantime, he had some parting wisdom for the Real Time host. “Please hear me when I say this: When you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours,” he said.
Representatives for Maher did not immediately reply to EW’s request for comment. Real Time airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on HBO.