James Corden on Why He Felt Led to Address Bill Maher’s Fat-Shaming Comments (Exclusive)

James Corden
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

The host opened up to ET after taking home three awards at this year's Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday.

James Corden made headlines over the weekend following a powerful Late Late Show segment  in which he presented an impassioned rebuttal against Bill Maher's recent comments advocating fat shaming.

On Saturday, Corden took home three Emmy Awards, including one for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for his Carpool Karaoke series. The celebrated TV host spoke with ET's Denny Directo backstage after the big win, where he opened up about why he felt the need to speak out regarding the remarks made on Real Time with Bill Maher.

"I have nothing but respect for Bill Maher. I think he's terrific. I watched his show last night," Corden said, rejecting reports that framed his segment as the start of feud between the hosts. "What Bill Maher does on his show, he sort of sees something he disagrees with and he talks about it. And that's all we did."

Corden's well-received remarks came in response to a segment on Real Time in which Maher said that, considering the rates of obesity in America, fat shaming should make a comeback to promote a healthier lifestyle. Corden argued that fat shaming has never gone away, that the issue is vastly more complex than Maher is presenting, and that promoting fat shaming and bullying can, will and has hurt many people in significant ways. 

"I saw something that I felt like I had experience with," Corden added. "Ultimately, I think I know a little more about what it's like to be overweight than perhaps some other people do. So, to see someone talk like that made me feel like, 'Well, this is something I feel like we should talk about.'"

For Corden, the segment wasn't about slamming Maher or trying to publicly rebuke the comic and commentator for his opinion, but rather it was intended to explain the nuances of a complex and personal issue from a different point of view.

"We don't want to be a show that ever shys away from talking about anything that we're passionate about, and I feel like we tried to do it as respectfully as we could, as openly as we could, as honestly as we could," Corden said. "I hope that Bill, and lots of people, would listen to it and go, 'Ah, OK, it's not as simple as we perhaps think [it is].'"

As for the big Carpool Karaoke win, Corden said the experience was more than he could have imagined.

"This is our ninth Emmy in four years, and that's crazy to me," Corden marveled. "In all these things, there's no such thing as the best. It doesn't exist. You can't be the best actor, you can't be the best television show, it's all just someone's opinion. And we are overwhelmed that someone's opinion feels that it's us."

The Creative Arts Emmys air Saturday, Sept. 21 on FXX.