James Corden responded to that photo of him kissing Sean Spicer at the Emmys with a mix of serious remarks, jokes, and self-lampooning.
“The big winners last night were Donald Glover, Hulu, and former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer won best actor in a comedy for his role in Donald Trump’s administration,” Corden began his opening monologue on Monday night’s The Late Late Show. “I’m kidding, of course. But Sean Spicer actually did make a cameo at last night’s ceremony and, according to some reports, at the afterparty, Spicer was the most popular guy in the room. And I just want to say, I think people are forgetting that this man lied to the American people, and should not be embraced. These Hollywood phonies kissing up to Sean Spicer are disgusting. I mean, who did this? Who are we talking about here?”
The photo in question of Corden planting a fat one on Spicer’s cheek emerged on the screen, and Corden replied, “I know you think that is a picture of me kissing Sean Spicer, but in the spirit of Sean Spicer, no, it isn’t.”
Spicer made a surprise appearance on the Emmys stage Sunday night, and many claimed that host Stephen Colbert and the ceremony’s producers were embracing a man who perpetuated the lies of President Donald Trump. Corden’s photo op, too, drew accusations of “normalizing fascism.”
“Anyone ever have that feeling when you get a little drunk and then wake up the next morning and think, ‘Oh God, who did I kiss last night?’ It’s a bit like that,” Corden continued. “To be fair, everyone was kissing ass last night at the Emmys. I just happened to kiss the biggest one there.”
On a more serious note, the late-night host recognized that, “understandably, some people have been disappointed by this photo. In truth, I’m disappointed by it as well. I am. I’ve been reading a lot of harsh comments on Twitter today, and I hear you loud and clear. Truly, I do.” Then, he returned to the laughs. “So much so I’m really starting to regret that Carpool Karaoke that we’ve taped with Steve Bannon. Feels like a mistake today.”
Corden added, “I can promise you this, that kiss was a one-time thing. I’m not one of these people who has a couple of drinks and goes around kissing people that I don’t know.” Though, he acknowledged all those times he kissed Joseph Gordon-Levitt, author David Walliams, Allison Janney, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Bryan Cranston, Daniel Radcliffe, and Ken Jeong.
“Basically what I’m saying is, I need to learn how to shake hands,” he said.