Fun in the fast lane

James Cor­den presents ‘Car­pool Karaoke’ spe­cial Bruno Mars and James Cor­den as seen in “Car­pool Karaoke”

The Hamilton Spectator - - THE SPEC TV - BY KYLA BREWER TV Me­dia

Nav­i­gat­ing through Los An­ge­les traf­fic may seem like the least likely sit­u­a­tion in which to f ind joy, but one of late night’s big­gest stars has man­aged to do just that, thanks to mu­sic. Fa­mous fig­ures belt out tunes as James Cor­den takes the wheel in his pop­u­lar late-night seg­ment “Car­pool Karaoke,” which has be­come enor­mously pop­u­lar both in his show, “The Late Late Show With James Cor­den,” and on YouTube.

For any­one who hasn’t ex­pe­ri­enced the fun in the car­pool lane, Cor­den presents an all-new seg­ment in “The Late Late Show Car­pool Karaoke Prime­time Spe­cial 2017,” pre­mier­ing Mon­day, May 22 , on CBS. In ad­di­tion to Cor­den’s favourite “Late Late Show” mo­ments, the one-hour spe­cial also in­cludes Tod­dlerog­ra­phy, which fea­tures celebs try­ing to fol­low rou­tines chore­ographed by tod­dler in­struc­tors. This marks the sec­ond such prime-time spe­cial — last year’s edi­tion won an Emmy for Out­stand­ing Va­ri­ety Spe­cial, and plans for a stand-alone se­ries are in the works.

“The joy of ‘Car­pool’ is the in­ti­macy it cre­ates, and see­ing the love our pas­sen­gers have for mu­sic,” ex­plained Ben Win­ston, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of “The Late Late Show With James Cor­den” when news of a “Car­pool Karaoke” se­ries was an­nounced.

In­spired by a “Gavin & Stacey” sketch he’d per­formed with Ge­orge Michael in 2011, the“Car pool Karaoke” bits have been a hit from the very first one, which fea­tured Cor­den with Mariah Carey in March 2015. Other stars who’ve rid­den shot­gun with Cor­den in­clude Bruno Mars, Jen­nifer Hud­son, Justin Bieber, Ste­vie Won­der, Jen­nifer Lopez, Michelle Obama with Missy El­liot, Brit­ney Spears, Madonna and Lady Gaga, among oth­ers. The edi­tion fea­tur­ing Adele has gar­nered the most at­ten­tion so far, go­ing vi­ral with 42 mil­lion views within five days. The clip has earned more than 155 mil­lion views and is still climb­ing.

Those are im­pres­sive stats, but even more im­pres­sive was the story of how Red Hot Chili Pep­pers singer An­thony Kiedis helped save a baby’s life dur­ing the film­ing of the band’s “Car­pool Karaoke” seg­ment. As the stor y goes, fol­low­ing an un­aired dance-off, Kiedis and the other band mem­bers no­ticed a woman clutch­ing her baby, say­ing she couldn’t breathe, so they rushed to them to see if they could help. In an in­ter­view with Chris Moyles on Ra­dio X, the singer re­counted how he rubbed the baby’s belly for a short while be­fore the am­bu­lance ar­rived, which ap­peared to help get the tyke breath­ing again.

With mind-bog­gling YouTube hits and tales of life-sav­ing front­men, Cor­den’s “Car­pool Karaoke” was bound to land a reg­u­lar se­ries or­der even­tu­ally, and it has. In July, it was an­nounced that Ap­ple had inked a deal to of­fer a 16-episode se­ries to its sub­scribers, mak­ing it Ap­ple Mu­sic’s first show. While it may not al­ways be Cor­den at the wheel in the stand-alone ver­sion, as an off icial host hasn’t been an­nounced, some of the celebri­ties slated to ap­pear in the se­ries in­clude John Le­gend, Ali­cia Keys, Blake Shel­ton and mem­bers of Me­tal­lica, who sing along to songs from their own playlists. A pre­view also shows a clip of Cor­den with ac­tor and rap­per Will Smith (“Ali,” 2001).

Sadly for fans, the se­ries edi­tion of the late-night sketch has been de­layed. The show had been sched­uled to be re­lease d to Ap­ple subsc r ibers in April, but that month it was an­nounced the show would be avail­able later in the year. No rea­son was given for the post­pone­ment.

Re­gard­less of when it pre­mieres, given the pop­u­lar­ity of the “The Late Late Show’s” comedy seg­ment, it has a lot of po­ten­tial. Nor is it the f irst se­ries to be in­spired by late-night fun. Trend­set­ter Jimmy Fal­lon got the party started with his “Lip Sync Bat­tle” sketches, which fea­ture two celebri­ties who go head-to-head in epic lip sync com­pe­ti­tions. They be­gan in “Late Night With Jimmy Fal­lon” af­ter cre­ators John Krasin­ski (“The Of­fice”) and Stephen Mer­chant (“Ex­tras”) came up with the idea in an­tic­i­pa­tion of Krasin­ski’s ap­pear­ance on the show. The bat­tles take place oc­ca­sion­ally in “The Tonight Show Star­ring Jimmy Fal­lon,” and also in an uber-pop­u­lar prime-time se­ries, which airs Thurs­day nights on Spike TV.

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