James Corden on bringing his hit Us chat show to the UK and the debt he owes to George Michael
George was so unbelievably important in my life
new Chat show The Late Late Show Weds-fri / sky 1 / 10.00pm
When James Corden made his debut as host of The Late Late Show in March 2015, the British star was worried about how he’d go down with American audiences.
Two years on, the gamble has paid off. Since taking over the slot on the CBS network, he has given viewers many iconic moments – from acting out Tom Hanks’s best-known films with the Hollywood star, to his popular Carpool Karaoke, which sees him driving and singing with the likes of Justin Bieber,
Lady Gaga and even
Now James, 38, is back in the UK for three special episodes of the chat show on Sky1. Filmed in London, guests are being kept under wraps, though we have been told to expect ‘a British twist’.
Here, our host – who also returns in a new series of A League of Their Own on
Sky1 this Monday – anticipates his homecoming, and reflects on his time in LA…
Are you looking forward to The Late Late Show in London? It’s a dream come true, and we’re going to do our best to make the week in London memorable.
The success of the show in the US must have been a surprise I’m incredibly proud. When we first started, I’m sure the majority of viewers were thinking, ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ Did you always want to host your own talk show?
It’s never something I aspired to be. It was only when I was told we could do anything we wanted on the show that it became incredibly exciting.
What’s been your favourite moment? Meeting Michelle Obama for Carpool Karaoke was incredible. You’re walking around the White House and you keep thinking, ‘This is amazing’.
How is Carpool Karaoke filmed? I’m in a convoy of a few cars, so all I have to do is drive as straight as I can – and that’s it. I think my driving is OK, but I’d rather do it in LA than in London. That’s quite a lot harder.
George Michael provided the inspiration for Carpool, didn’t he? We did a sketch in 2011 for Comic Relief with me playing Smithy from Gavin & Stacey, and people loved it. I feel incredibly lucky to have spent a moment in his orbit. George was unbelievably important in my life.
Have you always loved music?
My father was a musician in the Royal Air Force. His father was a musician, and his father was also a musician. So music has always surrounded me in various moments, good or bad. It’s made me feel I’m not on my own, whatever it might be that I’m facing.
You’ve had incredible success in the theatre – including a Tony award – but you haven’t acted on stage for five years, do you miss it? I’d love to, but my job can be quite restrictive. I feel very lucky with the plays I’ve done, but I’m not pining to do more. I’m very happy and enjoying what I’m doing right now. All I’ve ever wanted was a different and varied career. So to have that makes me feel very lucky.
Is it easy to relax?
I don’t enjoy sitting around. Being so busy can be overwhelming, but I consider it a privilege to feel tired. My cousins are bricklayers, and they must be more exhausted than I am. But it’s good to feel tired; it means I’ve given everything. If I can’t find the enthusiasm for doing this job then what’s the point?
Where will you be in five years? Oh Jeez, I don’t know. I hope I’m happy and the people I love are healthy. That’s all I really care about.
The Late Late Show IS previewed on PAGES 68-69
Belting up with George Michael for Comic Relief
Presidential sweet: With Michelle Obama