JAMES CORDEN’S AMERICAN ADVENTURE
After success on this side of the Atlantic with ‘Gavin & Stacey’, Corden has cracked America, with the ‘Carpool Karaoke’ segment of his ‘Late Late Show’ — featuring everyone from Michelle Obama to One Direction — regularly getting millions of YouTube hits
Matt Damon is running toward the rooftop railing of an LA building, and people are afraid he’s gonna die. James Corden is not one of them. Damon is reprising Jason Bourne, walking fast and looking over the right shoulder of his scuffed brown leather jacket. He then runs into a plump Brit who’s dressed exactly the same. Damon smiles. It’s Corden, the host of CBS’s
and the proud son of Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, in England’s unfashionable Home Counties.
It’s an hour before the taping of Corden’s show, and he and Damon are filming an action scene of sorts. The premise is that Corden accosts Damon outside a cake shop and regales him with tales of how many
Late Late Show, The
times he gets mistaken for Damon. (Corden probably has 80 pounds on him.) Damon promises to put him in the next Bourne flick to shut him up. The twist is, Damon casts him as his stunt double.
Damon has only two hours to film the three-scene skit before he has to fly to New York. Unfortunately, events are slowing things down. There is a last shot to get on the CBS helipad where Damon and then Corden pretend they’re jumping off the roof into a dumpster, with Damon convincing Corden that adding air bags will make the stunt seem fake. (Corden misses the dumpster and dislocates his penis.) A problem arises when the CBS suits want to pause the taping because they think Damon should wear a safety harness as he approaches the roof ’s edge. The clock is ticking. Corden loses it for a moment.
“He’s not actually going over the side,” says Corden, his voice rising and his cheeks going red. “Jesus, it’s not in the script. He was never going over. This is fucking mad.”
Sheila Rogers, Corden’s booking director and a long-time
veteran, throws her arm around Corden’s shoulder and walks him a few steps into a tent, where the host regains his equilibrium. Minutes later, he wanders over to me and chuckles in a mordant British way.
“How bad would I feel if Matt actually did go over the wall?” he asks. “How’d I talk my way out of it?” He turns to a crew member who’s cracking up. Corden looks at her with comic seriousness. “I’d blame you — and you know what? People would buy it. Don’t think I wouldn’t.”
Set pieces like this are what keeps food on the table for Corden’s US show, which trails and
in real-time viewers. But this is a different epoch. His in
Letterman Late Show With David Late Night With Seth Meyers Nightline Carpool Karaoke,
which Corden and a celebrity drive around in an SUV, belting out the star’s hits, has featured everyone from Adele to Michelle Obama to Stevie Wonder. If you add all of the episodes together, it’s nearing a billion views on YouTube.
is the sexy one, but everything is monetised at There’s a million ways to get a million hits on YouTube, and it seems like the show has tried each one. There’s Corden reading the news written only in emojis. There’s Corden dressed like a schoolgirl for a take-off of Meghan Trainor’s
Some are regular stunts, like the one where Corden takes a random job for a day. A recent bit had him spending a few hours at LensCrafters, a local opticians, with somewhat hilarious results. The trick was, LensCrafters paid for the spot. (The company’s promoted tweet heralding the piece haunted my dreams and Twitter feed
Carpool Karaoke Karaoke That Bass. The Late Late Show. All About