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

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - KARAOKE KING -

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

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