James Corden Explains His ‘Late Late Show’ Success

When CBS announced that James Corden would succeed Craig Ferguson as The Late Late Show host in September, 2014, many late night TV watchers didn’t know much about the British writer, actor, and comedian. Over a year later, Corden has established himself as a late night force to be reckoned with and has celebrities enthusiastically participating in many of his show’s segments.

Corden, who will host the Tony Awards on June 12, made some changes to The Late Late Show that has helped made him stand out from his predecessors. Corden has a house band that goes by the nickname Karen, led by Reggie Watts, who’s also the show’s announcer.

Corden also has a way of interviewing guests that’s different from the other current late night shows. Corden usually interviews all his guests in one sitting, instead of talking to them separately.

What really makes James Corden’s show stand out is his hilarious and fun comedy segments. Corden talked to Yahoo TV about how he just wants to entertain people with funny and unusual things that aren’t done with the other late night shows.

“That’s our whole thought process: What will make the best hour of TV tonight that people will be able to share and watch and view across the weeks, months, or years that it lives on the internet?”

Corden has made a name for himself to the American audience with segments like “Carpool Karaoke,” “Drop the Mic,” and “Tattoo Roulette,” which always include celebrities in the mix. These types of segments are uploaded online so fans can rewatch the segments, or share them to attract new viewers.

Alice Through the Looking Glass star Anne Hathaway was the recent celebrity to participate in “Drop the Mic” a no-holds-barred, over-the-top rap battle challenge.

Corden played “Tattoo Roulette” with British pop band One Direction, where if any one of them picked a box that has the word “tattoo” inside it, that person would have to get a Late Late Show or a 1D tattoo, depending on who selected the box.

Unfortunately, that segment with One Direction is the only time that Corden wanted to do “Tattoo Roulette,” since many of the band members already had tattoos. Corden said it would have been weird to repeat the segment, and it would end up losing its uniqueness.

James Corden’s most popular segment is “Carpool Karaoke,” where he sits in his SUV and has a famous singer as his passenger. During the segment, Corden and the artist sing popular songs and chit-chat while driving through traffic.

Many singers like Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Sia, and Justin Beiber have participated in the carpooling segment, with other singers waiting their turn to shoot the segment with Corden. It was announced on June 3 that Hamilton Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda will be the next singer to have his own “Carpool Karoake” with Corden.

“Carpool Karaoke” is so popular that the segment had its own one-hour special on CBS during primetime back in March. The special featured Lopez and other popular highlights from the late night segment.

Corden enjoys making these types of segments because they can be uploaded online, where fans can watch the funny action again, or people who have yet to discover The Late Late Show can see the segments for the first time, and hopefully come back to watch more comedy from Corden.

“There’s no lead-ins, there’s no relying on a football game, or a big 10 p.m. drama, or whatever it is. If your content is relevant and funny and good, then people will find it and share it, and that’s been the most incredible thing about our show.”

The Late Late Show with James Corden appears on weeknights after The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

[Photo by David Becker/Getty Images]