Three years ago, CBS placed a lot of faith in writer, producer, comedian and singer James Corden when it handed him the reins to its Late Late Show. This was not lost on him, which he candidly admitted at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event Sunday afternoon.
“We didn’t have the luxury of a fan base, so we knew we were going to have to come off the blocks really fast,” Corden said onstage at the DGA Theater. “That’s why it’s more of a variety show than a talk show.”
Taking nothing for granted, Corden explained this belief has yielded the show’s wildly popular segments, such as Carpool Karaoke, and “anything you can’t get from a podcast.” Consequently, Corden and his writing staff are pretty much game for anything, holding no cows sacred, taking nightly barbs at the White House and its revolving staff.
“We talk [about politics] every night,” he said. “It’s sort of like I got invited to someone’s house for dinner and everyone just starts arguing.”
The British expat, however, says he feels sincerely fortunate to call America home. “While it feels like America is going to hell in a hand cart, to me it’s this place of optimism and joy. A President doesn’t define the country; the people do.”
The latest installment to the Corden cabaret is “Crosswalk Musical,” about a deluded character that thinks he is the only person bringing culture and musical theater to Los Angeles.
“It’s such a stupid idea, if you really think about it,” he laughed. “We block traffic, bring in drones, and I genuinely don’t know if we have permission to do any of it. There’s something nice about having no preconceived notions or expectations of what your show is going to be that gives you a lot of freedom.”