It started as a tryout on a Tuesday in May 2016 when host James Corden faced off with Anne Hathaway. On YouTube, the rap smackdown clocked 6 million view in 18 hours, Corden reminisced. David Schwimmer, scheduled to guest on the show that Thursday, said he wanted to do same.
“We never normally do the same bit twice in a week,” Corden said today at TCA, only Schwimmer “sent in a load of lyrics about me and I said, ‘Right. It’s on’.”
“It was one of those things that sort of blew up and we knew there was a series in it,” Late Late Show/Drop The Mic executive producer Ben Winston told TV critics.
Unsolicited, Corden added that Drop The Mic is not about “trading insults; it’s trading joy, because of its musicality.”
One TV critic took issue with that. While describing herself as a fan of the franchise, she insisted there is an inherent “mean spirited-ness to it.”
“I don’t think it is mean spirited in that, if you watch a roast on television it is a monologue of hits and barbs and someone takes it,” Corden countered. The atmosphere in the room on Drop The Mic, he argued, is “one of joy and fun” – and the person being dinged gets to respond. “There is a joyfulness to it; I never think it’s mean,” he maintained, describing the format as “fun jabs.”
“It’s a a joyful comedic fun show, and we could not be more proud of it,” Winston argued stoutly.
Talk along this line continued for some time until Corden, deflecting, said, “I think Kevin Reilly might have been smoking weed when we came… because it really smelled like weed back there.” Corden was talked about the TNT/TBS chief who shared the stage with Snoop Dogg during his Q&A. “I’m worried about that, because I don’t know who else it might have been.”
Kinda lame and very obvious — but worked brilliantly, and the session moved in.
Corden’s dream Drop The Mic face-off? Judy Dench and Maggie Smith.
“I’d love to see Judi Dench vs. Maggie Smith, Dame and Dame, going at it, saying everything they’ve dreamed of saying over the last 30 years,” he said.
“It’s our Biggie vs. Tupac,” EP Jensen Karp chimed in. “It only ends with murder, that’s what I think.”
And, in one of the more interesting moments, show host Method Man was asked who were his inspirations as a hip hop artist. “Electric Company,” he responded without missing a beat. “Just being honest,” he said as TV critics reacted to his paying tribute to a PBS educational series. “Plus, my parents played music in the house.”