Corden spent a good amount of time during the first show introducing himself to the audience. He mentioned more than once that he hailed from a place in England that few if any viewers had ever heard of, High Wycombe. He made several mentions of his wife and two young children.
Leno, Streep and Schwarzenegger took part in a lengthy taped bit that depicted Corden getting into shape for the grueling work of hosting a nightly talk show. Streep recently co-starred with Corden in Disney’s film version of the musical “Into the Woods.”
CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves was seen at the outset in a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”-inspired element showing that Corden got the “Late Late Show” gig by finding the fabled “golden ticket” in a chocolate bar. That portion of the segment featured cameos from Joel McHale, Simon Cowell, George Lopez, Katie Couric, Eddie Redmayne and Lena Dunham.
Corden’s “Late Late Show” aims to be distinctive by having guests sit together on a couch rather than filing out one by one. Actress Mila Kunis and Hanks also walked through the crowd to get to the stage, getting high-fives and waves along the way.
Hanks gamely played along with a lengthy bit done in front of a green screen in which he and Corden re-enacted scenes from various Hanks movies.
Corden turned the spotlight on bandleader Reggie Watts a few times, including a moment in which he asked Hanks a oddball question that came across as rehearsed: “In 1806 did you think that people might have been a little bit different than they are today?” Ever the generous guest, Hanks played along and laughed with Corden.
Judging by the opening night, “Late Late Show” will incorporate more musical-sketch comedy numbers than it has under Corden’s predecessors — Tom Synder, Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson, who helmed the show for 10 years prior to his sign off in December.
Corden ended his maiden voyage at the piano, delivering Broadway-style ballad with lyrics penned for the occasion that urged viewers to “come and watch the ‘Late Late Show’ with me.”