In addition to an enthusiastic local crowd that included Corden’s parents, his wife Julia and his two eldest children, as well as executive producer Ben Winston’s father Lord Robert Winston, Corden was joined in the makeshift studio by guests Billie Eilish and “Stranger Things'” David Harbour as well as Lizzo via a Carpool Karaoke episode pre-recorded in Los Angeles.
It is the first time Corden has brought “The Late Late Show” to British shores since 2019 (a fact he referenced during his opening remarks when he asked the audience: “So, anything happened between now and then?”) and it will also be the last time, with the host due to step down from the gig next spring.
Corden’s imminent abdication — and what he plans to do next — came up a number of times during the show. Playing his popular segment “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts,” in which he and a celebrity guest take turns choosing between answering a personal question or eating a disgusting concoction, Eilish asked the host how much CBS had offered him to stay on. Corden opted to take a slurp of a chamomile tea containing cherries and Tofurkey rather than reveal the number. “I wouldn’t tell you and I certainly wouldn’t tell you while my dad is sat right there,” said Corden. “I think my dad would physically kill me, he would go ‘You idiot’ and he would smack me around.”
Directly before the segment, while production staff were setting up the table with various inedible dishes, Corden surprised the audience in London’s Freemasons Hall with an almost 10-minute spur-of-the-moment Q&A. Among the questions fans asked were whether Corden plans to take part in the “Doctor Who” special (answer: “I will not because Matt Smith’s my Doctor, man, I don’t fuck with anybody else”) and if he wants to film something with the England soccer team ahead of this year’s World Cup. “I don’t know, I’d like to,” he replied. “Maybe because England are playing America, that might be quite an interesting thing for us to do.”
Another fan simply shouted out “Come back to the U.K.!” to which Corden responded: “Come back to the — where do you think I am now? I can’t come back to the U.K. more than this moment right now. I’m in the U.K. as we speak. We’ll see. We’ll figure that out.” Rumors abound that Corden will return to the U.K. after finishing up his stint on “The Late Late Show,” in part to be closer to family.
Eilish also enquired whether Corden would return for a reunion of popular British sitcom “Gavin and Stacey,” which Corden co-writes with Ruth Jones and in which he plays a supporting role. The series ended in 2010 although the cast shot a Christmas special in 2019. “I don’t know,” Corden responded, prompting boos from the audience. “[Ruth’s] judgment is always bang on. She is such an incredible and she instinctively will know when it’s right and look, I’ll have a bit more free time, maybe that’ll be the time to get together and talk about something.”
Other questions Corden fended from the audience ranged from the sweet (“Do you like rollercoasters?”) to the presumptuous (“Can I get Harry Styles’ phone number?”) all of which were met with good humor from the host, who seemed delighted to be back on home turf for the first time in three years. In answer to yet more audience questions, he divulged that his favorite Carpool Karaoke guest was Paul McCartney and his favorite Kardashians are Kim, Kendall and Kris (Fulwell 73, the production company in which Corden is a partner alongside Winston and others, produces “The Kardashians” for Hulu).
Corden also revealed how his recent “Top Gun” segment with Tom Cruise — in which Cruise took the comedian out for a spin in a vintage fighter jet — came about. “[Cruise] sent me a text that said, ‘You should be my Goose and [we’ll] go flying in a plane.’ And I went, ‘That’s a great idea,’ thinking it would never happen, we’ll never get insured,” Corden said. “And I was so scared I almost pulled out of it until he called me. I sent an email to our producers going, ‘Guys, this is stupid. He’s an actor, he’s not a pilot. This is a stupid thing to do. I’m risking my life.’ And [Cruise] called me and he went like this: [Mimicking Cruise’s voice] ‘James, it’s Tom. I’m never going to to risk your life. I love you my brother, I promise you’ll be safe up there.'”
“And before you knew it I was in the airplane. I’ll never regret it but I hope I’ll never have to do it again. It was terrifying.”
The show airs in its normal time slot on CBS in the U.S. and one day behind in the U.K. on Sky Comedy. Among the guests set to join Corden in London during the remainder of the week are Ed Sheeran, Vin Diesel, Minnie Driver and Tessa Thompson.