by Julian Spivey
James Corden has only been the host of the ‘Late, Late Show’ on CBS for two weeks, but he’s already doing some incredibly interesting late night television episodes.
Corden has already broken from the typical late night talk show mold in that he’s been bringing all of his nightly guests out at the same time for their interviews, much like Graham Norton does on his talk show in the U.K. (where Corden is from).
On Corden’s ‘Late, Late Show’ episode on Thursday night (April 2) the British comedian did something that I’ve never seen done on late night television, which after years of watching legends like David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson do their thing is mighty hard to do. Corden hosted his entire episode from a random stranger’s living room.
Corden opened up his show going door-to-door asking residents of a Los Angeles neighborhood, four blocks away from his CBS Studio, if he and his crew could enter their home to film their entire hour-long episode, which included many surprise guests.
After being turned down at first Corden finally found a house with residents that would let him film his television show from their living room. The result would be Corden doing an entire episode from a dude named Tommy’s house and it would became an instant classic as far as late night programming goes.
Corden began the show with his usual monologue, which was mostly him making fun of the fact that he was doing a monologue in front of an audience that consisted of his crew and the three residents who lived in Tommy’s house. Things were really awkward in a fantastically funny way when Corden set down on Tommy’s couch after the monologue to interview the three residents, including Tommy – a sort of hippie-ish man who didn’t seem to know how to react to a television show being filmed abruptly in his living room. Corden’s interactions with the residents, but especially Tommy, were a true highlight of the episode.
The great thing about Corden doing a show from a random person’s house is that he attempts to do it like he would a normal show while recognizing the ridiculousness of being in somebody’s small living room. The first guest actor Jeff Goldblum seemed right at home as he piled onto Tommy’s couch with Corden, Tommy and the other two residents of the home. I’ve never thought a whole lot about Goldblum, other than him being a serviceable supporting actor on film, but in this interview he seemed like a generally likable and interesting guy who you’d enjoy having dinner with. His interactions with the residents of the house were just as priceless as Corden’s.
A real highlight for viewers – and especially Tommy – was the appearance of Grammy Award winning musician Beck on the show. Beck is a particular favorite artist of Tommy who seemed shell-shocked and said that he owned five of the artist’s records on vinyl and asked Beck for his autograph upon meeting him. Beck would later perform “Country Down” from his Grammy Album of the Year record “Morning Phase” right in Tommy’s living room.
The greatest thing about Corden doing a show from a stranger’s house was when the infectious host decided to play a game of hide-and-go-seek with Tommy, Goldblum, Beck and the show’s band leader Reggie Watts. The four men took off and hid in the house and Corden seemed to really get a kick out of trying to find them.
One of the things that people always say about “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon is how boyish he is, but at times Corden’s boyishness and good-natured attitude is enough to make Fallon seems almost like an elder statesmen of late night television.
Corden has shown signs of absolute brilliance in his first two weeks on the air, none more so than his episode on Thursday night. If he can continue to be so charming, as well as innovative, we might be watching one of the new greats of late night TV.