It’s been five years since James Corden followed in the footsteps of famous Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon and began to make his mark on American late-night television.
On March 23, 2015, the British actor, comedian and presenter made his debut as the new host of CBS’ The Late Late Show, replacing outgoing host Craig Ferguson, who’d departed the show the prior December after nearly ten years. And almost immediately, he began to make his mark. He added a house band back into the mix, led by absurdist musician-comedian Reggie Watts. He leaned less heavily on the traditional opening monologue. In keeping with the tradition of British chat shows like The Graham Norton Show, he opted to have all his guests on stage at once for a livelier conversation, rather than the American tradition of one-on-one conversations held back-to-back. Rather than have his guests join him from offstage in the wings, they entered from behind the audience, making their way through the crowd to get to the host. And then there are the bits.
Oh, the bits.
Relying on Corden’s considerable strengths as a comedic actor and singer, the show quickly began introducing recurring bits involving his guests. Easily digestible and often hilarious, they were tailor-made for YouTube virality and quickly became the show’s calling card. In honor of five years of The Late Late Show with Corden at the helm, these are the five segments that put the show on the map.
Role Call: Introduced with his very first guest–the beloved Tom Hanks–this recurring segment finds the celeb in question acting out snippets of their illustrious careers alongside Corden and some very hilarious costume quick-changes. Since earning Hanks’ cosign on the segment (in a clip that’s been viewed over 24 million times on YouTube), Corden’s been joined by Hollywood heavyweights like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts for subsequent installments.
Crosswalk the Musical: Considering American audiences had just been introduced to Corden in the film adaptation of Into the Woods before he began hosting The Late Late Show, it was no surprise that several of his most successful and enduring segments have leaned heavily on his musicality. In this hilarious bit, he and and his guests hold a flash mob-style performance of songs from musicals in the middle of a crosswalk on L.A.’s busy Beverly Blvd. just outside his studio as commuters look on in disbelief and amusement, waiting for the light to change. Beginning in April of his first year with Grease, he’s since been joined by the casts of Frozen, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast for increasingly intricate and hilarious performances and even taken the show on the road, joining the cast of The Greatest Showman in NYC and mounting two separate productions in London.
Drop the Mic: This segment, which features Corden and a guest squaring off against one another in a scripted rap battle, became so popular that it became its own series on TBS back in 2017, hosted by Method Man and Hailey Bieber. But it’s remained a staple of Corden’s show as well, allowing stars like Helen Mirren, Usain Bolt and Jeff Goldblum to flex their surprising flows.
Carpool Karaoke: Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without this recurring bit, undoubtedly the crown jewel in Corden’s arsenal of viral segments. Beginning with Mariah Carey back when the show began, so many of our favorite pop stars have ridden shotgun with the late-night host, joining him on his commute throughout Los Angeles (or abroad) while belting out a few of their favorite tunes. And while Corden accurately credits Mimi for being brave enough to be the first to join him, giving the bit the A-list co-sign it needed to become the fan-favorite it is today, we remain partial to Adele‘s killer 2016 appearance, complete with her masterful MC skills via Nicki Minaj‘s “Monster” verse.
Here’s to many more years to come, James!
The Late Late Show with James Corden airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m. on CBS.
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