English actor and comedian James Corden sounded a tad bit nervous as we chatted earlier this week — shortly before he debuts as the new host of “The Late Late Show” on CBS. Corden is stepping into the hosting job held down for the past decade by Craig Ferguson, who departed the program late last year.
“If I can achieve half of Craig’s success, I’ll be very, very pleased,” said Corden.
One new thing that Corden will bring to the program: He wants to have all of his guests come out at the same time — at the beginning of the show.
“It’s something that is done regularly in the U.K.,” said Corden, noting that’s the process at veteran British chatmeister Graham Norton’s talk showl.
“Of course, Graham Norton’s show doesn’t work just because all the guests come out at the same time. It works because he’s a genius,” said Corden.
His hope is that “it just sort of leads to a more organic conversation, as people start talking to each other.”
Throughout our conversation, Corden definitely seemed overly modest about his chances for success. Perhaps that’s a shrewd approach — underselling expectations.
“This is a whole new chapter in my life,” he said. “Time will tell just how long that chapter is. It does certainly feel very odd, preparing to launch this. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. I’d never thought this was what I’d be doing. But I feel very proud that I am,” he said — his only self-boosting comment he made during our entire interview.
Since Corden has such an extensive background as an actor and comedian, he does hope to eventually work some comedy sketches into the show’s format. “But we will take our time on that,” he said. “We want guests to come on and feel comfortable being with us. I want to establish that we will not make anyone look stupid. If anyone is going to look stupid, I hope it’s just me.”
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” will debut at 11:35 p.m. March 23 on WBBM-Channel 2.