‘Late Late Show’s new host, James Corden, keeps midnight fresh and fun

Aubrey Shanahan

Craig Ferguson manned “The Late Late Show” for just under ten years, making him the most popular and successful host of the CBS program. While it may not be as popular as late night juggernauts “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night,” it has had its fair share of success. Ferguson has joined the likes of David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

“The Late Late Show” is in good hands, however, as English actor James Corden has taken the helm. Corden is best known for his recent role as the baker in “Into the Woods” and from the British sitcom “Gavin & Stacey.”

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The format of “The Late Late Show” doesn’t deviate much from most talk shows on the air presently, which is not really a problem, as any big risks this early on could have backfired. Generally, late night television is like comfort food; it’s familiar, it works and it’s relaxing after a long day of work. There’s a reason things haven’t changed over decades of talk show TV.

That being said, the format of celebrity interviews differs from most United States shows and follows the same pattern as British talk show host Graham Norton. The guests don’t come out one at a time; instead they are introduced at the beginning and then brought out all together. It’s a conversation, as opposed to more singular interviews, and doesn’t really favor one guest over another. It’s more authentic and down to earth, which I personally enjoy.

Already the show is generating healthy buzz, as a myriad of A-list celebrities have made appearances. Corden and Tom Hanks were hilarious as they acted out all of the legendary actor’s films (the “Sleepless in Seattle” bit had me in stitches). He also had Mariah Carey sing along with some of her biggest hits while they drove around Los Angeles, a funny, cool skit for any fan of the songstress.

Corden is humble and genuinely funny, which is reflected in the atmosphere he cultivates for the show. It really feels fun to watch him do his thing, similar to Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel. He isn’t afraid to laugh at himself, and he knows where he stands as a celebrity. In the very first episode, he acknowledged that he is in an incredible position and stated that he truly wants to entertain his audience.

With such a modest and talented host, the show feels effortless and keeps you engaged. Corden is kind of an underdog in the industry, which makes you root for him. You want him to be funny, and you want others to like him too.

The next step is for Corden to make a real image for himself and create a successful show that separates him from the rest of the pack. Once enough people are watching regularly, he should have a great shot at having real influence in the industry.

It’s way too early to make any sweeping statements about a show that airs every weeknight for a good portion of each year. Craig Ferguson shot over 2,000 episodes before his run ended, so with less than a handful under Corden’s belt, we can’t really know for sure where he will take us. However, with what we’ve been given so far, I’m optimistic that he can become a late night staple that will last for years to come.

Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @aubs926.

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