Tom Cruise didn’t show up for the Academy Awards, but he did show up for the very last episode of The Late Late Show With James Corden — or rather, The Last Last Late Late Show With James Corden Carpool Karaoke Special.
Confused? Allow us to explain…
CBS gave Corden a two-hour sendoff split between primetime and late-night. The affair kicked off at 10 pm and featured a pair of pre-taped skits: First up, Cruise and Corden surprised an unsuspecting audience at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, appearing as Timon and Pumba in Disney’s The Lion King musical. They even performed “Hakuna Matata” in its entirety!
After a very scripted falling out, the star-crossed showbiz friends sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” which managed to reawaken both our Rock of Ages *and* Cats PTSD.
That was followed by one last Carpool Karaoke with encore guest Adele. The setlist included “Rolling in the Deep,” “Love Is a Game,” “I Drink Wine,” “Hometown Glory” and Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade.”
Come 12:37 am, The Late Late Show Proper kicked off with a pre-taped sketch starring a cavalcade of late-night hosts. The segment began with Corden waking up to find Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel in his bedroom, there to ensure he won’t reveal any hosting secrets once he’s officially out of the game.
That trio was later joined by Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, the latter of whom commanded Corden to grow a beard in his retirement. More specifically, “a huge beard, one that says ‘God spoke to me from a bush.'” Right on cue, the camera panned over to David Letterman and his biblical facial hair seated in the corner. (Trevor Noah also put in a cameo at the end.)
Fun fact: The skit marked Letterman’s first appearance on a CBS late-night show since he left The Late Show in 2015. He has since appeared three times on both NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, but has never sat down with Craig Ferguson or Late Show successor Colbert.
Corden then welcomed the night’s previously announced guests — Harry Styles, who somehow made mustard corduroy look good, and Will Ferrell, who used his time on the couch to ask important questions like “What are the Grammys?”
Next came a series of “thank you”s to everyone who has helped keep Corden’s Late Late Show going for eight years: “I sit here now today with nothing but love, gratitude and pride. This show is everything I ever wanted it to be. I’m just one part of a big team who make this show, this incredible family here.”
And what would a farewell from Corden be without one last musical number? The host ended his final night on TV seated at the piano, struggling to maintain his composure while singing an original song about everything he’ll miss. One line seemed to get him particularly worked up: “As the end of the show fast approaches, and I gaze at the studio floor, we filled it with thousands of moments, and now there won’t be any more.”
In fact, here’s a little behind-the-scenes scoop: Corden actually had to pause this performance as his emotions got the better of him. “It’s difficult to do when you can hear physical weeping,” he joked. (Except, you know, it wasn’t a joke.)
As previously reported, Corden’s sendoff marks the end of the Late Late Show franchise, which began in 1995 with original host Tom Snyder and continued with Craig Kilborn (1999-2004), Ferguson (2005-2014) and Corden (2015-2023). The post-Colbert time slot will soon be filled by a reboot of former Comedy Central gameshow @Midnight (host TBA).
What did you think of James Corden’s Late Late Show sendoff? Grade it via the following poll, then leave a review in Comments.
Gonna guess most people voting didn’t watch the episode and just don’t like James Corden.
I think it’s unfortunate that so much negative PR in the past few years has ruined the legacy of his show. It’s a pity more of his famous friends – if he has them – didn’t come out to support him in the media after the various stories surfaced.
I loved him on Gavin & Stacey, then he seemed like a jerk at the Tonys, then his other American stuff made him seem really full of himself, to me. Oh well, he’s rich so he doesn’t care what we think.
Because he’s nice to famous people doesn’t mean he’s not horrible to common folks. He earned his reputation. Maybe if people like him realized that actions have consequences then more folks wouldn’t have been all biy, bye!
Can we look forward to the UK taking him back now? We’re happy to see the back of him here in the colonies.
Interesting form of biological and psychological warfare 🤭
Wouldn’t be his biggest fan but the bit with Tom Cruise was really funny. Credit where it’s due, he made that time slot newsworthy for the first time in a long time. Sad that they didn’t have someone to take over that slot as a chat show. Curious what he’s going to do when he goes back to the UK. Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross have the main chat shows – is there really room or need for another one over there??
He was a creator, writer, and actor on the hugely successful UK comedy Gavin and Stacey. He has a Tony for best acting in a play. So, he has a lot more depth than just “late night host”.
I’m thrilled they’re not going to just do another chat show. There are like 5 others just on the networks, let alone cable channels. Nice to see them try something different, especially if it’s as good as the original @midnight
Guessing there were no “People of Color” he could’ve called for his last show??? Just saying’.
Trevor Noah will be delighted to know he is white.
Says everything when the wonderful Craig Ferguson wasn’t included. He handed the mantle onto him and did he get a mention? Anyway hope that’s the last we see of Cordon and his entitled lack of humour on screen.
I miss Craig Ferguson.. He was the best !!
I liked Ferguson- was the only late night I watch back then. Cordon’s show was a completely different vibe. James Cordon is incredibly talented. There were times when he was absolutely brilliant! Never wanted to miss a chance to see him at his best, so watched every night.
Same. CBS never appreciated what they had in Ferguson.
Good riddance! With any luck at all, he’ll go back to the UK and stay there.
How could you not mention Will eating bug trifle one last time?!? And how there was no hesitation on him naming his favorite late night host (Seth, good choice)???
worst tv host ever…
Corden’s wonderful words at the end about the United States were poignant, necessary…and absolutely true. We need to hear those words over & over again, that we are a beacon to the rest of the world, and we have so much more that unites us than divides us. I really appreciated the things he said- we need to remember them. 🙏
The sketches were funny, but I found the show itself a little disappointing. Figured Harry Styles would at least sing. Don’t really know what the point was of Harry or Will Ferrell being there. Actually think it would have been better to just show funny clips of past shows. Or it would have been nice to have video clips of guests who have been on the show say things about James and their experiences being on the show – funny clips, of course. Was really hoping for a One Direction reunion since he seems really close with the guys. But, oh well! The final show was just okay, but I haven’t watched the show with Tom Cruise & Adele yet. That one will probably be good. But I wish him well, and hope he enjoys being back in England. Think he did a great job in his late night spot!
You forgot to mention Trevor Noah appearing with James as the final act/follow-up to the last-night hosts segment.
I’ll really miss the show and the joy it provided.
Now that the Corden circus is over….pay Craig Ferguson anything he wants to bring him back,
He wants to be in Scotland.
Right, cuz he doesn’t want to be in there sh***ole country that is called there USA.
A beacon hope bahaha. Good one James.
Love James Corden show So sad to see it go He is doing what he needs to do fo himself and his family so glad for him in that regard Hope we will get to see him bac k in North America ove the next years He is such a talent Great 5 mon speech at the end Very true and people should heed his words Loved by a huge number of people
James Corden is an awful person.
Caroline is a toothless hag.
I liked the muscle cars in the background of the cold open. And the Tom Cruise production was really cute.
I love Corden and his Late, Late Show. So, with that and Bed, Bath and Beyond, it’s been a very sad week. I’m glad the Carol Burnett celebration aired to help soften the blow/s.
Loved that all those late night hosts stopped by. That was great fun.
Great last episode. James Corden, I for one will miss you. With Trevor Noah gone too, not sure where I will go for my “fun news”.
The Prime Time show was just ok. It was more like a Tom Cruise and Adele special. And it got old fast. It was saved by the Late Late Show which was much better with funny bits and funny people especially all the other Late Show Hosts.
So long, farewell, adieu
It was more entertaining than any talk show experience I have ever watched. It was fun, joyous, over the top and filled with heart. I watched it live and then watched the recording of it. He took chances, went big. I loved it. SNL should take a lesson on thinking fresh and bigger.