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Saturday Night Live's longtime head Lorne Michaels has made a major impression on a slew of individuals over the years. His influence has led to plenty of people nabbing jobs on SNL and in other comedy mediums, and has apparently led to various comedians believing they would at least get to audition for the sketch comedy series. James Corden recently revealed that he was invited to a taping of Saturday Night Live, where he met Lorne. He spent 20 minutes talking to Lorne Michaels in his office, and then went to the show's after party where they chatted some more. It was during that time that Corden thought he was in with the producer. Here's what he had to say:
I left that night and thought, 'I think he's going to ask me to audition for Saturday Night Live.' But I never heard from him again.
I don't know if this story is more of a testament to how affable Lorne Michaels is or to how naïve James Corden may have been about American showbiz at the time. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the newer late night host revealed how he had done plenty of work in Britain already and had been a part of the successful comedy Gavin & Stacey, not to mention other TV roles. However, he wanted to make it in America, and while working on Broadway he had the opportunity to meet Lorne Michaels and the Saturday Night Live cast, which could have been a huge deal and could have totally taken his career in a different direction. (And on a different network, as SNL is NBC and The Late Late Show is housed at CBS.)
Perhaps, however, James Corden actually dodged a bullet during his meeting with Lorne Michaels. We've heard numerous horror stories from Saturday Night Live hopefuls who had disastrous auditions for the sketch comedy series. Kel Mitchell cracked jokes about DMX and attempted to dance and sing like Michael Jackson. He's called his own audition a mess. Kevin Hart also had a notoriously horrible experience.
Even stars who later did get the SNL gig have talked about how harrowing the audition experience was, as Leslie Jones admitted she yelled at Lorne Michaels during her big chance. Will Ferrell has said he attempted a terrible Bill Clinton impression nearly directly after Darrell Hammond was given his shot in front of Lorne. So, even when there's a good end result, those auditions don't sound particularly awesome.
It's probable James Corden even dodged a bullet on the night he spent with Lorne Michaels and co. Doubtless the funnyman has the chops to do sketch comedy, but his rise into late late night glory was a whole lot easier. In fact, CBS actually approached Corden about the job. He was even able a better deal with the network before signing on. That's one way to crush it without having to audition.
New episodes of The Late Late Show With James Corden air weeknights at 12:37 a.m. ET. To find out what shows are headed to TV this fall, check our our premiere schedule.