James Corden’s late night show first aired on CBS on March 23 of last year, which means The Late Late Show is about to hit a big birthday. By now, James Corden is a household name with a well-known show, featuring a couch format that allows multiple celebrities to interact and memorable recurring segments like “Carpool Karaoke.” However, it wasn’t always that way. The Late Late Show host recently recounted the time that CBS wouldn’t let him on to the lot, despite already being hired as the new late late night host. Here’s what he had to say:
I drove back to CBS, hoping that people would start to know who I was. I didn’t have my pass, and security wouldn’t let me in the building. I was like, ‘I’m the host of a show.’ They were like, ‘What show is that?’ I was like, The Late Late Show With James Corden. They were like, ‘Who are you?’ I was like, ‘James Corden.’ They were like, ‘Is there anyone you can ring in the office that can come down and verify that you’re here?’ That’s what we were up against.
James Corden isn’t the most famous or popular of the late night hosts. He has a tougher timeslot than the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel. Plus, as a British import, he had less name recognition than someone like SNL’s Seth Meyers going in. However, the fact that he told EW in a recent interview that the guard gate wouldn’t allow him in when he already had his own show and his own soundstage seems a little ridiculous. While it wasn't always easy going, overall, James Corden is pretty gracious about the whole experience of doing something new on late night for an American audience. He also noted he had to check his ego at the door.
It wasn’t just getting around the lot that was problem for James Corden in the early days of The Late Late Show. The late night host was also concerned about just signing on any guests to sit on his couch, at all.
I took about 10 meetings, driving all around L.A. to sit with publicists to try to convince them that this was a show that wanted its guests to shine, that it would be a safe environment, that sharing the couch with other stars wasn’t a bad thing, that Betty White could be on the same couch with Amar’e Stoudemire. We went to this big publicist with big clients, and I said, ‘I promise it’s going to be great.’
It all worked out in the end. James Corden now commands a nice little audience in the timeslot. Although he’s not beating out Seth Meyers and NBC every night, we’re guessing he is now able to get on and off of the CBS lot, with or without his badge.
New episodes of The Late Late Show with James Corden air weeknights at 12:37 a.m. ET. Photo courtesy of CBS.