James Corden, the host of The Late Late Show, has really struck gold with his “Carpool Karaoke” segments. The most recent installment of the series featured a car full of current Broadway heavyweights, while previous incarnations have featured Adele, Sia, Gwen Stefani, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas. The idea really is genius and has provided Corden with the viral staple that all of the late-night hosts are looking for now. And the host explained how it all came together to Stephen Colbert on Monday’s episode of The Late Show.
Let’s go back over to England, when Corden was working on the BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey. Corden’s character had gotten pretty popular; so much so that Corden was asked to be involved with Comic Relief, a comedy special for charity. One of the ideas Corden had kicked around was for his character to pick George Michael up from prison. That sounded cool and all, but prison? That’s kind of a touchy subject. So they dropped the prison part but kept the car part and the George Michael part.
“But what if there’s still some fun for me and George to be in the car and we’ll sing some Wham songs?”
Now fast forward to when Corden was kicking around bits for The Late Late Show and the idea was brought into the mix.
“We figure Los Angeles, traffic, car pool lanes, karaoke — that’s fun, driving people in a car, singing songs. Great. People are going to love this.”
I bet. What could go wrong?
“No one wanted to do it. Not one at all. Imagine a recording artist? They said no.”
Well that sounds pretty bleak, but after many no’s, fortunately Mariah Carey was the first one to say yes, thus opening the floodgates to viral sing-alongs for the next million years. So if there’s anyone to thank for Carpool Karaoke, it’s the elusive chanteuse herself, Mimi.