James Corden is getting closer and closer to the March 23 premiere of The Late Late Show and we’re finding out more about the show he’ll be putting on every night. The incoming host talked to Variety and discussed how he wanted the format and tone to stand apart from other American late-night shows. For one thing, he’s not interested in a monologue:
“James is not going to be able to go out and do six minutes on Isis,” [executive producer Rob] Crabbe says. “I just don’t think that’s going to be his style.”
For another thing, his band leader, Reggie Watts, is no stranger to comedy — or talk shows, as the “band leader” on IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang — and has a flair for being pretty great as an improviser:
“He was on a list of one,” Corden says. “I just couldn’t get it out my head that this wasn’t the best idea for our show.”
But the main part of the show will not be around Corden nor Watts, it will be on the guests:
The goal is to get to the guests faster. There’s a debate with CBS over how long the first act will be. If the producers get their way, the guests will be coming out in the initial part of the program — all at once. They’re modeling the show on Graham Norton’s U.K. series, in which all the stars come out at the same time and chat together on the couch.
Yet another departure is to make the guests feel welcome and not the target of the show’s jokes. It sounds like Corden wants to keep things (oh, forgive me for this) cordial. But it’s this very concern that has made booking guests harder, though they were able to convince Tom Hanks to sit down as the guinea pig as well as Kerry Washington, Will Ferrell, and Kevin Hart.
Even with this shifted focus on guests, Corden will still have his own bits and segments, but he and his producers were quick to point out that it’s going to take a lot of experimenting to figure out exactly what kind of show The Late Late Show will be with him at the helm. But expecting more Norton than Fallon (or Meyers, or Letterman, or Conan) will be kind of refreshing. My fingers are crossed for Corden’s very own Red Chair.
Maybe he’ll even raise the bar for Stephen Colbert when he takes over in September.