In 2015, a British man nobody really cared about in America became the host of The Late Late Show, taking over from Craig Ferguson, a Scottish man who was generally well-liked. The British man’s name is James Corden, and he announced yesterday that his reign of terror will come to an end in 2023.
When Corden crossed the pond to take over for Ferguson, the star had no hold on American media, almost making him an underdog (he was well-known to people like me for his role on Doctor Who). Slowly, it became apparent that, in order to prove himself, Corden would have to overcompensate by convincing celebrities to participate in all kinds of embarrassing behavior.
But unlike the similarly annoying and dark-sided Ellen Degeneres or Jimmy Fallon, Corden’s desperation to be liked doesn’t manifest itself in negging (Ellen) or laughing too hard at celebrities’ bad jokes (Fallon). It comes in the form of him desperately wanting to be liked more than the celebrities beside him. It’s rare to see someone so openly wanting attention in the presence of guests, so often he is silently screaming LOOK AT ME.
Even his most popular segments, like “Carpool Karaoke,” became more a showcase of his own desire to be loved than anything to do with the talent in the car. See how hard he tries to sing along with Shawn Mendes:
But what could be more telling of Corden’s desperation than his Crosswalk the Musical: Cinderella segment promoting Amazon’s Cinderella (he played one of the mice) that went viral for him air humping to Let’s Get Loud at a car:
But when you contrast his sugary sweet, non-threatening on-screen persona with all the examples that he is an enormous asshole, you see that he is a truly odious man. Like how he famously told the New Yorker he had to go to therapy for being “intoxicated” with fame or how his reputation of being an asshole completely derailed a planned Reddit AMA . And let’s not forget one person’s writer’s claim that he wanted his writers to get paid less.
Will we ever see another true villain on late night again? We can only hope someone will emerge, considering that Ellen has just filmed its last episode. Until then, we have one more year to hate James Corden, and I will not take it for granted.