James Corden reflects on success of "Carpool Karaoke"

James Corden reflects on success of “Carpool Karaoke”

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Los Angeles — With the final episode of “The Late Late Show With James Corden” airing Thursday night following a successful eight-year run, the British entertainer opened up about what has become one of the most iconic sketches in late night television history.  

Corden kicked off “Carpool Karaoke” in March of 2015, and it was instantly a hit. 

“I was like, ‘this is bulletproof, this will work as a segment, I know it will,'” Corden told CBS News.

The first episode, featuring Mariah Carey and Corden driving around Los Angeles, has garnered more than 36 million views on YouTube.  

“Mariah Carey came out of the house and said to me, ‘I’m not singing today, I was up all night,'” Corden said. “And you can see me in the car, ‘like c’mon.'” 

Corden said it was when he received a call from the White House that he knew it was working.

“Michelle Obama, you know, her team calling the office direct to say, ‘the first lady would really like to do a ‘Carpool Karaoke,'” Corden said. “And you’re like, ‘I guess this is working.'”

James Corden Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke
First lady Michelle Obama joins James Corden for Carpool Karaoke on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” in July 2016 

CBS Television Network

Corden’s 2016 sing-a-long with Adele has been viewed more than 260 million times on YouTube. And in 2018, he took “Carpool Karaoke” overseas to England, driving the streets of Liverpool with Sir Paul McCartney. The episode was emotional, with McCartney giving Corden a tour of his childhood home.

Speaking to “60 Minutes” in 2020, Corden described what he thinks was the key to “Carpool Karaoke” becoming such a hit. 

“There is a common thread… All of these are about showing a human being inside this very, very famous person. That’s actually what it is,” Corden said at the time. “The core of it is the intimacy of the interview. That these are some of the most famous people on planet Earth. You know, the biggest singers in the world, and they’re in an environment which is completely humanizing.” 

This week, Corden aired his final “Carpool Karaoke,” which, fittingly, was with Adele. This time though, Corden was finally riding shotgun. 

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