“I sort of feel strange thinking about it in those ways really, but it’s difficult not to,” admitted James Corden about the prospects of Emmy Awards success for his CBS program “Late Late Show with James Corden. He spoke with us earlier this summer via webcam (watch above) before he received nominations for Best Variety Talk Series and Best Variety Special (for “Carpool Karaoke”). Those bids are the first in Corden’s career. For the series, producers are entering their post-Super Bowl live episode for Emmy voters to watch.
Corden explained his approach to his late-night series. “I feel like if the category is ‘variety’ and ‘talk show,’ we try to make a variety talk show every night. We always try to bring that element of variety to the show, whether it’s doing inappropriate musicals with Nathan Lane or with Martin Short, where we did a musical of ‘The Revenant,’ which felt very silly.”
“Carpool Karaoke” is a recurring segment which has Corden driving a different musical artist in his car (mostly in Los Angeles, but others in London and New York). He chats with them and they sing along together to the musician’s top hits. The complete collection of segments just surpassed one billion views on YouTube. The most popular have been the ones with Adele (120 million) and Justin Bieber (88 million). Other artists have included Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Martin, One Direction, Gwen Stefani, and Stevie Wonder.
Of this viral sensation, Corden says, “We believed there was an intimacy about it. It’s joyful! A lot of it is an interview, and a lot of it is the singing. You’re seeing a side of artists and people that would be impossible to get here in our studio with 200 people in the audience with cameras and publicists and all of those things. There’s something very humanizing about it.”
The British comedian and actor took over the late-night program from Craig Ferguson only 17 months ago. Now in its second season, Corden says, “All you’re looking for when you start a show like this is what defines our show. What are the tentpoles where people go, “Oh that’s the show where they do this, this and this. You need things that will define your show outside of a desk and a chair and guests.”
Corden won a Tony Award in 2012 for his performance in the play “One Man, Two Guvnors.” He returned to Broadway on June 12 as a first-time host of the Tony Awards. That ceremony will be eligible as a Special Class program at the 2017 Emmy Awards. Before he arrived in New York for the job, he revealed, “I’m very excited by it. It just didn’t feel right to do it last year. I felt like our show had only just launched. We were still figuring it out and had hit the ground running. This year I feel immensely proud to be hosting it. The two times that I’ve worked on Broadway have been among the greatest times of my professional life. It’s not lost on me what an honor it is to be at the center of a night like that.”
Corden competes against “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” as Best Variety Talk Series. Will he be able to beat those programs? Be sure to make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmys). Be sure to read our contest rules.