Rob Crabbe Interview: ‘Late Late Show with James Corden’
“We’re not really programming for television and we’re not really programming for the internet, we’re just trying to make good stuff,” declares Emmy winning writer and producer Rob Crabbe about the acclaimed late-night comedy/variety talk hybrid “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” as well as its numerous spin-offs like Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” specials and the recent remotely-produced “Homefest” primetime special.
“If it’s good, people are going to pick up on it and watch it. If it’s good enough to air at 12.37 am then it should be good enough to watch at your computer at lunch time at 12.37 pm. Our hope is just to make the best possible product and hope that people will find it.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Crabbe above.
Currently in its sixth year on air, “The Late Late Show” is fronted by multi-hyphenate James Corden, who has become renowned as a crowd-pleasing entertainer who jokes about politics but isn’t as focused on the ongoing 24-hour news cycle and political circus like many of his cohort are in late-night television. His shows feature more singing, dancing, sketches, like a more traditional variety series rather than a talk show. Over the years his “Carpool Karaoke” specials in particular have amassed a huge following, particularly online, and have won Emmys in 2016, 2017 and last year for its special dedicated to Paul McCartney.
“James is an incredible talent,” Crabbe says. “He does a little bit of everything. The fact that we can constantly feed that fire and give him ways to perform and ways to scratch all of those itches, use all of those muscles is very freeing for the writing staff and the producing staff. You have someone very committed and has the talent to pull it off.”
Earlier this year, as productions across the country shut down due to the ongoing global pandemic, Crabbe, his producing partner Ben Winston and their team adapted agilely to having to shift to remote production. The team produced the one-hour primetime “Homefest: James Corden’s Late Late Show Special,” which Corden hosted from his garage, featuring dozens of big names across the globe including Grammy winners Billie Eilish and John Legend. “We wanted to try to bring a little bit of levity and joy and positivity to a grim situation,” Crabbe explains.
The special premiered back when the pandemic first really hit the country as an urgent crisis before the current malaise and complacency has set in to some extent. “It was in the first two weeks of the stay at home orders in America and even around the world, and it was the first time globally that everyone was in it together. What we wanted to do at the time was illustrate the fact that we’re all apart but we’re in it together,” he explains. “We needed to show the international scale. So rather than try to fabricate something on an iPhone in James’ backyard, we wanted to try and put on a show in primetime that gave more of a world view. So you had Andrea Bocelli in Italy, BTS boys in South Korea, Dua Lipa in London, Ben Platt in New York, us in Los Angeles and trying to capture as much of the fact that everyone was staying home and why it was so important at the time to be staying at home.