James Corden Late Late Show – live: British host waves goodbye to America in star-studded finale

·16-min read

James Corden’s tenure on The Late Late Show has come to an end.

The British presenter hosted his final episode in the early hours of Friday morning (28 April), following an eight-year run on the CBS talk show.

First, viewers were treated to a Carpool Karaoke special starring Adele, then Corden was joined by some of his favourite guests from over the years, including Harry Styles, Will Ferrell and Tom Cruise.

Ferrell took a sledgehammer to Corden’s now-defunct desk, and several of Corden’s rival late night hosts appeared on the show to spill their industry secrets.

Corden also made a farewell speech in which he referenced growing divisions in the US.

Scroll down to catch up on all the antics...

Key Points

Comment: James Corden’s stale, gimmicky Late Late Show finale was a fitting end for TV’s quintessential late-night host

17:34 , Tom Murray

The Independent’s Louis Chilton has reflected on Corden’s legacy in the wake of his final Late Late Show.

“Under his tenure, The Late Late Show was unimaginative and seldom funny – as likely at any one time to induce full-body cringing as it was to raise a chuckle. And yet, who’s to say he wasn’t the quintessential 21st-century talk show host?”

Read more:

James Corden’s finale was stale and cringey – but he was the perfect late-night host

James Corden on elaborate Adele prank that went horribly wrong

12:50 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden has recounted the time he tried to prank Adele on The Late Late Show, only for the trick to go terribly wrong.

Isobel Lewis reports.

James Corden and Adele recount unaired Late Late Show prank that went horribly wrong

James Corden joined by five rival hosts who reveal talk show ‘secrets’ on final episode

12:20 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden was joined by a group of rival talk show hosts in a surprise segment on his last ever Late Late Show episode.

Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman all appeared in the segment, in which they pressure Corden – who was in bed for the sketch – not to reveal the “secrets” of the talk show industry.

Read more:

James Corden joined by rival hosts who reveal talk show ‘secrets’ on last episode

James Corden ends final Late Late Show with warning for America

11:50 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden’s eight-year tenure on The Late Late Show has come to a close, with the host sharing an emotional goodbye to his American viewers.

James Corden ends final Late Late Show with warning for America

Watch: Tom Cruise and James Corden perform 'Hakuna Matata' in 'The Lion King' on Broadway

11:20 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden reveals the one thing he ‘really, really’ won’t miss after The Late Late Show exit

10:50 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden has said that he felt “deeply unprepared” to talk about mass shootings and terrorist attacks on The Late Late Show.

Speaking ahead of the final show, the Gavin and Stacey creator admitted that having to speak on such heavy topics was one thing he struggled with throughout his eight years on the show.

“When talking about those moments when there’s a mass shooting or a national disaster or any of those things, what I’ve tried to do, is just be as honest as I can and in some way offer comfort and perspective,” the 44-year-old told People.

Read more:

James Corden reveals one thing he won’t miss after The Late Late Show exit

Watch: Best moments from James Corden's final Late Late Show

10:20 , Peony Hirwani

Why is Corden leaving America?

09:50 , Peony Hirwani

In case you were still wondering why Corden is leaving the show behind to move back to the UK, The Independent has put together this handy explainer based on the host’s past comments.

The real reason James Corden is bowing out of The Late Late Show

Watch: James Corden shares advice to Americans as he says goodbye to Late Late Show

09:24 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden’s stale, gimmicky Late Late Show finale was a fitting end for TV’s quintessential late-night host

08:50 , Peony Hirwani

It’s easy to judge ‘The Late Late Show’ for being frivolous TV fluff, writes Louis Chilton. But with the British star’s talk show having come to a close after eight years on air, its impact on pop culture is undeniable.

James Corden’s finale was stale and cringey – but he was the perfect late-night host

Tom Cruise cameo left fans a bit confused...

08:21 , Ellie Harrison

In his segment on the show, Cruise gatecrashed a Broadway performance of the Lion King musical alongside Corden. Read more here...

Tom Cruise fans baffled by actor’s ‘bizarre’ Lion King stunt with James Corden

James Corden’s biggest controversies over the years

08:20 , Peony Hirwani

James Corden’s time as the host of The Late Late Show on CBS comes to an end tonight following an eight-year run in the presenter’s chair.

Since arriving in the US in 2015, Corden has gone from being the beloved star of the hit BBC comedy series Gavin & Stacey to a global phenomenon, appearing in major Hollywood movies and forming personal relationships with A-listers like Tom Cruise.

However, the dizzying heights Corden has reached have also been marked by some embarrassing lows. Over the years, Corden has been accused of exhibiting diva behaviour and stealing jokes from other comedians.

Read on to find a timeline of the entertainer’s biggest controversies.

James Corden’s biggest controversies as last Late Late Show episode airs

Will Ferrell’s memorable appearance

07:27 , Ellie Harrison

The actor decided to smash up some furniture on the show. “It’s your last show, man,” he told Corden, justifying the outburst. Read more below...

Will Ferrell destroys James Corden’s Late Late Show desk with a sledgehammer

What kind of host was Corden over the years?

07:09 , Ellie Harrison

Here’s our take on Corden’s eight-year tenure on the show...

James Corden’s finale was stale and cringey – but he was the perfect late-night host

The one thing Corden ‘won’t miss'

06:45 , Tom Murray

Corden has said that he felt “deeply unprepared” to talk about mass shootings and terrorist attacks on The Late Late Show.

“When talking about those moments when there’s a mass shooting or a national disaster or any of those things, what I’ve tried to do, is just be as honest as I can and in some way offer comfort and perspective,” the 44-year-old told People.

Read more:

James Corden reveals one thing he won’t miss after The Late Late Show exit

More singing... How else would Corden end a show?

06:38 , Tom Murray

“That’s our show,” Corden sings through tears as he sits at a piano in the middle of the stage.

The host gives a salute and final wave to the crowd and just like that, he’s done.

Emotional host issues warning to America

06:31 , Tom Murray

“We started with Obama then Trump then a global pandemic. I’ve watched America change a lot over these past few years, I’ve watched divisions grow, I felt a sense of negativity,” Corden tells the audience in an emotional last monologue.

“I guess all I really want to stay, I implore you to remember what America signifies to the rest of the world. My entire life, it’s always been a place of optimism and joy. Sure, it has flaws. Show me a country that doesn’t … every single one of us is a work of progress. Just because someone disagrees with you, it doesn’t make them bad or evil. There are so many people who are trying to stoke those differences.

“We have to try to the best we can to look for the light, look for the joy. It’s out there. That’s all this show has ever been about. Thank you for letting me do this. Thank you for letting me into your home every night.”

Read more:

James Corden ends final Late Late Show with warning for America

06:25 , Tom Murray

“You’ve done such an amazing job coming into the late-night space, such original comedy and to establish your place in America while coming from a s***-hole country like England, coming here and holding your own,” Ferrell tells the host. “Bravo, great job.”

Fellow Brit Styles goes for the sledgehammer.

One last round of ‘Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts'

06:22 , Tom Murray

Styles and Ferrell joined Corden to eat some disgusting things for the last time.

Asked who his favourite late night host is, Ferrell responds: “Seth Meyers”. However, he eats his disgusting concoction anyway, “It’s like Thanksgiving,” he says.

Corden visited by rival late night hosts

06:20 , Tom Murray

Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert woke Corden up in bed to tell him he can’t just leave the world of late-night TV.

He must promise to keep their secrets, including the fake laughs they do for when a guest tells a bad joke.

They then all ask in unison to have his best bit: Carpool Karaoke.

A special message from President Biden

06:14 , Tom Murray

The episode opened with a special message from Joe Biden: “Thank you for all the joy you brought homes across America,” he said in the taped piece.

“Special thanks for never asking me to sing in the car with you.”

Joe Biden on ‘The Late Late Show’ (CBS)
Joe Biden on ‘The Late Late Show’ (CBS)

05:51 , Tom Murray

Corden’s mum and dad are in the audience! In a very sweet moment, Corden’s mum said she was holding it together until her son asked her to give him a kiss before the show.

Corden responds by joking that she’s surprised she can still shed a tear after all the Botox she’s had. Poor mum!

And... he’s locked out

05:42 , Tom Murray

Corden’s final show opens with a skit of him being locked out of the show. Corden introduces his last guests, Will Ferrell and Harry Styles... but he can’t get to them.

James Corden on The Late Late Show (CBS)
James Corden on The Late Late Show (CBS)

It’s about to begin...

05:35 , Tom Murray

If you’re just joining us, hello! James Corden’s final Late Late Show is about to begin. We’ll be bringing you the biggest moments from the finale here.

No context Cruise and Corden

05:10 , Tom Murray

James Corden (left) and Tom Cruise (CBS)
James Corden (left) and Tom Cruise (CBS)

Extended cut reveals Corden and Cruise did a full act in ‘The Lion King'

04:53 , Tom Murray

The Late Late Show shared an extended version of Corden’s last special with Cruise on the show’s YouTube channel. Turns out the pair also played a rhino during The Lion King’s opening sequence.

Also in the YouTube version, we get to see a lot more of what the pair performed on stage.

Watch it here:

Harry Styles comments on One Direction reunion

04:38 , Tom Murray

“I think I would never say never to that. If there was a time when we wanted to do it, I don’t see why we wouldn’t,” Styles told the audience, according to Pop Crave.

Will Ferrell smashes Corden’s desk with a sledgehammer

04:33 , Tom Murray

A few clips and snippets are leaking out of the last Late Late Show ahead of its airing at 12:37am.

In one video shared by Pop Crave on Twitter, Will Ferrell smashes Corden’s desk to pieces with a massive hammer.

‘It’ll be me, Rudy Guiliani and Tucker Carlson'

04:29 , Tom Murray

During the last, primetime Carpool Karaoke special, Corden spoke about his feelings coming into Television City – CBS’s studio lot in Los Angeles – for the last time.

Corden’s co-head writer Ian Karmel reassured the presenter that it probably wouldn’t be the last time as Dancing With the Stars is also filmed on the lot.

Laughing, Corden agreed, saying: “It’ll be me, Rudy Guiliani and Tucker Carlson.”

“Me and Tucker Carlson doing the cha-cha,” he added.

James Corden jokes he’ll be on Dancing with the Stars with Tucker Carlson

We have our first tears of the evening

03:56 , Tom Murray

Introducing a montage of highlights from the last eight years, Corden started getting emotional while thanking the crew on his show. “You should all be immensely proud,” he said.

‘It’s time to go home'

03:45 , Tom Murray

“It’s been a crazy eight years,” Corden said, while Adele said she was “very very sad” about his departure.

“With people getting older and people we miss... It’s time to go home,” he said.

In his announcement last year, Corden said he and his wife had made the decision to move back to the UK after a conversation about their 11-year-old son.

Adele tearily told the Gavin and Stacey star: “I’m just not ready to come back yet, otherwise I would come back with you.”

James Corden tells Adele how he feels about leaving The Late Late Show

Adele reveals lyrics she wrote was inspired by conversation with Corden

03:41 , Tom Murray

The pair get emotional in this special while talking about their longstanding friendship.

“We were on our way home and my mood had changed,” Adele explained. “It was the first year that I felt like I had to hold myself accountable for just being an adult. When the year before that, I had left Simon and stuff like that.”

The “Easy On Me” singer tearfully praised Corden and his family for their support of her in the wake of 2019 split from Konecki.

She explained that Corden also opened up to her about feeling vulnerable over comments about him on the internet.

Corden has been involved in a number of controversies over the years, including 2022’s Balthazar restaurant scandal, and allegations of joke-stealing.

“I was floored by how you managed to take everything that I was feeling about myself, and life, and just put it in a verse,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “It’s the greatest privilege that… from a conversation between two friends, that you would create such a thing that blows my mind.”

Read more:

James Corden appears to address online backlash in tearful chat with Adele

Carpool Karaoke time

03:36 , Tom Murray

Corden says he previously thought P Diddy would be his last Carpool Karaoke.

Adele surprised the host by turning up to his house to wake him up with a pair of symbols.

Watch:

‘Me and Tucker Carlson doing the Cha-Cha’

03:31 , Tom Murray

James Corden jokes he’ll be on Dancing with the Stars with the fired Fox News host.

Timon and Pumbaa, everyone:

03:21 , Tom Murray

James Corden and Tom Cruise (CBS)
James Corden and Tom Cruise (CBS)

03:18 , Tom Murray

As rumoured, Corden and Cruise will be appearing in The Lion King on Broadway. Corden introduces himself as “Tony award winner veteran of National Theatre, West End and Broadway” and Cruise as “Tom”.

Cruise speaks to Corden on the phone after diving out of a plane

03:13 , Tom Murray

We have our first Cruise teaser. Corden first shared a 2022 clip from when the two performed stunts to promote Top Gun: Maverick. Turns out the Mission: Impossible star told Corden at the time: “We gotta do a musical sometime man.”

Cut to “two weeks ago” and we’re seeing Cruise speaking to the host on the phone... after jumping out of a plane, obviously.

Corden invites him to lunch in Hollywood and then... ad break. We’re about to find out what they discussed.

Tom Cruise on ‘Late Late Show’ (CBS)
Tom Cruise on ‘Late Late Show’ (CBS)

He’s singing...

03:05 , Tom Murray

The last Carpool Karaoke special has begun and what other way would the host do it than by singing a musical number.

Lyrics include: “Drivers, thanks for not running me down!”

And: “I’ve got to steal everything from CBS I can, next year I might be living in a van.”

 (CBS)
(CBS)

Who's on the final guest lineup?

02:55 , Tom Murray

Corden is bringing back some of his favourite guests on the show for the big finale. This includes Harry Styles, Will Ferrel and Tom Cruise.

Cruise will perform “one final over-the-top sketch” featuring a performance of The Lion King.

Tom Cruise and James Corden (Getty/CBS)
Tom Cruise and James Corden (Getty/CBS)

Video: James Corden 'didn't know' Carpool Karaoke with Adele was last one

02:28 , Tom Murray

How to watch the last episode

01:59 , Tom Murray

The Late Late Show With James Corden airs at 12:37am EST on CBS in the US (late night Thursday and wee hours of the morning on Friday). It can be live-streamed on Paramount Plus.

Fans in the UK will, unfortunately, have to wait until Friday evening to watch the last two episodes on Sky Showcase at 10:15pm and 11:15pm.

Corden recently spoke about being ‘unprepared’ to talk about terrorist attacks on TV

01:26 , Tom Murray

Late night talk show hosts in the US are expected to talk about the biggest stories of the day – whatever they might be.

Despite being comedians, presenters like Corden, Kimmel and Colbert will often open with a monologue about school shootings, terror attacks or Donald Trump’s latest antics.

“When talking about those moments when there’s a mass shooting or a national disaster or any of those things, what I’ve tried to do, is just be as honest as I can and in some way offer comfort and perspective,” Corden told People ahead of his last show.

“It’s really hard. It’s hard sometimes to find the words to say. I really, really won’t miss doing that.”

Read more:

James Corden says he was ‘deeply unprepared’ for terror attacks discussion

Video: James Corden addresses Gavin and Stacey return rumours

Friday 28 April 2023 00:59 , Tom Murray

It hasn’t always been plain sailing

Friday 28 April 2023 00:51 , Tom Murray

While Corden’s career has undoubtedly soared to extraordinary heights during his time on the talk show, it’s also hit some embarrassing lows on occasion.

There was the Weinstein jokes, the accusations of ‘gayface’ and, of course, the New York restaurant saga.

You can find a timeline of the host’s biggest controversies over the years here.

A timeline of James Corden’s biggest controversies ahead of his final Late Late Show

What to expect from the series finale

Friday 28 April 2023 00:44 , Tom Murray

My lovely colleague has put together this handy-one sheet rounding up all the information you need ahead of Corden’s final episode, including how to watch, who will be appearing and who is rumoured to take the presenter’s place.

You can read it here.

What to expect from James Corden’s final episode of The Late Late Show

Why is Corden leaving the show?

Friday 28 April 2023 00:39 , Tom Murray

Corden announced he was leaving the show last year, saying he “always knew it was an adventure, and I never ever considered it to be the final destination”.

The decision, he said, came to him after a conversation with his 11-year-old son.

“I was filming [Mammals] on a Sunday and I came downstairs, it was about 6am and my son, who was 10 at the time, was sat on the stairs and he said, ‘Are you working today?’ and I said, ‘I am,’ and he said, ‘I thought, but it’s Sunday’,” Corden said at the time.

“And I said, ‘I know buddy, but this schedule’s just all over the place. We’ve just got to get it done because we only have a tiny amount of time before we have to go back and do the show’ and his face just kind of dropped,” he continued.

“I got in the car and I called my wife Jules and I said, ‘I’ve realised, best case scenario we have six more summers where Max even remotely wants to be around us and I cannot waste another one.’”

James Corden hosting ‘The Late Late Show’ on CBS (CBS)
James Corden hosting ‘The Late Late Show’ on CBS (CBS)

Welcome to The Independent’s live blog!

Friday 28 April 2023 00:26 , Tom Murray

Hello! Thanks for joining us live as we prepare for James Corden’s final outing as host of The Late Late Show.

We’ll be watching along and pulling out all the key moments from the presenter’s big finale featuring a heavily-rumoured Tom Cruise stunt and an appearance from Harry Styles.

The presenter’s last Carpool Karaoke segment featuring Adele will air at 9pm ET ahead of the show itself at 12:37am ET.

It’s gonna be a late, late one!