It’s the end of an era on CBS, as James Corden said his last goodbye to the Late Late Show on Thursday, April 27, which included a star-studded line-up of special guests.
The finale was preceded by a Carpool Karaoke special, which featured the late-night host and Tom Cruise performing songs from The Lion King at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles. After previously taking part in high-octane activities like skydiving and flying a fighter jet, Corden invited Cruise to “enter my world.”
Joining the Lion King cast on stage, Corden and Cruise performed renditions of “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” while dressed as Timon (Corden) and Pumbaa (Cruise).
The special also saw Corden taking part in one final Carpool Karaoke segment with his good friend Adele. As the multi-time Grammy winner drove the host to Television City studio for the last time, they looked back at the success of the show.
“The thing I was most worried about was how do we get guests on the show?” he said before sharing how Mariah Carey was the first person to agree to participate. “Mariah comes out, and the first thing she says to me, ‘I’ll do the chat. I ain’t singing,’” Corden recalled. However, Carey did end up singing, and the rest is history.
Adele went on to ask Corden what he’ll miss the most about the show, to which he said, “I’ll miss everything. I think I underestimated how many friends I’d make doing this. More than anything, I will just miss going into work with my friends every day. And I’m really gonna miss Los Angeles. I love it. It’s been a brilliant adventure.”
The opening of The Late Late Show saw Corden performing his monologue from the stairwell as he struggled to open several doors, including those of his guests, Harry Styles and Will Ferrell. Later in the show, Ferrell and Styles destroyed Corden’s desk with a sledgehammer.
As Corden introduced the show and went through the daily news items, he was surprised with a special video message from President Joe Biden.
“James, congratulations. 1200 shows in eight years. After the day you spent working for me at The White House, I’m surprised you lasted eight years at any job,” Biden said. “To you, Reggie [Watts] and the entire team, thank you for all the joy you brought to homes across America and special thanks for never asking me to sing in the car… We’ll miss you pal. I can’t wait to see what you do next.”
One of the highlights of the final episode was a sketch in which fellow late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert (as well as Late Show alum David Letterman) tried to stop Corden from leaving
“I need to talk to you about you leaving,” Meyers said. “We’re here to tell you that you can’t just leave a talk show.”
Kimmel added that being a late-night host makes you a part of “a very exclusive club” and that Corden needs to not reveal their secrets. Meanwhile, Colbert tried convincing Corden to stay, “What other job will allow you to break into song every single night?” he said.
“I don’t sing and dance every night,” Corden replied before Kimmel quipped, “You do.”
After finally agreeing to let Corden leave, the other hosts discussed taking ideas from The Late Late Show for their own programs. However, all anyone wanted was Carpool Karaoke, which Corden refused to hand over. As a result, the hosts revoked his invitation to this year’s Met Gala.
Before one last song and dance number, Corden thanked the show’s crew before addressing the audience. “I’ve watched America change a lot. Over these past few years I’ve watched, I’ve watched divisions grow,” he said. “And I’ve seen and I’ve felt a sense of negativity bubbling up and at points boil over.”
“And I guess all I really want to say tonight is I implore you to remember what America signifies to the rest of the world,” he continued. “All we’ve ever wanted is just be a little bit of light and levity at the end of your day. Thank you for letting me do this. Thank you for letting me into your home every night.”
After a teary-eyed final song, a choked-up Corden signed off with, “Thanks for watching; that’s our show.”