In his final episode as host of The Late Late Show, James Corden bid farewell to his audience with a mix of laughter and heartfelt words. He was joined by actor Will Ferrell and singer Harry Styles, who playfully smashed up his desk while US President Joe Biden sent a pre-recorded video message in which he joked that he was “surprised you lasted eight years in any job”. Corden then urged US viewers not to give in to those who are “trying to stoke differences” in the country, adding that America has always been a place of optimism and joy, despite its flaws.
Corden, who moved to the US from the UK eight years ago, reflected on how he has watched America change during his time hosting the show, from the Obama presidency to the Trump era and the global pandemic. He noted that he has seen divisions grow and negativity boil over, but implored viewers to remember what America signifies to the rest of the world.
“Just because somebody disagrees with you it doesn’t make them bad or evil. We are all more the same than we are different, and there are so many people who are trying to stoke those differences, and we have to try as best we can to look for the light, look for the joy, because if you do it’s out there,” he said.
Earlier in the episode, Will Ferrell smashed up Corden’s desk with a sledgehammer, while Harry Styles finished the job after Corden was forced to answer a question in a final game of “Spill Your Guts Or Fill Your Guts”. Fellow late-night hosts Seth Myers, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman also took part in a sketch in which they discussed Corden’s retirement plans and argued over who would take over Carpool Karaoke.
Adele, a long-time friend of Corden’s, returned for a final installment of Carpool Karaoke, which aired as an hour-long special before the main show. Tom Cruise also made an appearance, performing as Timon alongside Corden’s Pumbaa in a production of The Lion King in Los Angeles.
Corden took over the late-night talk show from comedian and actor Craig Ferguson in 2015, and has welcomed a wide range of guests during his tenure, including Sir Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey. However, Corden has also been a divisive personality and was temporarily banned from a New York restaurant late last year for being what the owner described as “extremely nasty” to staff.
Reflecting on his time hosting the show, Corden told BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show: “It is a strange one, I haven’t really ever felt like this before. I just know in my core that it’s the right thing to do for so many personal and professional reasons.”