If there’s one thing that makes James Corden most proud about Carpool Karaoke, it’s the conversation that organically occurs during the drive, not the music he makes.
Talking with People and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle at EW PopFest on Sunday, Corden said he’s been particularly thrilled with the interviews that result from the mega-hit Late Late Show segment that has made him a household name.
“What makes a great interview? Seeing someone in a manner or light that you’ve never really seen them before,” said Corden. “There’s an Intimacy to it. Your guard is down slightly.”
And it contributes to the joy Corden likes to inject in his show — something he considered priority No. 1 when launching the CBS late-night show in 2015. “We wanted our show to feel like a fun place,” said Corden. “People can enjoy it all day on their phones on their computers. … We want our audience to be everywhere and everybody.”
Here are some of the highlights from Corden’s appearance at Entertainment Weekly’s pop culture festival:
1. That’s not Corden’s car
The Range Rover Corden uses for Carpook Karaoke isn’t his. “It’s leased,” Corden admitted. To tape a segment, 10 cameras are installed throughout the car to capture the action, and Corden is asked to drive in a straight line and away from the sun. Filming usually lasts an hour or so, but it’s cut down to 8-15 minutes for broadcast. “People seem to really like it,” he said.
2. Yes, Corden has always been like this
Corden admitted he’s not much different today than he was as a kid. “I only wanted to have fun,” he said. “I didn’t care about school. I wanted to perform any chance I could. I was an attention-seeking little s—.”
3. He’s been to a lot of bachelorette parties
Before he began to perform for a living, Corden worked a series of menial jobs to pay the bills. He worked as a waiter, sold Christmas trees, and was even a funny man for hire at bachelorette parties. “I’d make loads of jokes about how big the pepper grinder was,” he said.
4. Why Gavin & Stacey never succeeded in the U.S.
Corden recalled how American producers attempted — but ultimately failed — to adapt his U.K. comedy Gavin & Stacey for U.S. audiences. (When it wrapped its run overseas in 2010, it attracted 14.5 million viewers.) “They didn’t understand what the show was about and immediately tried to change it,” recalled Corden, who said producers wanted to inject conflict into the action. “Our show was about most people’s everyday lives and involved very little conflict.”
5. PopFest Karaoke
Corden ended his panel by inviting members of the audience to sing an Adele tune with him while the actual Carpool Karaoke segment with the U.K. crooner played on the screens. For the 10 or so people who did this, it appeared to make their year.