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The purposefully casual “Carpool Karaoke” has become James Corden’s signature bit, but in most other sketches, the Late Late Show host presents himself as an unforgiving taskmaster. So it was on Wednesday’s show, when Corden recruited Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne for a crosswalk musical version of The Lion King (as in, a version of the famous musical performed in one-song increments during pedestrian openings at the intersection of Genesee and Beverly in L.A.). Although Corden warmed to Byrne, he immediately relegated Rogen to the role of “scenery, trees, birds, rocks, stuff like that.” Rogen tried bringing up his recent acclaimed performance as Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs, to no avail.
The costumes and choreography resembled many casual musical theater experiences, but with one exception: the performers had to run back to safety after each song as the crosswalk lights changed.
“The stakes are higher,” Byrne said. “The thrill of live theater, and the thrill of death.”
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