Entertainment & Arts

Corden's Late, Late Show debut praised in US

James Corden makes his debut on The Late, Late Show Image copyright Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment
Image caption Corden introduced himself to the audience, saying he was 'shocked' by his new job

James Corden's debut on TV's The Late, Late Show has been praised in the US.

Fans and critics were impressed by the 36-year-old host, calling the talk show "inspired lunacy" and "a winner".

Corden, a relative unknown in the US, was joined by Hollywood stars Tom Hanks and Mila Kunis for the first show in LA on Monday.

He introduced himself to the audience, saying: "However shocked you are that I am doing this job, you will never be as shocked as I am."

A raft of A-listers also joined forces to record videos for his first show.

"I'm sure lots of people are wondering how I ended up in this seat, and I include myself in that too, but rather than tell you we thought we would show you this," Corden said, introducing a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-themed sketch.

It included appearances from Simon Cowell, Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and comedian Chris Rock all devastated or furious after opening chocolate bars without the golden ticket inside, before Corden finds the winning ticket in the street.

Further cameos from Meryl Streep, Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno put Corden through his paces.

Corden, who was not widely known in the US before landing the high profile job on CBS, was praised for his likeability.

Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Tim Goodman said: "As first nights go, this was a winner for Corden."

He praised the star as "youthful and engaging" and compared him to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.

Image copyright Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment
Image caption Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks were Corden's first guests

"Corden doesn't put a layer of cool between him and the viewer (or his guests) - he's as affable and sincere as Fallon with just a little less goofiness. It's a welcome trait, one that should put guests at ease," he said.

Brian Moylan in The Guardian said: "Corden proved himself to be very deserving of the role and, actually, tremendously charming indeed. Damn you CBS executives! How I wanted to hate him!"

But he added: "(Corden) laughs a little too hard at his own jokes and seems to be trying very hard to be both funny and likeable. It's like he's a new guy at a small party who is working the room to win everyone over."

A five-minute sketch with Hanks and Corden performing a retrospective of Hanks' many films - complete with wigs - was picked out for particular praise, with Moylan calling it "silly, funny, and quite inspired".

Goodman added: "The debut night's standout moment by far, however, was the idea of having Hanks and Corden act out bits from a string of Hanks films... It was very funny, very creative and played to Corden's strengths as a multi-talented performer."

'It's pleasant and you like him'

Brian Lowry, TV critic for Variety, wrote: "Corden comes across as natural and likable, including the self-effacing little song with which he closed the show."

But he added: "Over time, though, a late night host needs a pretty formidable bag of tricks to weather those nights when the guests aren't at the marquee level the bookers were able to deliver for this first week."

Veteran talk show host Jay Leno compared Corden with long-running US star Johnny Carson.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "I think that is the key because we have talk show hosts in America where they tell a joke and it's funny, they get a laugh. But the real key is to get a laugh when it's maybe not so funny.

"I mean that was the great strength of Johnny Carson: people liked him and when he told a funny joke they laughed uproariously, and when he told one that wasn't funny, they smiled and they rolled with it because they liked him.

"And I think that's the thing with James, you know, he's not telling a joke a minute - that's okay because it's pleasant and you like him."

'I can't stop smiling'

Fans echoed the critics' views and took to Twitter to give their verdict.

User UncannyAbe said: "Not even 30 minutes and I can't stop smiling. This is absolutely fantastic", while Jessica Gonzalez, using the Twitter handle ‏@jessL_gonzalez, said: "In other news, all I want to do is watch the #LateLateShow with @JKCorden for the rest of my life."

Fellow user @awwimemely wrote: "James Corden needs to stop underestimating himself he's so funny!"

Later in the week Corden will be joined by US actor Will Ferrell. Michael Douglas, David Beckham and Simon Cowell are all slated to appear in coming weeks.

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