Corden left the CBS talkshow earlier this year after almost a decade and nearly 1,100 episodes in the presenters chair, and he reflected today for the first time since exiting at the RTS Cambridge Convention, having returned to his home country.
“It was very hard to walk away from and very difficult to leave but I felt compelled to come home,” he said. “It feels like such a strange thing to have done for eight years.
“The other day [my wife and I] were back at the place we left when we went to America and I said ‘It’s not that weird we’re back, it feels weird that we ever went,” he told the confab.
Rewinding the clock to 2015 and the start of The Late Late Show, Corden said a lightbulb moment came when him and producers realized “Oh, hang on, no one knows us here.”
“And suddenly I realized I had actually learned from being in plays or writing Gavin & Stacey or presenting A League of Their Own, and we thought ‘we can really build something here’.”
He then set out to “make a show that would embrace the internet” while creating a “safe environment that was celebratory.”
“Yes it’s on at 12.30 at night but I knew there was an audience who were watching content not just in the linear broadcast fashion,” he added. “So maybe we could make a show that launches at 12.30 but is available to watch all day, all night, wherever you are, and maybe if we do that we will get there.”
“Room for risk”
Corden celebrated CBS for giving him an opportunity, having never appeared on U.S. TV before.
He said “there is room for more risk” in British TV and urged decision-makers to “be more open to failure,” as he thought back to the risk the BBC took on Gavin & Stacey nearly 20 years ago, or shows like The Office.
“You learn almost nothing in success and everything in failure,” he said. “Surfing a line of success feels like playing Jenga with your career and being so scared of it falling, and then you realize when it falls that it is the best part of the game.”
Incidentally, Corden said he doesn’t know if he will do more Gavin & Stacey, having last reconvened for a Christmas special in 2019, but he stressed he would “love to make something together again” with co-creator Ruth Jones.
If Corden was a TV commissioner, he said he would “just bet on youth, every day of the week,” adding: “If you bet on youth and it doesn’t work then you gave someone a shot and there is honor in that, and if you bet on it and it works you look like a genuis.”
Corden made his name in the UK on breakout hits such as Gavin & Stacey and transitioned to the U.S. via hit musical One Man, Two Guvnors. He is also a partner in The Late Late Show maker Fulwell 73.
He was closing the RTS Cambridge Convention, speaking on the same day as the likes of CAA’s Bryan Lourd and Emma Thompson.