LOS ANGELES (AP) — James Corden brings a gleeful buoyancy to his CBS late-night show, whether he's bantering simultaneously with all his guests or dueting with stars as he drives.
But CBS' smoothly produced "The Late Late Show" suggests just how much Corden invests in his work, which was affirmed in a conversation amid preparations for the show's upcoming visit to Corden's native England.
For starters, he described pingponging between Los Angeles, where his show is based, New York to attend the premiere of "Ocean's 8" (he has a small part in the movie) and London to do pre-taped elements.
He discussed what "The Late Late Show" means to him and how much he puts into it, with the U.K. trip, an encore to last year's, an example. The shows from London's Methodist Central Hall will air at 12:37 a.m. Eastern Monday through Thursday on CBS and Tuesday to Friday on Britain's Sky One.
Scheduled guests include Cate Blanchett, Cher, Chris Pratt, Orlando Bloom, Damian Lewis, J.J. Abrams and Niall Horan and the Foo Fighters. Paul McCartney joins Corden for a "Carpool Karaoke" segment, with Andrew Lloyd Webber in a new "Crosswalk the Musical."
In an Associated Press interview, Corden also refused to cede ground on the political humor that infuses so much of late-night in the Donald Trump era, saying his show is as topical as any — in its own way.
Remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: You've described a hectic schedule but it sounds like you're having the time of your life.
Corden: How can I not? I'd just be so disappointed in myself if it came to a point where I was moaning about such a thing. It's absurd. And you know you're either a moaner or you're not. And you either find stuff to moan about or you don't. I'm going to try not to. I might fail at that occasionally, but I don't think I can moan about having a film ("Ocean's 8") with Sandra Bullock. And a TV show which is bigger than I think anyone thought it could have a few years ago when it started.
AP: Why did you decide to go back to London?
Corden: It's ambitious. It's a huge amount of effort to take the show to London for a week and try to mount this whole production in Central Hall. I also think that it's a massive undertaking on a (post-midnight) budget, and we always want to be ambitious and just make the best show for our audience.
AP: What will viewers see that's different from the Los Angeles shows?
Corden: We have a "Crosswalk the Musical" shot in London, we've got sketches and taped bits. And of course the venue will be vastly different because it's a 1,000-seat old church. It will look different and sound different, but at the core of it will be the show as we know it.
AP: How do you make your humor serve the British theater audience and U.S. viewers?
Corden: We're going to try and make a show that will satisfy both the room and the audience at home. Predominantly, our aim is to make a show for America. That's what we really want. I think (the British audience) will be with us. A joke's a joke, you know.
AP: Although Trump-era political humor is key in late-night, have you made it less a part of your show because you're British?
Corden: It's not that it's less a part. We talk about politics every night on the show. I just don't want it to be the only part, and I don't think our audience does either. So every day, our monologue is somehow dominated by President Trump. What we often try to do is think, "What is our show's way of tackling it?" So, for example, when the president announces his what I consider to be abhorrent ban on transgenders in the military, we think, "What is our show's way of dealing with it, rather than just talking about it?" And that's how you come up with a LGBT song rewritten to Nat King Cole's "Love."