James Corden Says Goodbye to ‘The Late Late Show’: The 9 Best Moments From the Final Episode

From a skydiving Tom Cruise to hints of a One Direction reunion, the CBS talk show held nothing back


Thursday marked the end of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” and the talk show went out with a bang. Spread between a “Carpool Karaoke” special at 10 p.m. ET/PT and the last episode at 12:37 a.m. ET/PT, CBS gave Corden and his team over two hours to say goodbye to their fans. And that goodbye contained everything from skydiving to surprise appearances from Joe Biden and David Letterman.

It all started with “The Last Last Late Late Show with James Corden Carpool Karaoke Special.” On Monday, CBS released a clip of Adele waking up a surprised Corden for his final-ever “Carpool Karaoke.” Filled with tears, emotional stories and a rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” the segment set the silly yet sad tone of this late night show’s departure. But even though Adele was the one in the car, it was Tom Cruise who stole the spotlight in the first half of the evening.

Dedicated fans have known that Cruise and Corden crashed a production of “The Lion King” back in February. Corden and Cruise’s performances as Timon and Pumbaa, respectively, were far enjoyable to watch through the lens of “The Late Late Show’s” cameramen than through random TikToks. But it’s what Cruise did next that truly upped the ante on their musical adventure. After getting into a fake fight, Corden and Cruise preformed a version of Elton John’s “Can You Fell the Love Tonight.” Looks like the action star put those old “Rock of Ages” singing lessons to good use.

Of course, because this is Tom Cruise we’re talking about, stunts were involved. The “Top Gun: Maverick” star began the segment by taking a call from Corden mid-skydive and finished it by hopping on a helicopter.

Once Tom Cruise ascended in his copter, the real finale began. Next up was President Joe Biden. In a recorded segment, the leader of the free world quipped, “I’m surprised you lasted 8 years in any job.” The famous well-wishers only continued from there.

Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon all appeared for a sketch that centered around Corden having a nightmare. They threatened him to not reveal any of their late night secrets and warned that he’s not allowed to make retirement look fun. Colbert also told him he had to grow a beard that made him look like “God spoke to me from a bush.” Cue an appearance from David Letterman. The sketch then ended with a glimpse into Corden’s near future: appearing on “The Masked Singer” alongside fellow retired late night host, Trevor Noah. In case you’re wondering, Corden was The Banana after all.

Skydiving and Ken Jeong cameos left “The Late Late Show’s” final guests with big shoes to fill. So how did Will Ferrell and Harry Styles rise to the occasion? By destroying Corden’s desk.

Adele standing next to James Corden
Adele standing next to James Corden

Styles arrived in a sharp mustard number, and Ferrell arrived with a mallet. As soon as his feet hit the stage, he went for Corden’s desk in true Eric Andre fashion. Only after Corden screamed at him repeatedly did Ferrell lower his weapon. There goes “The Late Late Show’s” plans of having its set memorialized in The Smithsonian.

Styles, Ferrell and Corden then had the final ever game of “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts.” When asked to pick his favorite late night host, Ferrell was quick to say Seth Meyers before also eating his bug trifle. For his question — which of his two guests is more talented — Corden took the grosser option and ate a bull penis.

But the real highlight of this last segment had to do with 2023 Album of the Year winner Harry Styles, who was asked if there will ever be a One Direction reunion. “I fear it’s not a yes or no question. I would never say never to that,” Styles said “I don’t see why we wouldn’t.”

In “The Late Late Show’s” final few minutes, Corden pushed his silliness aside and showed off his rarely seen emotional side. Holding back tears, Corden recounted how he’s watched both his family and America itself change over the past eight years.

“We are all more the same than we are different, and there are so many people who are trying to stoke those differences. We have to try, as best we can, to look for the light, look for the joy. Because if you do, it’s out there. And that’s all this show has ever been about,” Corden said. “Thank you for letting me do this. Thank you for letting me in your home every night.”