James Corden admitted he’s nervous about his new post as host of CBS’s “Late Late Show” during Monday’s Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California.
“There’s nothing more creative than trying to make an hour of television every day,” he said of the choice to turn away from his movie career to sign on as Craig Ferguson‘s replacement. “In terms of creativity, I couldn’t feel less like I’m putting the brakes on — more like I’m putting my foot on the gas, really.
“It’s daunting, don’t get me wrong,” he continued. “Looking at the sign there with my name on it is enough to make me throw up on my own self.”
Corden is a much bigger star in the U.K. than here in the U.S., where he has most recently been seen playing Emily Blunt‘s husband, the baker, in “Into the Woods.” He was the co-creator, co-writer and star of the BBC sitcom “Gavin & Stacey,” which earned him the BAFTA Television Award for Best Comedy Performance. He was also featured on a No.1 single “Shout” from British artist Dizzee Rascal. And in 2012, his lead in the Broadway comedy play, “One Man, Two Guvnors” earned him a 2012 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.
The actor and comedian has done his homework and is able to list off qualities of past and current late-night hosts that he admires — from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon.
“For me, it’s about trying to find a show that complements theirs,” he said. “And someway we can find an audience that feels like this guy is someone they want to be with through this hour of time.”
Although it’s clear that he wasn’t able to speak specifically about what that show will be like, he has an idea of what he wants to bring out in viewers.
“I just feel like this is an opportunity for me to host a late-night talk show and talk to America every night and hope to make them smile,” he said.
“I really think in this time, we have to make a warm show,” Corden continued. “So much of what you see and read is not pleasant right now. I feel like we can make a show that reaches out to people, really, and is warm and funny.”
What that actually means will apparently be the result of trial and error.
“The truth is we can prep for this show for a year, and it’s only in the doing of it that it’s going to tell us what it is,” he offered. “And our audience has to take ownership of the show as much as we do. And we’re going to make mistakes, and we’re going to get things wrong, but hopefully we’re going to get some things right, as well. And I think we have a really great shot with the team we’re getting together to find an audience.”
Craig Ferguson made his last hosting appearance on “The Late Late Show” on Dec. 19. Rotating guest hosts, including Judd Apatow, Will Arnett and Drew Carey are filling in between Ferguson’s departure and Corden’s debut on March 23.