“We built a tiny sort of set in my garage and my wife powdered my nose” James Corden says. “We have a locked-off camera and my laptop. I’m completely on my own in there.”
Corden is talking about the production of his new primetime special, “Homefest: James Corden’s Late Late Show Special.”
The show, the latest in a string of attempts by late-night talk show hosts to produce original content while quarantined and practicing social distancing, features Corden hosting from his garage and musical performances by BTS in South Korea, Andrea Bocelli in Italy, Dua Lipa in London, and Billie Eilish with FINNEAS and John Legend in Los Angeles. Will Ferrell provides taped comedy sketches and David Blaine performs a “trick on basically all of us,” Corden told Variety a couple of days before the show’s premiere.
“We end the show with an entire Broadway company performing all in their separate houses,” he said.
“Homefest” airs tonight on CBS at 10 p.m.
“Once it became clear we couldn’t do our [regular] show, we started thinking, ‘Is there a world where we could make a global show that could bring people together by keeping them apart?’” Corden explained. “I thought maybe there’s a way we could make a show that shows we are all in this together.”
Health guidelines will be promoted during the show as well as charity organizations CDC Foundation and Feeding America. “We say this on the show that we’re aware of the squeeze that so many people are feeling and times are tough right now,” Corden said. “So we’re not really calling it a fundraiser. We’re sort of saying, ‘If you can — if you find yourself in a fortunate position — here are two groups that we found that are very valuable at this time.’ The truth is if anybody has a charity that they want to give to they should give to that one.”
Corden said the show doesn’t address the politics of the moment. “That’s not really a conscious decision,” he said. “The show is just so packed, but we’re aware our show will be back and there will be time to talk about those things. Now it’s about wanting to make a show for all families and all generations and not really excluding anybody.”
Besides work, how else is Corden spending his time at home? Watching — what else? — “Tiger King.” “I’m two episodes in, but my god,” he said. “It’s just extraordinary.”
He joked that he’s “useless” in helping homeschool his three children with wife Julia Carey. “I do find myself passing out to sleep at 8:15 because the children are here all day long,” he said, laughing.
In addition to “Homefest,” Corden can also be seen later this week on April 2 when London’s National Theatre launches its weekly screening series on YouTube with “One Man, Two Guvnors.” Corden starred in the comedy and went on to earn a Tony Award for his work when it transferred to Broadway.