Late night talk show host James Corden got himself into a ruckus this week when it was discovered he doesn’t always drive the SUV in his “Carpool Karaoke” segments.
Indeed, Corden was caught being towed so his hands were free in the taping of a segment with Justin Bieber. Suddenly word went out that Corden never drives, and that it’s all staged.
But I’ve spoken with a Corden insider who knows the real story and wanted me to set the record straight.
“James does drive most of the time,” I was told. Really, I wondered, where? “Around CBS, nothing fancy, but that’s him behind the wheel. Almost always.”
So when does he need the towing?
“When he needs a Teleprompter. When the artists, like Justin Bieber, have new songs or obscure ones. But when he knows the songs, as with most of the artists, it’s him.” My source pointed out that many of today’s contemporary artists have songs that are difficult to sing without a Teleprompter.
My source told me that one time when towing was needed was with Barbra Streisand. But it had nothing to do with Corden knowing Streisand’s unforgettable songs. “She said she had to be seen on the right side, which meant she had to sit in the driver’s seat. And she doesn’t drive. So a tow was used.”
When Streisand has appeared with Jimmy Fallon or on other talk shows, she’s wound up sitting in the host’s chair rather than the couch. Years ago, at her AFI dinner, I remember she designed the stage so she’d be seen on the right, facing left. So the Corden rearrangement wasn’t so surprising.
But for the bulk of the artists who come on “Carpool Karaoke,” Corden is behind the wheel. He even drove Paul McCartney in what became their classic, award winning segment and special. McCartney just said, “Drive my car” and Corden did.
“Please set the record straight,” my source beseeched. And so I have.