Last year I raved about James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke franchise, which had taken on a life of its own outside of the confines of his late-night talk and entertainment show Late Late Show with James Corden.
I also suggested that CBS consider sending Stephen Colbert over to Showtime to host an uncensored evening extravaganza and move Corden up opposite Fallon and Kimmel for a three-way battle of the Jameses. Colbert had yet to overtake NBC’s Seth Meyers as the late-night Trump trasher extraordinaire, but because Americans can’t get enough of anyone who dumps on Trump his ratings have since soared. So Colbert won’t be going anywhere.
Which takes me back to Corden. He’s on fire in a way nobody else in the late-night arena can claim to be, so how about having him host a Sunday night talk and variety series in primetime? I can’t think of anyone better suited for such a challenge.
I included Corden on my Best of 2016 list primarily because of Karaoke. He's on my 2017 list because of the lesser buzzed-about Crosswalk the Musical, in which Corden, special guest stars and background dancers and singers dash into crosswalks (always obeying the traffic lights and walk signs) and perform numbers from popular musicals, cutting them short and madly dashing for the curb when the “don’t walk” signs light up. It’s always fun and often hilarious to watch.
The best edition yet of this ambitious merriment came on the night of Thursday, December 14 (or early in the morning of December 15, if you prefer) when Corden and the stars of the upcoming feature film The Greatest Show on Earth – Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya – repeatedly dashed into a busy Manhattan intersection (53rd and Broadway) and sang their hearts out. (See the video at top.) The performances were just grand. The cutaways to unimpressed cab and truck drivers were priceless.
Every edition of Crosswalk the Musical has been terrific (and accident-free), but my other favorite was a performance last summer of Hair by Corden and guest Lin-Manuel Miranda. To watch it click on the image above. Then go back to last year's column and enjoy a seasonal treat by clicking on the image below.
Previously in the Top 25 Programs of 2017
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