James Corden Pays Tribute to David Letterman - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

James Corden Pays Tribute to David Letterman

May 20, 2015 by  

Photo: Neil Jacobs/CBS

Photo: Neil Jacobs/CBS

The final episode of THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN will air tonight, and the significance of that moment hasn’t been lost on his fellow late night hosts.

While James Corden was speaking with reporters earlier this week to promote his new show, THE LATE LATE SHOW — where he joked they were celebrating 30 episodes of the show compared to Letterman’s 30 years — Corden spoke frankly about the impact Letterman’s show had on him, and getting to follow his final run of episodes…

“I didn’t grow up here and David Letterman wasn’t on in Britain, no late night talk shows or American late night shows. But a more abiding sort of memory of him and his show was the first time I ever came to America was in 2006 and I was in a play called The History Boys on Broadway. And before we got to New York, we had been in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong, so we were aware of the cast in total about 15 months, give or take, I think. And we got to New York and the show opened and all our families came out for the opening night and it was a huge success and it was wonderful. But as is the way that always happens in a Broadway show, after about sort of three or four weeks, you really just get into the grind of doing a show eight times a week.

And I was staying in what can only be described as an awful apartment in Manhattan and about a month in, I got incredibly home sick. I’d never been away that long before, I had never been in America before and I had certainly never been in a city like New York before. I didn’t live in London at this point. I lived in a very small village outside of London and I started to become very, very home sick. And I would go home after every show where a lot of the cast would go out and I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

And I didn’t know about this phenomenon, this trope of late night television that airs at, you know, midnight and 11:30 every night. And I would get into bed feeling very home sick, not being able to call home or speak to my parents or sisters and I would put the TV on and there was this guy on. And I think I found a connection with him in the way that so many others have. And in a much deeper sense, over the last 30 years, where it suddenly became clear to me what the power of late night hosts is and are. It is — that you’re checking in with a friend. And suddenly, that last hour of my day stopped being a time where I wished I could ring my parents, but became a time where I would really look forward to seeing what this guy was going to do tonight or what he was going to say tonight or how that was going to be. And he was talking to me, directly to me in bed.

And then I realized that [where they filmed] was around the corner. I didn’t even know that. I didn’t know that. And so I would go and I would walk past it every day. And I said — I told him this. I sent him an e-mail at the start of the show asking him — I was asking if we could do an interview with him in his theater. And he sent back the kindest e-mail where I said to him how he made me feel, my home sickness disappeared and he sent me the loveliest e-mail and he said I hope you don’t mind, I’m not going to do the interview. I think people are sick of hearing from me. And I remember thinking at the time he couldn’t be been more wrong, and I still think that now.

And if someone told me that in 2006 I would be the person following that show and have something to say, I would never have believed them. And now I’m here saying I still sort of can’t.

So I don’t know what I’m going to say or how it’s going to be, but it’s not lost on me that it’s an absolute honor to be in such a position. I don’t know how long the show will last, but to think there might be somebody somewhere in one place who finds that connection with our show that I found with his those lonely nights would be thrilling for us.”

THE LATE LATE SHOW airs weeknights at 12:35 AM on CBS.

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