James Corden Tells Howard About His Weight Loss and a Phone Call He Made to Oprah Live on His Show

“The Late Late Show” host hops on with Howard following the release of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”

June 16, 2021

James Corden is one of the most beloved entertainers in show business, but as the actor, talk show host, and carpool crooner revealed on Wednesday, fame comes at a price. Long before becoming a household name in the U.S. hosting “The Late Late Show,” James was a celebrated comedic actor and writer on the other side of the Atlantic. In Britain, his first taste of stardom came immediately and unexpectedly, and while he was reeling from a bad breakup. His success quickly went to his head, changing him in ways he couldn’t previously imagine. It eventually drove him to therapy.

“That first flush of fame is so intoxicating that you can’t believe it,” Corden told Howard. “I just wonder if you spend the rest of your life trying to seek the feeling that you had the first weekend you were famous. I don’t care what anybody said—that first weekend it’s like the entire planet changed.”

He started drinking and partying, comparing himself to a kid gone wild in their first semester of college. “People are telling you you’re great … and that’s a dangerous place to be,” James said, later adding, “I just ran with it because my feeling was, ‘This is going to go away at some point.’”

After his work began to suffer and a few close friends tried setting him straight, James realized he needed professional help. He vividly recalled his first visit with the therapist, who started things off by asking why he was there. “I said, ‘I used to be a better man than this and I’m not entirely sure what happened here,’” he told Howard, getting a bit choked up.

It took about six weeks of therapy for James to “reset himself” and reconnect with his loved ones, but his growth continued long after that. In 2012, he married his wife Julia Carey and the happy couple now have three young children. “I’m very grateful for that period, however turbulent it may have been,” he said.

Down Two Stones

Wednesday marked James’ first Stern Show sit-down since 2019, and Howard couldn’t help but notice how fit the entertainer looked. “How do you feel?” he asked his guest.

“I feel like I’m getting better. I’m trying, but I feel like there’s still a way to go,” Corden replied, explaining he’d lost just over 35 pounds (or “two stones and a bit” in British parlance).

“Are you working out?” Howard asked.

“I’m trying to, but I suck at it. I’m so bad at it. It’s terrible,” James said. “There are so few hours in the day that are just my own, do you know what I mean? I’ve got three young kids. We have the show and all these things. I feel like, ‘Hang on a minute. I’ve got an hour here where I’m on my own, and I’m doing something that I absolutely hate.’”

He also questioned whether personal trainers were a good fit for him. “I don’t trust them. I don’t think they want me to lose weight quickly,” he said, explaining he’d gone through roughly 75 of them before concluding getting paid by the hour made them disinterested in rapid results.

Between his exercise regimen and nutritional changes, Howard wondered if James was forced to buy a bunch of new clothes to fit his slimmer physique.

“I’ve not bought masses of clothes because I’m hopeful that there’s still a way to go,” James said, explaining he’d instead begun operating out of a different section of his closet. “For some time now, I’ve had three separate wardrobes … ‘You’re an Embarrassment,’ ‘You’ve Gotta Do Better,’ and ‘Yeah Baby, You’re Really Doing This.’ That [embarrassment section] has not been used in a while, so I’m quite enjoying dipping into some of those clothes.

Spilling His Guts About ‘The Late Late Show’

James found tremendous success on the late-night circuit after taking over CBS’s “Late Late Show” in 2015. Whether he’s singing alongside Paul McCartney and Britney Spears in Carpool Karaoke (a segment he told Howard he hopes to bring back as soon as the pandemic subsides) or celebrating the end of the COVID-19 lockdown in a “Hairpsray” sendup alongside pop superstar Ariana Grande, clips from his Emmy-nominated series regularly go viral. In one from last month, James surprised Oprah Winfrey with an on-air phone call.

Howard was curious how one went about getting a direct line to such a powerful media mogul.

“I didn’t know I had her number,” James said, explaining he saved it a while back and forgot about it entirely before calling her up on his show. The conversation went well, but James wondered if he had invaded Oprah’s privacy. He said he considered killing the bit, but then Oprah reached back out. “She sent a text going, ‘That was hilarious,’” he recalled.

Like every late night host, Corden was forced to tweak his show’s format during the pandemic. He broadcasted from his garage at first and eventually returned to the studio, but one key ingredient is still missing: a live studio audience.

As much as an audience adds to the show, James said nixing it during last year’s election cycle worked out quite well and he was grateful not to be sending political jokes over the heads of the teenagers and tourists who typically stopped in to see his show.

“Trying to talk about [politics] in front of 200 people, I don’t think would’ve been fun,” he told Howard, adding, “They don’t know if Ted Cruz is taking a trip to Cabo.”

“Sometimes, previously, I was telling these jokes to a group of people who were like, ‘I don’t even know this story let alone get the joke,’” he continued. “So, going through that election cycle I did find it incredibly liberating, actually, to just be talking to our crew.”

Hoppy Ending

Howard couldn’t let his guest go without talking about his new animated film, “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway,” in which Corden stars as a bold bunny moving to the big city.

“It’s kind of a dream,” James told Howard and co-host Robin Quivers, explaining he lucked into the role without auditioning after the director saw one of his stage performances.

Howard wondered how he adjusted his voice to play Peter Rabbit.

“It’s remarkably similar, probably a little higher register,” James said, suddenly breaking into character. “It’s probably more up here, Howard. Come on, Robin—let’s go!”

The studio held onto “Peter Rabbit 2” until theaters reopened, but Corden thought the move was for the best and was grateful so many people could now see it. “I’m really pleased so many parents and young kids seem to like it,” he said.

Howard imagined James’s three young children were awestruck by their dad’s work.

“Oh, they couldn’t care less,” Corden laughed. “My son said to me the other day, ‘You know who would be a brilliant Peter Rabbit?’ I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘[“Spider-Man” actor] Tom Holland.’”

“The Late Late Show With James Corden” airs weeknights at 12:37 a.m. on CBS. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” is playing now in theaters.

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