No one would have blamed James Corden if he had been nervous hosting his debut episode of the Late Late Show. After all, he was in front of a national audience, CBS had been promoting him like crazy and his first guests were two massive Hollywood stars, Tom Hanks and Mila Kunis.
But Corden didn't let any of that get to him. The 36-year-old comedian knocked it out of the park his very first try at bat.
Beginning with a surprisingly heartfelt and wonderfully self-deprecating monologue, it was clear that Corden has the charm and wit to elevate the medium and create a fun, exciting show that doesn't need to confine itself to what is expected.
In the same way that his predecessor, Craig Ferguson, pushed the envelope in terms of wackiness -- or the way Jimmy Fallon has been dominating the late-night landscape with his unique interview games on The Tonight Show -- Corden seems poised to take the show in a truly exciting direction.
Clearly influenced by the British late-night program The Graham Norton Show, Corden had both of his guests come out at the same time, sitting together on a couch as three of them talked and bonded.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening came at the close of Corden's monologue, when he threw to a pre-recorded segment detailing the magical, star-studded, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed story behind how he got the chance to host the Late Late Show.
In the short-but-epic intro, CBS president Les Moonves decides to appoint a new Late Late Show host by giving out a golden ticket inside a chocolate bar wrapper.
Stars like Simon Cowell, Lena Dunham, Chris Rock and even Eddie Redmayne all try for the ticket in vain. Finally, Chelsea Handler buys a chocolate bar, but drops it on the ground, only for Corden to pick it up and find the winning golden ticket.
That's when things get really crazy, as Corden is trained in the art of talk show hosting by the likes of Jay Leno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Allison Janney and Shia LaBeouf. Even Meryl Streep makes an appearance!
Corden's first time up was a resoundingly entertaining success, but there is still room to build and develop. It's going to be great to see how this young, celebrated entertainer carves out his own niche in the late-night landscape.
How do you think Corden did in his inaugural Late Late Show episode?