James Corden’s decision to exit as host of The Late Late Show took many by surprise, but his rationale for his departure is surprisingly emotional.
The British comic recently sat down for a chat with Drew Barrymore on her daytime talk show, and she asked about his choice to leave as host — a decision that seems to come amid a successful run with a number of successful spin-off projects.
“Look it’s not easy in any way to walk away from something that is so, I mean, I’ll never work in a better environment than the one I work in now,” Corden explained. “Nothing about leaving the show was to do with not enjoying it. I love it.”
“But the truth is it became a very easy decision,” he continued, “because I always knew it was an adventure and I never, ever considered it to be the final destination.”
For Corden, the choice became crystal clear while he was on set shooting his Prime Video drama Mammals last year.
“One day I was filming on a Sunday and I came downstairs, it was about 6 a.m. and my son, who was 10 at the time, was sat on the stairs and he said, ‘Are you working today?’ and I said, ‘I am,’ and he said, ‘I thought, well it’s Sunday,’ and I said, ‘I know, buddy, but this schedule’s just all over the place. We just got to get it done because we only have a tiny amount of time before we have to go back and do the show,’ and his face just kind of dropped,” Corden recalled. “I got in the car and I called my wife Jules and I said, ‘I’ve realized, best case scenario, we have six more summers where Max even remotely wants to be around us and I cannot waste another one.'”
Corden explained that, when it came down to it, he realized, “If I really want to do this other work, that cannot be at the expense of our children, our family… that is really all it comes down to.”
Corden announced last April that he would be leaving as host, and his final show would come in the Spring of 2023. Speaking with Barrymore, he admitted, “I will be a mess on that last show. I will cry my eyes out.”
“But I will know, at my core, that the best thing for me and the best thing for us as a family is to put down some roots in London,” he added. “And it feels absolutely right in every single way.”
Corden spoke with ET’s Nischelle Turner last May, and reflected on his exit, explaining, “I just sort of felt like maybe we’d done enough? Maybe we’d done everything we wanted to do.”
“When I took the job — firstly, I didn’t think we’d be on the air, like, six months later. Then as soon as it seemed like we’d be on for a little while, I was very very determined that the show wouldn’t overstay its welcome in any way and that we would always know when to leave. That we’d always know when to go out on top, because I think that’s really important.”
While he feels he’s hit the mark with his timing, it didn’t make the decision any less difficult.
“It was really hard, and, you know, there is family decisions and all the things like that. But I just couldn’t shake that, maybe if I try and back myself somehow… There might be one more adventure, there might be one more journey that I might be capable of,” Corden explained. “I will never find out if I stay in the safety of this, you know?”
Corden says he’s “really excited” by the future, and that he also just feels lucky that he gets to go out on his own terms.
“Whoever gets to decide? Certainly not in this industry. Whoever gets to make their own decisions? Never,” Corden shared. “And you’ll never find out [what is waiting for you] unless you just take a run and jump.”
“When I took the job, I remember saying to my friends, like, ‘I’d rather regret doing something than not doing something.’ That’s the same way I feel now.”
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