James Corden Shares His Most Memorable — and Funniest! — Moments from 'The Late Late Show' (Exclusive)

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Just before the actor and comedian takes his final bow as the late-night talk show host on April 27, he reveals some of his favorite clips

Terence Patrick/CBS/Getty
Terence Patrick/CBS/Getty

James Corden is getting ready to sign off.

The British actor and comedian hosts his final episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS on Thursday, April 27. And, as he prepares for that last bow, he's looking back and some of his best times, starting with his very first episode in 2015.

When Corden welcomed Tom Hanks as his first guest, the Oscar winner offered him some advice. Corden recalls to PEOPLE: "He said to me, 'James, this is show business. The stuff where you worked hard and tried your best will be the things that you go, "Well, I've tried my best." The things that haunt you are the things where you perhaps just didn't give it everything.'"

Those words of wisdom set the tone for Corden's next eight years as host of the show, which will come to an end after nearly 1,200 episodes.

Related:Harry Styles and Will Ferrell Will Guest on James Corden's Final Episode of 'The Late Late Show'

Corden, 44, whose easy charm in viral segments like "Carpool Karaoke" and "Drop the Mic" became his trademark, says that while it's "strange" to say goodbye, he's excited for his next act, which includes moving his family (wife Julia Carey, son Max, 12, and daughters Carey, 8, and Charlotte, 5) back to England. "It's so great to have had this ride," he says. "I hope people saw the joy in it and the love that we put into it, that we were a show that took big swings. Jumping out of a plane with Tom Cruise and flying in fighter jets and singing with Paul McCartney around Liverpool and all those things: I hope that people will see that we made a show that we all really, really, really cared about."

Below, Corden shares some of his favorite moments from the eight-season run.

Starting in a Big Way

For the first segment ever filmed in-studio in 2015, Corden and Tom Hanks reenacted the actor's entire filmography (including 1988's Big) in under seven minutes. "It blows my mind, really," he says of Hanks's helping him kick off his hosting tenure. "He said he'd come and be our first guest, and that was extraordinary. I remember where I was. I stood out on the roof and we were like, 'What's something we could do with Tom Hanks? I remember thinking like, 'Ah, he's done all of these different huge movies. What if we could recreate all of his films in a lo-fi green screen?'"

"So we got on the phone with him and we pitched the idea and he said yes. He flew in from New York a day early to rehearse it."

One Direction's Permanent Mark

Tattoo Roulette with One Direction in 2015, during which Harry Styles was inked right there on the show, was "absolutely crazy," Corden says. "It was all real and it was nuts. It's crazy to think that Harry Styles is walking around with the words 'Late Late' tattooed on his arm. It's so ridiculous."

London Calling

Adele's 2016 Carpool Karaoke segment, during which she memorably rapped Nicki Minaj's verse on Kanye West's "Monster" has been viewed more than 260 million times.

"It was amazing, really," says Corden. "I've known her for a long time and I consider her a very, very dear friend of mine. Doing it in London was pretty special with her. ... She's not an artist who does a lot of press and promos. She traditionally lets the music speak for itself, so we knew that that was a big thing for us. When it came out, there was someone who wrote a piece going, 'How did the Late Late Show get the biggest artist in the world to do this?'"

One of his favorite moments from the segment itself? "We were talking about making restaurant reservations, and I was like, 'Do you use your name?' She said, 'Oh, sometimes to get a table, I have to drop the A-Bomb.' I still call her A-Bomb now."

Related:Adele and James Corden Cry and Sing Together in Emotional Final Carpool Karaoke Segment

Wheels in Washington

"She called us and said, 'I'd love to do this,'" Corden says of his 2016 Carpool Karaoke with Michelle Obama (and special guest Missy Elliott). "It was the most fun, driving around in a circle for 45 minutes. She wrote me a note afterwards just saying what a great time she had, and it's one of my most prized possessions."

Kim Shares Like Never Before

Kim Kardashian drinking a sardine smoothie during a round of Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts in 2017 didn't actually surprise Corden. "We've done Spill Your Guts with a huge amount of the Kardashian clan. Khloé's done it, Kim's done it, Kendall's done it, and Kris has done it. They're such great sports. They're so amazing. The thing with the entire Kardashian and Jenner family is they are ultimately, and it's a thing that's very rarely said about them, but ultimately they are just true professionals. They get it."

A Powerful and Serious Moment

Following the tragic Manchester bombing in 2017, Corden took on a more serious tone and delivered an unforgettable and emotional message.

"If I'm honest, it's something I was deeply unprepared for," Corden admits. "It never occurred to me that when I was hosting the show, that we would have to talk about these things and these moments and you're reactive to the day's news.

"When talking about those moments when there's a mass shooting or a national disaster or any of those things, what I've tried to do, is just be as honest as I can and in some way offer comfort and perspective. It's really hard. It's hard sometimes to find the words to say. I really, really won't miss doing that."

Related:Natalie Portman Recreates Her Entire Career in 7 Minutes on Late Late Show with James Corden

Nothin' Like a Dame

"This was one of those things where you come into work and someone goes, 'Oh, Helen Mirren said yes to Drop the Mic.' You're like, 'Sorry, what?!'" Corden recalls of the Oscar winner's 2018 segment. "And she was amazing! She was so good at it, what a class act. I actually don't think there's anything she can't do. I really don't."

A Ticket to Ride

"It was more emotional than I thought it was going to be," Corden says of his 2018 Carpool Karaoke trip to Paul McCartney's native Liverpool, where they stopped by the former Beatle's childhood home and a local pub. "To drive around Liverpool and go to his home that he hadn't been in since he walked out, since he left, it was so nostalgic. I'm immensely proud of it."

The French Connection

"Crosswalk the Musical was one of the first ideas that [now head writer] Ian Karmel came up with," Corden recalls. "I just remember thinking, 'Oh my god. This is a real idea.' It's been amazing watching that segment grow."

The host doesn't hesitate to name the one that stands out the most: "When we went and did Les Miserables in Paris [in 2019] with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, it's my absolute favorite Crosswalk we've done. It was just so ridiculous to take this amount of people to Paris to do Les Miserables. The way that the Parisian people that watched it reacted is exactly what you think they did. It was just perfect. I love it so much. It's probably one of my favorite things we've ever done on the show."

An Afternoon with Prince Harry

"I've known Harry quite a long time. Of course, We were always keen to try and film something with him," Corden recalls of his fun-filled afternoon in 2021 with Prince Harry, where they toured the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air house, completed an obstacle course and FaceTimed with Meghan Markle. "He was great. We had this idea and we pitched it to him. The one thing we really did with that segment was we just dropped it. We didn't announce it, we didn't plug it, we didn't do any trailer for it. We just put it out because we just wanted to show him in his most natural and honest light."

Corden adds, "And I think it was such a great reflection of the Harry that I know."

Reaching Cruise-ing Altitude

Corden took to the skies in a vintage fighter plane with Tom Cruise in 2022. "A few days before I got really nervous," the host recalls. "We'd done the parachute jump thing. I wasn't actually that nervous about that, because I was strapped to a paramilitary officer who had done 6,000 jumps before. It felt safe. It felt as safe as any parachute jump could be. This really, it scares me a lot, but Tom has been the most extraordinary guest for our show. He just has.

"In every single way, he has been magical for us. The things that we've done together, I'll be indebted to him forever, for the chance that he took on our show that he believed in us. Shooting that Top Gun bit was, I don't know, just one of those things. We were like, 'Well, that's just nuts, doing something like this.' He made me feel so great on the day and he said, 'I promise you there's nothing to worry about.'"

Finally, Corden teases, "we have a huge bit planned with him on our last show."

Harry's DIY Music Video

Corden and Harry Styles persuaded a group of fans to let them film a music video for Styles's song "Daylight" in their N.Y.C. apartment for just $300 in 2022. "How we really pulled that together is crazy," Corden says. "It really holds up. Harry's manager actually said to me, 'It's really made me question why we spend so much money on videos.'"

Corden also shared a bit about how they found the apartment. "We'd scouted the road and we'd gone to a few places to discuss," he says. "One of our film team producers went pretending it was a home makeover reality show, and would they be okay? We found a street where we knew that there were a few different apartments that would be open to the idea of filming such a thing, but we didn't know which one we were definitely going to. It was insane when we got in there and there was One Direction thing in that girl's bedroom.

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