James Corden, only a few months into his tenure as host of The Late Late Show, teamed up with Sting to say goodbye to 12:30 a.m. time slot innovator, CBS cohort and departing Late Show host, David Letterman.
Immediately following Letterman’s last episode, The Late Late Show began with Corden and Sting, sitting outside the Ed Sullivan Theater and singing “Every Breath You Take.” Though the British comedian tried to toss in some rhymes (such as “Paul Shaffer” and “wafer”), Sting assertively assured him, “We don’t need none of that.”
Corden’s off-key warbling wasn’t much but the pair finally locked into some impressive harmonies — so nice that the host left Sting a shiny dollar in his guitar case and strolled away.
Elsewhere, Corden thanked Letterman in his opening monologue and touched on the massive impact he had on television and comedy. He also recalled encountering the Late Show for the first time after moving from England to New York to act in a Broadway play. It was a lonely few months for Corden, who lived in a small apartment and didn’t have many friends at the time; then he found Letterman’s Late Show, and it became a crucial part of his nightly routine.
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“It didn’t matter who or what was on the show, because he was there,” Corden said. “After a while, I would watch it every night and I didn’t feel lonely in that apartment because I had this guy and it felt like he was talking just to me. And I realized that he made everybody feel that way — and that was the brilliance of David Letterman. He made me feel like I was in on the joke, and the whole show was an inside joke, and the audience, we got to be part of it.”
He capped off his tribute with a Top 10 of his own, highlighting the things he’ll miss most about Letterman — from the host’s well-documented interest in drum kits to his pervasive sense of anarchy, Hello Deli owner Rupert Jee and, of course, the man himself.
“He was like TV’s older brother, and I mean that in good ways and bad ways,” Corden said of Letterman. “He was cool and funny, and he could also be cutting and acerbic and mean with the best of them. He knew when to sit back and when to let the chaos unfold.”