I no longer have any faith in America...
Well, at least as far as what America thinks is funny.
Four months ago I chronicled the first week of CBS Late night's newest host, James Corden.
Back then I described his style as a "Giddy Schoolgirl" and someone who was just "playing host."
The burning question on my mind is how someone can do something fifty times and not get any better at it.
It seems America doesn't agree...
The trades love him, blogs love him (not this one) and apparently so too does a wide swatch of the American viewing public.
What the hell man!
What about this guy is so compelling?
Is it the accent?
That he looks like a Red Haired Pillsbury Dough Boy?
The parade of indy musical acts nobody outside of a college dorm have ever heard of?
The on-set bar?
Hmmm, perhaps its presence insinuates that one should be drunk before watching.
Since most of Corden's fans appear to come from the "college" demographic allow me to put this in the form of an SAT analogy.
James Corden is to late night as brick is to windshield.
If James Corden were to be compared to other late night hosts over the past decade the formula would go something like this:
Craig Ferguson on CBS = Conan O'Brien on NBC.
So in that vein, James Corden on CBS = Seth Meyers on NBC
Although that may be somewhat unfair to Seth Meyers as he is an actual comedian, just not very funny.
The smartest thing the producers have done in the intervening months is inject more of bandleader Reggie Watts into the show. Watts is what I call a "subtle comic" meaning he doesn't have to go over the top to get a laugh which is in diametric opposition to the often contrived performance of Corden.
In short, you could have seen none of the episodes between the first and the fiftieth and missed nothing of consequence. I'll give him this much, he's consistent. Consistently bad.
His guests are largely forgettable generally coming from the second tier of the talk show circuit with the only exception being uninspired last stops on promotional tours.
Perhaps this is what CBS wanted. A non-threatening shill devoid of any qualification for the position that will happily tow the corporate line without question.
If that's what America wants, you can have it. Just don't delude yourself into thinking your being edgy or counterculture by watching Corden's show.