Yesterday it was announced someone named James Corden would be replacing Craig Ferguson as host of CBS' The Late Late Show when Ferguson leaves in 2015. Corden's response was appropriately enthusiastic:
"To be asked to host such a prestigious show on America's No. 1 network is hugely exciting. I can't wait to get started, and will do my very best to make a show America will enjoy."
Meanwhile, the response of many Americans to the news was possibly less animated: James Corden? Who the hell is that? Granted, Ferguson wasn't exactly known for much on these shores aside from The Drew Carey Show when he got the gig, but Corden is even more obscure. Fear not, I'm hear to help.
He Is Not... Commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department. I know the name "James" is often shortened to "Jim," but the incorruptible head of GCPD and Batman confidante is actually Jim Gordon. Easy mistake.
He Is... A BAFTA Winner For Best TV Comedy Performance Corden won the [inhales] British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy Performance for Gavin and Stacey, a series he co-created, in 2008. In typical British fashion, the show ran a whopping 20 episodes.
Fun fact: G&S was remade for U.S. audiences as Us & Them, starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel. It never aired.
He Is Not... A Hollywood Icon The E! article linked above mentions he appeared in Begin Again, that Mark Ruffalo movie nobody saw this summer, and will be in the upcoming Into the Woods as "The Baker." He was also, according to Wikipedia, in some deleted scenes in The Boat that Rocked. Formidable.
He Is... A Tony Award Winner The entirety of my knowledge of legitimate theater comes from being able to sing all the words to Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off! and my wife's incessant playing of the Les Miserables soundtrack (original West End production, of course). Corden won a Tony for the play One Man, Two Guvnors. Stupid name aside, that puts him in some pretty exclusive company.
He Is Not... A Familiar TV Presence Unless you're one of those weirdo Anglophiles who watches inferior British television instead of waiting for the awesome American network remakes, you probably haven't caught him on the boob tube. What's that? You're a Doctor Who fan? Well, never mind, because
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He Is... A Friend of the Doctor Corden appeared in two episodes of Matt Smith's run. The first was "The Lodger," during the fifth "series" (gah). He was then brought back for "Closing Time," the penultimate episode of the sixth, because Steven Moffat liked him so much the first time around. This may only be of significance to our own Jef with one F, however.
He Is Not... Andy Richter But holy shit the resemblance uncanny. I mean, if you were watching the news with the sound off, the mistake would be totally understandable.