James Corden opened his first London show with a heartfelt and sobering tribute to his hometown, less than a week after it was attacked by terrorists.
Corden had planned to do a week of shows in London long before the attacks, but said that the timing for The Late Late Show field trip couln’t have been more perfect. “Some people may say it’s a strange time to do a variety show from this city,” he said. “I couldn’t disagree more.”
As Corden walked through the rainy streets of London, he pointed out some of the city’s most historic sites, some of which were built to uphold the very values that came under attack last week.
“Just behind that building there are the Houses of Parliament. A building that represents democracy, something the people who carried out this attack hate,” Corden said.
He promised a week of “the silliest, stupidest, most fun-packed shows we’ve ever made for you to celebrate London, Britain, and everything it has to offer,” and pointed out that the terrorists would “hate that too.”
“I’m so proud to be broadcasting from here, my hometown,” Corden added. “Proud to be showing off its beauty, its diversity, its stoic British determination to left nothing stand in or way. This is not a country that feels afraid… It may be the worst weather in the world, but it’s still my favorite city.”
It was a moving tribute from the late night host and one that felt all too familiar. At the top of the monologue, Corden began by acknowledging just how often he’s had to make similar statements in response to the “atrocities” around the world since taking the Late Late Show job. “Trying to find the words to say is impossible, because there are none,” he said.
Calming us down in times of crisis has become an unfortunate part of the gig that no late night host wants, but one that they’ve all had to master.
To this day, Jon Stewart’s words on the first post-9/11 Daily Show were integral to helping America recover. Ditto for David Letterman. So while Tuesday’s monologue will go down as one of Corden’s signature moments, we’re sure the late night host would have it any other way.
Watch it below.