On February 2 at 12:35 in the morning, the opening of “The Late Late Show with James Corden” featured the host getting stuck in a repeated monologue loop. James started the show the normal way by coming out and telling jokes, this time about what holiday it was, Groundhog Day. Then, as usual, Corden introduced his guests in their dressing rooms. Comedic actor, Randall Park, opened his door while balancing a mug with the show’s title on his head. Then “Castle” actor, Nathan Fillion, opened his door and explained that he bought a rose for James. Finally, he went to the dressing room with the Cirque du Soliel cast of “Kurios” in bizarre make-up and costumes, striking contortionist poses. To end the monologue, Corden pointed to bandleader/sidekick, Reggie Watts, and announced to the control room to roll the credits.
Watts introduced Corden again and the host came out from behind the and saw that the prompter was cuing him to say the same jokes he had just performed. At first, he just looked bewildered and a bit concerned. After a short time, he starts pausing the already heard monologue jokes in odd places, becoming visibly flustered. He looked to Reggie for backup, asking him if they had already done this to which Reggie replied they had in rehearsal. After a few more lines, James turned to Watts again, inquiring, “Do these jokes feel fresh to you?” His sidekick responded, “I mean, have they ever? I mean, just saying your style is you like the stale kind of, you know what I’m saying.” Corden then went on to introduce the guests. When Randall Park opened his door with the mug on his head, James was panicking and screaming, “No!” Of course the other guests did the exact same thing as the first time.
The intro music was played again and Corden wound up coming out like he already had two times before. The intro happened twice more to an increasingly manic host who refused to come out of the curtains to continue what he dubbed a ‘cyclical hell’. He yelled for a commercial this time and the segment finally ended.
This whole bit was a clever homage to popular 1993 Harold Ramis film, “Groundhog Day”. In that existential comedy, Bill Murray plays a weatherman who finds himself living the same day with the same circumstances over and over. After five times around his monologue opening, Corden got nowhere as Zen as Murray’s character wound up being. “The Late Late Show” host did however give a great performance of somebody having a complete comedic meltdown.