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James Corden isn’t just a Tony Award-winning actor, an Emmy Award-winning talkshow host, and the co-creator of BAFTA Award-winning British sitcom Gavin & Stacey. He’s also winning plaudits this week because, according to Deadline, he’s paying the salaries of around 60 The Late Late Show staff members who’ve been furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In appreciation of his decency during these difficult times, here are a few things you might not know about the British multi-hyphenate.

1. He was teased at school because of his unusual middle name: Kimberly.

“Literally every man in my family has it [as their middle name] – it’s a tradition,” Corden told Heat magazine in 2010. “For ages I pretended it was Karl, but my sister was going out with one of my mates and told him, then he told the whole school. It wasn’t great.”

2. As a 16-year-old, he got to interview Meat Loaf for a BBC daytime show.

Corden moonlighted as a reporter on a special episode of ’90s show Good Morning with Anne and Nick in which young people took over from the regular, grown-up hosts. And he did a pretty decent job in his very first interview, don’t you think?

3. Before he became famous, he also appeared in a controversial TV ad for British soft drink Tango.

According to advertising journal Campaign, the 1998 commercial was banned on the basis that it might cause larger children to be bullied. Watching it again today, the ad definitely smacks of body shaming: it shows a seemingly naked Corden being taunted repeatedly by a group of strangers.

4. One of his first big TV roles was in Teachers, a British comedy-drama series starring future The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln.

Corden played Jeremy Stevens, the smartest pupil in a class taught by Lincoln’s character, Simon Casey. Check them out sharing a scene together below.

5. He used to be roommates with his The History Boys co-star Dominic Cooper.

“We only had one piece of cutlery, which was a spatula,” Cooper recalled a few years ago. “And I remember a really depressing evening where he caught me – he came home and I was just eating baked beans with the spatula.”

Still, the pair have maintained a close friendship over the years. Cooper actually introduced Corden to his future wife, Julia Carey, and is godfather to the eldest of their three children, Max.

6. He scored a U.K. number-one single alongside British grime artist Dizzee Rascal.

Their collaboration “Shout,” based on the Tears for Fears song of the same name, was released as an unofficial anthem of the England soccer team for the 2010 World Cup. It sold more than 100,000 copies in its first week on sale, with all royalties going to London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

7. He’s also recorded a duet with Kylie Minogue.

They covered Yaz‘s ’80s electro ballad “Only You” for Minogue’s 2015 holiday album, A Very Kylie Christmas.

8. While presenting the Brit Awards in 2012, he awkwardly had to cut short an acceptance speech by one of the biggest stars in U.K. music: Adele.

“I was furious and put in a horrible position,” Corden said soon afterwards. “I went straight to Adele’s dressing room and she was fine with me, but really upset. She had a speech and had a list of people she wanted to thank.”

Thankfully, it didn’t affect their friendship at all. When Adele guested on a memorable episode of Carpool Karaoke four years later, producer Ben Winston revealed that they shot so much great material, the first edit of the segment was 54 minutes long.

9. His dad Malcolm played saxophone in the Royal Air Force band.

Years later, Malcolm Corden got to show off his sax skills at Coldplay‘s pre-Super Bowl press conference. He was supposed to be in attendance as The Late Late Show‘s Super Bowl reporter, but who can blame him for treating the room to a tune?

10. His sisters have also appeared on The Late Late Show as reporters.

Ruth Corden and Andrea Corden got to interview the Jackson Jaguars in their locker room during the NFL’s 2016 visit to London.

What are your favorite ever James Corden moments?

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Filed Under: James Corden
By Nick Levine