During late-night host and actor James Corden’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance on Monday, December 3, among discussing his role in Ryan Murphy’s upcoming musical film The Prom alongside Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, Corden spoke candidly about his experience planning the now infamous Carpool - Airplane - Karaoke segment with rapper Kanye West earlier this year.
While the segment was smooth to viewers, behind the scenes, Yeezy had cancelled on the television host two times before the final taping. Corden explains, “The first time he agreed and then he canceled a few days later, and you’re like, ‘Well, that’s a shame, but it’s fine.’ The second time that Kanye canceled Carpool Karaoke was so late in the day that I was driving up his road in the car, with all the cameras, and got this phone call saying it’s been canceled." In between laughs, Corden finishes the story: “I think I basically turned around outside his house and drove back to the studio.”
When asking him about the experience earlier, Kimmel seconded Corden’s experience, noting “things go according to Kanye’s plan.” Eventually, the segment was revived when on a Saturday days later Corden received a text from West asking if they could do the episode “with the whole choir on like a bus or a truck in L.A.” that following Monday. Corden agreed, but with so little time to prepare, the producers told him it would have to be filmed that same Wednesday… Can you guess the email that Corden received on that Wednesday morning? “It’s not gonna happen today.”
After a period of silence from West and his team, “he just then goes, ‘I want to do it on an airplane,’ recounts Corden, who then explains, “To his credit, he and his team gets the plane.” Still, Corden admits to Kimmel, “even as I walked onto the plane, I thought at some point somebody would go ‘No it’s not gonna happen today.’”
Luckily, the filming went well, and the segment that they did end up getting, in which Kanye spoke candidly about his family, his faith, and his struggles with mental health, was definitely worth the wait. The interspersed live performances of traditional spirituals and his own classic hits backed by a choir of over 100 members were, as Corden put it, a “once in a lifetime thing that I’ll never ever forget… I will never forget what that choir sounded like on that airplane.”