George Michael died on Christmas Day, and James Corden began his first post-holiday Late Late Show with a personal and professional remembrance. "George was... I think I've loved George Michael as long as I've kind of loved music," he said. Lots of fans can recall moments when Michael's music touched them and made them feel less alone, Corden said, but his death "really hit me, and I think it hit me a bit harder because I was lucky enough, back in 2011, to meet George and spend some time with him, because he very kindly agreed to do a sketch for Comic Relief — a huge charity in the U.K. — on a big day called 'Red Nose Day.'"
He and Michael spoke by phone about the sketch, which involved a sitcom character Corden played driving to the Comic Relief offices to save the day. "We had come up with this idea to have me and George Michael singing in a car, and it was the first time I have ever sung in a car with anybody, and it's become quite a big part of my life now — and he really inspired it," Corden said. Michael also helped make Corden's popular Carpool Karaoke segment a reality on The Late Late Show, because the only reason his first Carpool Karaoke guest, Mariah Carey, reluctantly agreed to participate is because she saw the George Michael sketch. Watch the 2011 proto-Carpool Karaoke with Michael, and Corden's remembrance, below. Peter Weber