On January 2, 2017, talk show host James Corden talked about George Michael on his show, the impact of George and his music on his life, and how George jumpstarted his now highly popular Carpool Karaoke.
We’re so thrilled to be back. We missed you while you were away. I went back to London for Christmas. I had the best time. But there was really sad news over Christmas that hit me really hard. I know it hit you really hard, Reg, the passing away of George Michael.
George was — I feel like I’ve loved George Michael as long as I’ve kind of loved music in a way. And I know so many of his fans feel the same. Like sometimes, I can remember so many specific times in my life where I might have felt on my own, and George’s music would feel like he just — would feel you can you would listen to a song and he would reach his hand out and tell you, you weren’t on your own and that these feelings were not particular to you.
And it really — it 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, which is a huge charity in the U.K. on a big day called Red Nose Day. And I wanted George to be in this sketch with me.
And we called his management and we called the label. I’ll never ever forget it. They said, “George would like to talk to you about this himself.” And they said, “But he’s in Australia, so he’s going to ring you. But when he calls you, it will be 3:00 a.m. in London.”
And it was the weirdest feeling, going to bed, thinking, when I wake up, it’s going to be because George Michael is on the phone, and I’m going to talk to him about this sketch. We chatted for an hour, and we talked about music, and I felt very privileged to be able to tell him how much his music meant to me.
Then we got around to talking about this sketch. And in this sketch, the idea was a character from a sitcom I was in at home was driving, so the offices of — to the offices of Comic Relief to try to save Red Nose Day. And we had come up with this idea to have me and George Michael singing in a car, and it was the first time I had ever sung in a car with anybody, and it’s become quite a big part of my life now, and he really inspired it.
When we started it at the show here, we were trying to get people to do carpool karaoke, and not many artists wanted to do it. We would send them this clip of me and George, and we sent it to Mariah Carey, and she was the first person to say yes. Her words were, “If it’s good enough for George, then it’s good enough for me, and I’ll do it.”
So we all have so much to thank him for — for the music that he’s given that will last forever. But we personally here at the show, we owe him so much. We thought we would show you this sketch now, this is of me and George Michael driving to comic relief to try to save red nose day.
George: So can I come to comic relief then?
James: Because you can’t.
GM: Oh, come on, let’s be honest. You don’t want me to come with you because you don’t want to be seen with a gay man. It’s ridiculous.
( laughter )
James: Excuse me. What you get up to in your spare time is up to you, all right? Right?
GM: Then why can’t I come to Comic Relief?
James: because you’re a joke, George. It’s embarrassing! I can’t walk into Comic Relief with you. Comic Relief is about helping people like you!
( laughter )
James: Don’t put your sad face on. All right, fine. We’ll just listen to some music.
James: love this one, don’t you?
♪ Call me good.
♪ call me bad.
♪ call me anything you want to baby ♪
♪ and I know that you’re sad
♪ and I know I made you happy ♪
♪ baby ♪ ♪ I’m your man ♪
I love it!
♪ you know that, baby, I’m your man ♪
♪ if you’re gonna do it ♪
♪ do it right, right ♪
♪ do it with me ♪
♪ if you’re gonna do it, do it
Right, right ♪
♪ do it with me ♪
( cheers and applause )
James: George! We miss you so much!
- Graham Norton Interview with George Michael (2003)
- George Michael Phones Loose Women to Promote Comic Relief (2011)
- Wham! The Final Story (Tiger Beat Star, 1986)
- An Audience with George Michael: Interview with Chris Evans (1996)
- George Michael in Q Magazine Interview (October 1990)