“To host the Tony Awards means more to me than, genuinely, any other awards show in the world,” James Corden says on the May 9 episode of THR‘s “Awards Chatter” podcast about his first assignment emceeing the Broadway awards show, which will air June 12, at 8 p.m. ET, on CBS.
Referring to his own Broadway background — he appeared in 2006’s The History Boys, which won the best play Tony, and 2012’s One Man, Two Guvnors, for which he won the best actor in a play Tony — the 37-year-old Late Late Show host says, “I have had the two best times of my life working on those 10, 12, 15 blocks of New York. It is incredibly supportive and brilliant and it’s buzzing with creativity.” He continues, “Theater is the truest art form. When it’s at its best, I don’t think anything comes close to it.”
Corden believes that the Tonys, regardless of its host, is “the best awards show on TV.” Why? “What is an awards show? Usually a collection of people walking up to a stage and receiving a statue and thanking their agents — that’s what we’re watching! The Tony Awards? You’re gonna watch 10 performances of the best shows on Broadway right now.”
He continues, “I defy anybody to go back and watch the cast of Matilda‘s performance from a couple of years ago and then show me anything else in any other awards show that stands up to it. Or Andrew Rannells singing ‘I Believe’ at the Tonys. Or the cast of Newsies doing a performance. It’s an absolute live theatrical event. The amazing thing is we talk about, like, the Super Bowl, and, ‘Oh, what’s the halftime show gonna be?!’ Like, there’s 10 halftime shows in this two-hour awards show!”
“And this year, more than any other year, there is — very, very fortunately for me — a musical that is, without question, a cultural phenomenon, an absolute phenomenon. Hamilton is a life-changing experience when you watch it, and to be there on a night when you’re gonna see that cast perform excerpts from that show — if you wanna go see it, it might cost you a thousand dollars — and you can watch it in your living room? It’s great!”