Celebrity talk show sketches: Do we love the players or the game?


If you had said to anyone who saw the rather dreadful Lesbian Vampire Killers a few years back that James Corden would soon be a global superstar, they would have no doubt laughed quite hard in your face. Yet, remarkably, Corden’s surprise move to US to present The Late Late Show has proved to be a massive hit both with domestic viewers and millions more across the world. Much of this success has been down to the hilarious games and sketches he performs with his guests, with many going viral on YouTube.

The most popular is undoubtedly “Carpool Karaoke,” which has seen stars including Adele, Stevie Wonder and even Michelle Obama jump into the passenger seat to sing along to tunes as they help James “get to work.” The concept has been such a phenomenon that it is even getting its own spin-off show on Apple Music.

However, away from his car, Corden has tried a few other concepts out and one of the most daring was undoubtedly a little variation on roulette. Visit online gaming sites like Bell Fruit Casino and you’ll see numerous variants of the game. 32Red even put together a feature on some of the many weird and wacky types of roulette which exist – that’s in addition to the nine roulette variations plus live roulette option the casino website features. Their list includes everything from Chatroulette to pizza and taser roulette (ouch!). But, what made the top of 32Red’s rankings? Jimmy Fallon may have gotten James Beckham to play egg roulette, but the winner was Corden’s decision to play Tattoo Roulette with none other than boy band sensation One Direction.

The idea was simple. The band and Corden each open a box, but only one contains the word “Tattoo.” The person who opens that box then has to actually get a tattoo. Although the video has had nearly 22 million views at the time of writing, we’re going to avoid spoilers purely in case you are one of the few who hasn’t seen it.

But the big question is does the true entertainment factor on sketches and games like this come from those who are participating or from the jeopardy and excitement of the game itself? Well, it would be a silly to disregard the impact that the celebrities involved has on these skits. With big names always looking to promote a new film, album or another project, the likes of Corden and his rivals including Jimmy Kimmel are always able to attract real star power that will boost their ratings both on TV and online.

Corden has always been acutely aware of this from the moment his version of The Late Late Show started in March 2015. He was quick to capture the attention of viewers in his debut episode by pulling in the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Jay Leno and even Arnold Schwarzenegger to assist his “training” for his new presenting role.

It is safe to say that people are drawn to the names involved and also get a real thrill from seeing stars do things that you don’t usually see. Being quite frank, would “Carpool Karaoke” work without the singers involved? Probably not. However, it would be wrong to ignore the impact that the games and sketches themselves have on drawing in viewers.


Take the “Tattoo Roulette” game for instance. The jeopardy and excitement created by a twist on an old favorite bring in something new for the audience. They are familiar with the concept, but also see something which is not exactly common on a high-rating TV chat show.

One of the most startling and ingenious things about these concepts which attract millions of views on YouTube every week is actually how simple they are. Singing along to a car stereo or opening a box are not rocket science, but they have been key to some truly viral hits.

If people want to watch videos of celebrity interviews, they have plenty of options online. But seeing them outside of their comfort zone and having a laugh is something that the likes of Corden, Kimmel and co have really mastered and used to their advantage. And it really gives us some insights on what our favorite celebs are like as people.

So, what we do love? The players or the game? When it comes to chat show sketches, it ultimately seems to be a bit of both. The star power is important, but the concepts that the celebs are asked to get involved in are a massive aspect too.

We all like to laugh at and along with people put in strange situations, whether they win or lose. Or even get a tattoo.

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