George Michael was an inspiration, but did you also know that he was basically responsible for one of your favorite Late Late Show sketches? OK, not totally responsible, but Michael was on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden as the first-ever guest back in 2011. After the singer passed away on Christmas Day, re-watching this early segment might just provide fans with a necessary smile through all of their tears, because you get to see not only his talent as a singer but also his comedic timing and his chemistry with Corden.
Back then, the Late Late Show wasn't even a thing; the sketch idea that would later explode into a sensation on his talk show was a simple comedy spot wherein Corden and Michael try to save the charity Comic Relief. Corden doesn't think they need Michael's help because he's "a joke" and then puts on Wham! songs to cheer him up after that harsh beat-down. Basically, this sketch brings to life everything that people would eventually come to love about "Carpool Karaoke", but with a comedic prequel that makes the whole thing even better. I'm not saying that Michael is the reason that "Carpool Karaoke" became as popular as it did, but it can't be a confidence.
Naturally, Corden was one of the many people who spoke out after the news broke to honor the singer's memory. His words will bring a tear to your eye, and not even tears from laughing so hard at the above video. His tribute is actually really beautiful, especially after you watch the "Carpool Karaoke" sketch and see how much fun the pair are having together.
I've loved George Michael for as long as I can remember. He was an absolute inspiration. Always ahead of his time.— James Corden (@JKCorden) December 25, 2016
The sketch doesn't last nearly long enough before Corden arrives at Comic Relief and meets up with the likes of Rupert Grint and Tom Felton from Harry Potter, leaving Michael in the car with a sweet, "I love you." But it's worth it for the very end of the segment, when Corden gets back in the car to rejoin Michael and finds out from the singer what's even better than saving a charity. (The answer is more music, guys. Just. Watch it.)
What it gives us, though, is a look at the bright side of the singer, the side that made us laugh, the side that gave back, and the side was talented in an entirely different way from just singing. And I think that's a side we need to see now more than ever.