James Corden has introduced himself to American audiences as he admitted he was stunned to be making a star-packed debut with his late-night talk show.

The Gavin And Stacey actor was greeted by a whooping crowd including his wife, parents and celebrity friend Piers Morgan for his first outing as host of the Late Late Show on US network CBS.

James is relatively unknown in America and he immediately addressed that fact as he opened the programme, which airs at 12.35am.

“I feel I should tell you a little bit about myself,” he said.

James Corden
James Corden (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“My name is James Corden and I’m 36 years old and I’m from a place called High Wycombe in Great Britain, which you almost certainly will never have heard of because most people in Great Britain haven’t heard of it so I don’t expect you to.”

He added: “I’m married, sorry ladies, this ship has sailed.”

Gesturing to his newly slimmed-down frame, he said: “This don’t stay on the shelf too long.”

James with wife Julia Carey (Evan Agostini/Invision)
James with wife Julia Carey (Evan Agostini/Invision)

Addressing the cameras in front of a studio audience at CBS studios in Los Angeles, he added: “We have two children – my son was four yesterday and my daughter is 16 weeks old – and I really couldn’t be more honoured to be stood here talking to you now and, believe me, however shocked you are that I am standing here doing this job, you will never be as shocked as I am.

“I promise you we will have fun on this show and I promise we will do everything we can to put a smile on your face before or, let’s be honest, more likely while you fall asleep at night.

“It really isn’t lost on me what a privilege it is to be given a show like this and I really will do my best not to let any of you down.”

The actor, who takes over from Scottish-born Craig Ferguson, taped the show the day before the broadcast and thanked his parents for flying over from the UK to watch his debut.

Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks were James' guests on the show (Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment)
Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks were James’ guests on the show (Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment)

He said: “They have never been to Los Angeles before and they are already loving it, they are eating kale every day, my mum is getting a boob job next week.

He choked on his words and wiped away a tear as he added: “Thank you for being here, thank you for making the trip, I really appreciate it.”

The tone was quickly lightened when the actor presented a pre-recorded skit joking about how he got the coveted role as the host of a late-night American talk show. “I’m sure lots of people are wondering how I ended up in this seat, and I include myself in that too, but rather than tell you we thought we would show you this,” he said, introducing a Charlie And The Chocolate Factory-themed sketch with a cameo from CBS chief Les Moonves announcing a golden ticket system to find the next host of the Late Late Show.

The sketch included appearances from Simon Cowell, Girls creator Lena Dunham, Billy Crystal, Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne and comedian Chris Rock all devastated or furious after opening chocolate bars without the golden ticket inside, before James found the winning ticket in the street.

Further cameos from late-night talk show host Jay Leno, Shia LaBeouf, Meryl Streep and Arnold Schwarznegger, who whipped him into physical shape while shouting “You don’t look like a talk show host, you look like two”, added to the star power on display before he brought out his guests, Tom Hanks and Ted actress Mila Kunis.

Mila delivered an exclusive for his inaugural show by reluctantly revealing that she and partner Ashton Kutcher might have got married.

Asked by James if she had tied the knot, she replied: “I don’t know, maybe.” Prompted by gestures from Tom, the host inspected the huge ring on Mila’s hand and declared “Oh, you got married! They got married, everyone! Oh my god, Mr and Mrs Kutcher!”

Other highlights of the show included James and Tom Hanks performing a five-minute retrospective of Tom’s many films, complete with wigs and green screen backdrops, as well as James’ performance of a musical number before the end credits.

While much of the format of James’ show is true to the traditions of American late night talk shows, he has introduced some features that are similar to those of the BBC’s The Graham Norton Show.

Both guests were introduced and interviewed together so they can interact with each other and James stepped out from behind his desk to wheel a chair over and sit next to the stars.

Tom addressed how unusual this is when he asked James: “You don’t want to stay over in the safety of the desk? I must say I’m a bit thrown by this, I’m thrown. It’s all on the other side too.

James replied: “I want to be here with you, when do you have a chat people stuck behind there? It’s not my vibe. There has been a lot of discussion and debate about this.”