George Michael: The Very FIRST Carpool Karaoke Star!

No one could have predicted it at the time, but George Michael and James Corden’s skit on Comic Relief 2011 would eventually spawn one of the most notorious recurring TV segments of the century: Carpool Karaoke.

James Corden kicks off this “one-off” Comic Relief skit fresh off the back of starring in Gavin & Stacey. Staying in his iconic show character, Smithy, he receives a phone call from Lenny Henry, only recognizing him after being told he’s the “bloke off the Premier Inn adverts,” and agrees to come to the BBC Studios to help out with the annual charity effort.

The camera pans round, showing George Michael riding shotgun, and the shock is real! The two have a tiff when Smithy won’t let George come with him to the BBC. George calls Smithy and co-character Gavin “closet bu*mers,” while Smithy hits back, “You’re a joke, George! It’s embarrassing. I can’t walk into Comic Relief with you! Comic Relief’s about helping people LIKE you!”

Hilariously, George (aged 48 at the time) sulks like a child, while Smithy whacks Wham!’s “I’m Your Man” on the car stereo and begins the theatrical car-singing extravaganza, which would take over late-night American TV just five years later. When George Michael joined in on the antics, the concept of Carpool Karaoke was born.

George’s Comic Relief skit came one year after his public resurgence in 2010 — the notorious Snappy Snaps car crash incident, arrest and eight-week prison sentence for driving under the influence of cannabis and prescription drugs.

He’d shot to fame with Wham! in 1982 and carried on topping charts right through the 90s, but while George Michael’s career became saturated with hits on both sides of the Atlantic, this London-born star’s personal life was just as saturated with heartbreaking stories. From the death of his partner Anselmo Feleppa from an AIDS-related brain haemorrhage to his spread of addictions and death at the age of 53.

James Corden (aged 33 during this Comic Relief skit) danced across British film and TV (Little Britain, Gulliver’s Travels, Hollyoaks, Doctor Who and the BRIT Awards, to name a handful), before breaking America by hosting The Late Late Show With James Corden, and breaking the internet with its star-studded feature, Carpool Karaoke.

This whole Comic Relief skit is a feast for Gavin & Stacey fans, who’ll spot instant similarities between this set-up and the show’s 2008 Christmas Special (check out the vid above!). In the original, James drives a near-identical vehicle, stickered identically with his character’s name and wears the same tri-coloured jacket as the Comic Relief version. Smithy even sings along to George Michael’s verse as Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” plays out on the radio!

If you enjoyed George Michael’s comedic antics and musical talent, be sure to check out more from him. You can find his latest music and updates on his YouTube Channel. If you’d like to follow along on his day-to-day, head over to his Instagram. If social media isn’t your style, you can find all you need to know on his official website. And of course, don’t forget to give him a like on his Facebook page.

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