In the UK, James Cordon is best known for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey. In the US, the English actor & comedian is best known as CBS’s The Late Late Show with James Cordon, which started in 2015 and is due to end on 27 April 2023. In January 2023, the producers of The Late Late Show announced that they had located lost Simon & Garfunkel footage.
The lost footage was said to be from the famous 1981 Simon and Garfunkel benefit concert in Central Park, where the duo performed in front of an audience of half a million. An album and a film were released in 1982, which begged the question: “How did The Late Late Show acquire rare footage from such a well-publicized event?” Here is the footage.
Obviously, the footage is a spoof wherein the show’s host and Breaking Bad actor Bryan Cranston play the roles of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. The duo start off with a more than reasonable approximation of The Sound Of Silence, with James Cordon playing Paul Simon relatively straight while Cranston camps up Art Garfunkel’s gestures a little. 45 seconds in, one notices that Simon’s collar has extended up his neck, possibly in anticipation of the line “I turned my collar to the cold and damp.”
When the camera cuts to Garfunkel, his hair has dramatically bushed out in time for the fuzzy penumbra to be backlit for the line “‘Neath the halo of a street lamp”. From there the spoof follows to its absurd conclusion – Garfunkel is completely engulfed by his hair and Simon’s polo neck extends high above his head. Rob Grano captures the mood when he comments: “Incredibly dumb but funny as hell — love it”. Of course, this is not the first time that the Sound of Silence featured on a talk show.
While Conan O’Brian is known for his musical comedy and interludes, that is no parody. That is Disturbed performing their massive hit cover of The Sound of Silence on Conan on TBS in March 2016.
After the show aired, Paul Simon emailed Disturbed singer David Draiman. Simon said, “Really powerful performance on Conan the other day. First time I’d seen you do it live. Nice. Thanks”. Draiman replied by saying how honored he and the band were. One wonders if Paul Simon has emailed James Cordon.