When George Michael sang 'I'm Your Man' with James Corden and invented Carpool Karaoke

19 August 2022, 16:47

George Michael, who was already incredibly well-known for his huge donations to charity, agreed to guest star alongside 'Smithy' for a tongue-in-cheek scene in which the Wham! star would send himself up for charity.
George Michael, who was already incredibly well-known for his huge donations to charity, agreed to guest star alongside 'Smithy' for a tongue-in-cheek scene in which the Wham! star would send himself up for charity. Picture: BBC

By Giorgina Hamilton

George Michael starred in the hilarious Comic Relief sketch alongside James Corden, in what would go on to be the world's first-ever 'Carpool Karaoke' sketch.

It was March 2011. National treasure George Michael was in the midst of his huge Symphonica Tour across Europe and British TV show Gavin and Stacey was at its peak.

Preparations were underway for another star-studded Comic Relief and producers were thrilled to have the character of the moment, Gavin & Stacey's 'Smithy' played by James Corden, ready to do a sketch to raise money for the show.

George Michael, who was already incredibly well-known for his huge donations to charity, agreed to guest star alongside 'Smithy' for a tongue-in-cheek scene in which the Wham! star would send himself up for charity.

Over at the BBC, preparations were underway for another star-studded Comic Relief and producers were thrilled to have the character of the moment, Gavin & Stacey's 'Smithy' played by James Corden
Over at the BBC, preparations were underway for another star-studded Comic Relief and producers were thrilled to have the character of the moment, Gavin & Stacey's 'Smithy' played by James Corden. Picture: BBC
The clip opens with James Corden's character Smithy answering a phone call from Lenny Henry begging him to help them raise funds for Comic Relief.
The clip opens with James Corden's character Smithy answering a phone call from Lenny Henry begging him to help them raise funds for Comic Relief. Picture: BBC
Smithy&squot;s car passenger then says; "Who was that then?", before the audience gasp and laugh as the camera pans to George Michael.
Smithy's car passenger then says; "Who was that then?", before the audience gasp and laugh as the camera pans to George Michael. Picture: BBC

The clip opens with James Corden's character Smithy answering a phone call from Lenny Henry begging him to help them raise funds for Comic Relief.

Smithy says he can't because he's "spending the day with a mate who's been away for a while", but as Lenny insists, he agrees and says he will see them shortly.

Smithy's car passenger then says; "Who was that then?", before the audience gasp and laugh as the camera pans to George Michael.

When he's told plans have changed and that they now have to go to Comic Relief, George says: "But you said we were going to pick up my photos!"

The joke comes as a subtle nod to George's accident the year before, when he crashed into a branch of Snappy Snaps.

When he&squot;s told plans have changed and that they now have to go to Comic Relief, George says: "But you said we were going to pick up my photos!"
When he's told plans have changed and that they now have to go to Comic Relief, George says: "But you said we were going to pick up my photos!". Picture: BBC
It's not long before the dulcet tones of George's hit song 'I'm Your Man' can be heard and Smithy starts to sing at the top of his lungs.
It's not long before the dulcet tones of George's hit song 'I'm Your Man' can be heard and Smithy starts to sing at the top of his lungs. Picture: BBC
George Michael then joins in and the two duet for the amazing scene as they drive along in the battered up Volvo.
George Michael then joins in and the two duet for the amazing scene as they drive along in the battered up Volvo. Picture: BBC

The ever humble George Michael played along as James Corden ribbed him for not being cool and saying he couldn't join him on Comic Relief because "you're a joke, George. I can't walk into Comic Relief with you," Smithy says, exasperated.

"Comic Relief is about helping people like you," he adds as the studio audience laugh.

George then proceeds to go into a huff and stare out of the window as James turns up the radio.

It's not long before the dulcet tones of George's hit song 'I'm Your Man' can be heard and Smithy starts to sing at the top of his lungs.

George Michael then joins in and the two duet for the amazing scene as they drive along in the battered Volvo.

Georeg Michael pictured outside his home in Highgate in 2011
Georeg Michael pictured outside his home in Highgate in 2011. Picture: Alamy

The 2011 Comic Relief sketch wasn't the first time George's sense of humour and ability to mock himself was caught on camera.

The pop star's had famously humble sense of humour was proved when he allowed another British comic, Ricky Gervais, to send him up during a hilarious sketch at the 2008 British Comedy Awards.

Ricky was lying in bed and sending up Gordon Ramsay and George Michael - both of whom guest-starred on his Extras Christmas Special - before the camera pans to George Michael sitting up in bed beside him, casually reading the Daily Star.

The two then joked about George not wearing pyjama bottoms, with Ricky asking "why's it so red?" before going under the covers and pulling out an Extras DVD as the pair grinned at the camera like naughty schoolboys.

Watch George Michael and Rick Gervais' innuendo-filled sketch below:

However, the sketch that George had made with James Corden would turn out to live on long after the laughter had died down on 2011's Comic Relief.

What no one was aware of was that the subsequent three-and-a-half-minute footage the pair had starred in would go on to become one of the most popular segments in TV history.

Years later, when James Corden would become the presenter of The Late Late Show in the US, he would credit George Michael with the co-creation of one of late-night TV's best-loved sketches, 'Carpool Karaoke'

After George Michael's death – and just five years after the duo recorded the sketch – James would publicly pay tribute to the star and his contribution to comedy.

Watch James Corden address George Michael's death below: