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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Coach Mike Krzyzewski; Interview with Natalie Coughlin; Interview with Comedian James Corden

Aired June 15, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, the scandal that stunned America and ended a career of a football hero, Joe Paterno. We'll talk to a man who knew him well, Duke's Coach K.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, COACH, U.S. OLYMPIC BASKETBALL TEAM: You had somebody who has given six decades service to the university and done such an incredible job. I thought it was a real mistake by Penn State's leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Why Coach K tells me living the American Dream and going for gold with his basketball all-stars in London.

Plus, Natalie Coughlin on her way to becoming one of the most decorated American women in Olympic history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATALIE COUGHLIN, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: Nothing more nerve-racking than walking on in the finals.

Also, the Tony-winning Briton is the new king on Broadway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CORDEN, ACTOR: I didn't think that I would even be nominated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You may not know James Corden yet but I do and you will. He's an up and coming superstar, and a man who's been with David Beckham in a bathtub.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORDEN: You don't know whether to shake his hand or like his face. He's that attractive.

(END VIDEO LCIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

(MUSIC)

MORGAN: Good evening.

We begin tonight with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, a winner in every sense of the word. Coach K made Duke a basketball powerhouse. His accomplishments extend far beyond the court. Coach K is an inspiration.

And this summer, he carries the pride of America with him as he leads America's Olympic basketball team to London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Coach K. Now, I know how important you are, because everybody on my staff, when they heard we were doing Coach K got excited. It's like, whoa. Coach K! Why are you such a big deal?

KRZYZEWSKI: You must have a lot of Polish people --

(LAUGHTER)

KRZYZEWSKI: -- on your staff. So, it means everything's going to go great here.

MORGAN: But you have this incredible reputation based on one of the greatest sporting coaching careers America's seen. In college basketball, a peerless career. What does it mean to you to have that reputation?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I've been really lucky to be at places where their brand helped me right away. I graduated from West Point, coached there, got a pretty good brand. Then I get my next gig at Duke University, which has a global brand, and a good one. And then I'm the coach of the U.S. National team, that has a really good brand.

So, I've been on teams that have made me look a lot better, let's put it that way.

MORGAN: You've won 903 college games.

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes.

MORGAN: It's outrageous.

KRZYZEWSKI: It means you've been -- I'm old and I've had good teams.

MORGAN: Well, it means that, but it also means you must hate losing so much that you just try and avoid it at all costs.

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, that's a good point. I think I hate losing more than I enjoy winning.

MORGAN: Yes. KRZYZEWSKI: And I -- but I think competitors in every sport, if you would ask them, I think they would all agree that the loss -- the feeling of a loss, that depth, I don't know if you can ever reach it in height with a win. And so, you try to avoid that feeling as much as possible.

MORGAN: Do you believe as a coach instinctively you can learn more from a loss than a victory?

KRZYZEWSKI: I think you learn -- you learn from every experience, but a loss puts you in a position where you're more reflective, you can -- you go to deeper places than you do with a win. And you can get your group to do that.

As an individual competitor, you're only concerned about you, but when you're with a group, what will they listen to? What's the environment are they listening to you in? And sometimes they'll listen a lot better -- most of the time, they listen a lot better after a loss than after a win.

MORGAN: You have in many ways the easiest job of any coach in the Olympic setup, and the hardest. We know it's the hardest because we know what happened in Athens.

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: The debacle of the Dream Team coming third. Which for America was like a seismic bombshell, because -- you know, I like basketball, it's my favorite American sport, I go and watch the Lakers and the Knicks.

To me, when you have a team running out that includes LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, it is almost impossible to imagine a scenario where you don't win Olympic gold. And yet, we saw in Athens that doomsday can happen.

Why do you think that happened in Athens, and what are you going to do to stop it happening in London when the whole world assumes you're going to win gold quite easily?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, the very first thing is you don't go with assumptions. You go with reality. The reality is 20 percent of the NBA is international.

The reality is we did lose in Athens, we did lose in Indianapolis in the world championships, we did lose in Japan. We've lost. It's not like we haven't lost.

And in the last Olympics, we were only ahead by two points with eight minutes to go against Spain. So, you deal with reality, and you talk to our guys about reality. They know what it is to play against Gasol and Navarro, from Spain.

They know what it is to play against Tony Parker, who's one of the best guards in the world. They understand in a one-game shot, if you're not on top of your game you can lose, and it's not a seven game series.

So, we expect to win, we want to win, but have to prepare like we expect to win, not assume like we expect to win.

MORGAN: You've coached the American National team in 50 games.

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes.

MORGAN: You've won 49. But I would lay good money the game you think about most is how a team that you coached representing America lost to Greece, who I didn't realize actually played basketball.

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, they do, and they play it very well.

MORGAN: Clearly!

KRZYZEWSKI: In fact, that's a --

MORGAN: How often do you think about that game?

KRZYZEWSKI: I think about it often, because I --

MORGAN: Hourly?

KRZYZEWSKI: Not hourly.

(LAUGHTER)

KRZYZEWSKI: We've won enough not to think -- but I think about it every time I'm preparing our U.S. team because why did we lose? And we lost because we weren't as good as they were at that time in their game.

And so, it forced us to learn about the international game and the nuances, the differences. It's eight minutes less, you get to the bonus quicker after five fouls, the ball has 12 panels instead of 8, and the way the game's administered is different.

And so we have to make sure we don't prepare for this competition like a U.S. team, we prepare for this competition like an international team.

MORGAN: What did you say to that team after they lost to Greece? Because --

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes.

MORGAN: I'm imagining that the only reason they could have lost was primarily complacency in some form.

KRZYZEWSKI: No, it wasn't. It was youth. They were an older team, the game was physical. I thought we were ready to play, I though they were -- for one quarter, they hit, like, 75 percent of their shots and we could not defend the pick and roll. And that's all it takes is just -- that's all it took, and we tried to come back, but we couldn't. After the game, we took collective responsibility, and that's really why we've won as much since. We're -- we win and we lose together, and Carmelo Anthony was actually interviewed after the game -- after the game in the press conference, and I knew we had a chance to be really good when Carmelo said, "Look, congratulations to them, it was our fault."

And as soon as our team started embracing plural pronouns, I knew we had a chance to build a good -- really good program.

MORGAN: Because he showed a bit of unity.

KRZYZEWSKI: Definitely. In other words, that's part of the team, you know?

MORGAN: Because that's hard, being an international coach, isn't it? You have all these disparate great players, and you've got the greatest squad imaginable, arguably, right now, one of the greatest squads in the history of basketball --

KRZYZEWSKI: In the history of the game, yes.

MORGAN: No question. I mean, Kobe I would guess, and LeBron would be in the top five basketball players in history.

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: So, you're in a great position. I'm interested in about how you deal with ego. When these guys are top dogs in their teams, absolutely peerless.

You know, I've seen LeBron for the Heat. He's unbelievable. I've seen Kobe at the Lakers, the same there. They are number one.

How do you deal with them coming together? How do you get it to gel and to work where they have to share that status?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, the very first thing is you're honest with them. You set standards of how you're going to live with one another. You look each other in the eye. You always tell each other the truth.

I don't believe in the -- the expression leave your egos at the door. I want them to bring their egos in and just that when we leave that room, we go out with a collective ego, which says United States basketball.

And these guys have -- it's not -- buying into it means I've had to sell them on it. They haven't been that way. They understand.

All these guys are really smart. They want to play for the United States. And the bottom line is they want to win.

And they know that in order to win, they have to get along and they have to help make each other better. And I think they like that.

MORGAN: I never understand why ego is used as a stick to beat the horse. The greatest sportsman in history, Mohammed Ali, was --

KRZYZEWSKI: Pretty big ego.

MORGAN: -- greatest egotist of all time. And he's revered as one of the --

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: -- great icons of my lifetime. Why is ego now seen as a stick to beat people with?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I don't know. I want to coach egotistical guys --

MORGAN: Yes.

KRZYZEWSKI: -- who think they're good and they have the talent to back up their ego.

MORGAN: The best broadcasters I know, I can -- I won't name them, because it might embarrass them if I name them, but the best broadcasters, interviewers, and so on, have all got whopping big egos. It's what makes them good.

But it also, I think, coming with an ego, comes a little bit of insecurity that makes them like that, a little bit of paranoia, and a desire to be number one. It's all part of the same thing, isn't it?

KRZYZEWSKI: It is. But the more powerful the egos you have, the more powerful a team that you can have, but where you want to explode on someone else. If you don't get them all going together, then you explode your own unit.

And I guess that's why people always talk about ego, because they're -- we've got a chance to beat ourselves, and that's something -- Really before we beat any opponent, our U.S. team has to make sure that we don't beat us. And in the seven years I've been doing it, the guys have cooperated fully and I'm hoping that we get that same cooperation in London, and I expect it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Coming up, Coach K on the sex abuse scandal that clouded the legacy of his friend, football Penn State coach, Joe Paterno.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Coach K, of the American Olympic basketball team. Talk about America, what it means to you. You're the son of Polish immigrants.

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: So, clearly it's been a great country for you and your family. Tell me about that.

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I'm -- I still believe in an American dream. I've lived an American dream. When my grandparents came from Krakow, my parents eventually migrated to Chicago, and all of a sudden, you know, I'm a cadet at West Point getting ready to become and officer for the United States Army.

And since then, have a chance to represent my country with basketball. I mean, I love our country, and I think sports is an integral part of the spirit of our country.

MORGAN: Is the American dream still as attainable as it was when you were young?

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, I don't think it is. I think there's -- I think we have to do more to help people in the low socioeconomic areas of our country and today's immigrants have an opportunity to succeed in this culture. And if we don't do a good job of that, especially with education, the gap is going to keep growing.

And I see it primarily in education, because the educational opportunities afforded to those people are not as -- not nearly as good as, you know, the wealthy.

MORGAN: And the tragedy of that is there's so much untapped talent.

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: Not least of which in sports. I mean, a lot of these kids who are drifting into gangs and jail or whatever it may be could be potentially fantastic sportsmen. But if they are driven out of an education system that doesn't nurture them --

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know --

MORGAN: -- then how can we blame them?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, it -- intellect does not know race, color, nationality, gender. There are smart people, like -- I think I'm fairly smart. I grew up in this little Polish community in Chicago.

If my parents didn't have the stick-to-itiveness to make sure I got an education young, there's no way that this would happen. And we have to do that with kids at younger ages, or else they take their intellect into other areas. And that's how we -- I think education, solving educational problems, helps solve some of our crime problems.

MORGAN: You've become in many ways a kind of surrogate parent --

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes.

MORGAN: -- to these kids. What are the values that you like to instill in them, human values? KRZYZEWSKI: Well, the main thing is to be truthful, where you're honest with one another. And when you're honest -- if you can develop trust, to me, that's the -- the key ingredient in any relationship. If you trust, then a lot of things can happen.

And respect for -- have ownership, where you're not playing for me, we're playing together. That type of thing. And I try to instill those values in my team, not just my Duke team, but our national team.

MORGAN: What about their personal morality, their behavioral pattern? Do you get involved in that? Do you --

KRZYZEWSKI: Not as much with that, although if we see a kid straying, we'll talk to them -- well, first of all, we'll talk to them about academic integrity, you know? Then we'll talk about -- to them about respect. I always say I'm coaching a men's team, respect for women.

And then, we'll talk to them about respect for authority within our -- in our -- university community, and make sure that they understand that a Duke basketball player understands those concepts and lives by those concepts.

MORGAN: Probably the only person that could rival you in reputation for college sport is Joe Paterno, and his career came to this awful, tragic end.

How did you feel about that, as someone that knew him well, worked in a parallel world to him for a long time? It was a very sad thing, though, wasn't it?

KRZYZEWSKI: No, it was horrible, and I've respected Coach Paterno my entire life and had a chance to get to know him really well in the last year of his life. We did a show together and I thought it was really not well done in handling the situation that -- it's a difficult situation to encounter.

But you had somebody who's given six decades of service to the university and done such an incredible job. Somehow, you have to let -- something has to play out and respect the fact that you've gone through all these experiences for six decades. It doesn't just go out the window right at the end.

I thought it was a real mistake by Penn State's leadership.

MORGAN: If such a similar set of circumstances had happened at Duke, you had Sandusky-like figure -- and innocent until proven guilty --

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: On the assumption that a lot of what we're hearing has some merit to it, how do you deal with that? What should Joe Paterno perhaps have done that he didn't?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you should deal with it like -- like any team should deal with it. In other words, I'm on the Duke team. If that happened in my area, then I would look to work with my athletic director and my president to have a solution.

And if that solution meant that I would step down, I would do it in a way which would be part of the solution, not -- not like you're just thrown out. And you have to understand that. In leadership, you may be asked to step down, and that's part of being a leader.

MORGAN: Finally, I can't think of a better person to ask. You've seen so many players come and go, worked with the greatest basketball players -- greatest sportsmen, in many cases -- America's ever seen. What does it take to be a champion in sports, and not just a winner, or a good sportsman, or even necessarily a great sportsman, but a champion over a long period of time?

KRZYZEWSKI: Well, incredible commitment. You have to have talent. And you can't -- you can't have a rearview mirror. You can't live in the past.

And you can't be someone who rationalizes that since you've done it before, at that moment of training or that moment of competition where it would be all right to lose. You have to be a real next-play person, with -- to take the experiences you've had in winning with you, none of the rationalization.

And -- but when you do, it's an incredible feeling. And then you separate yourself from those who would not do that, and that's part of sport.

MORGAN: You -- you could be only the second, I believe, American basketball coach to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes.

MORGAN: What would that mean to you personally?

KRZYZEWSKI: I'll decide on that after it's over. I -- I'm not -- I'm really a next play type of guy. Like, I'm only focused on this thing, and if we do it, then we'll look back at some time in my life and say, boy, that was a really cool thing to do.

But that can't be the motivator. In other words, I'm going to take a group, and we're going to try to be one, and we're going to try to win the London Olympics, OK? Why would they all be concerned about my second gold medal?

I don't want -- they shouldn't play for that. They should play for their gold medal right now. And I think part of being a coach is being on the page of the competitor you have the privilege of coaching, not them being on your page as far as accomplishment.

MORGAN: Put me in the dressing room just before the first game.

KRZYZEWSKI: First game.

MORGAN: In London. Looking around at Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, whoever --

KRZYZEWSKI: Right.

MORGAN: -- you choose as your starters. What do you say to guys like that at that moment?

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, well, you keep it simple. You never have long talks. But you talk about playing for the United -- you talk about the things that kind of get your heart moving a little bit -- and the fact of legacy. Like, they will want to look back at this and to understand that they played great in every ball game.

And it's not the NBA, where you're going to have a second chance. In other words, if you lose, that's it. They're all seventh games in a series, like in the NBA, it's the final game. But to keep it simple.

And by that time, we should have great camaraderie. And make sure it's fun. They want to have fun when they're doing this.

MORGAN: Do you think those guys in that moment understand that playing for their country beats anything else?

KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, they do. And we will take the steps necessary to put them in situations leading up to that where they feel it.

See, I think you can talk about things and you can see things. But you won't do real well unless you feel it.

And we need to put them in a number of situations prior to that so that when that moment comes, they have already felt that in their hearts. And we did that in Beijing, we did it in Istanbul for the world championships.

And more than anything, more than any offense or defense that I might try to have them do, that one thing of them being able to feel it will -- that's the most important thing for me in coaching our team.

MORGAN: Well, I feel it, and I'm not even an American. Coach K, very inspiring.

KRZYZEWSKI: All right, thank you.

MORGAN: Nice to meet you.

KRZYZEWSKI: All right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Next, the swimmer well on her way to becoming the most decorated female Olympian of all time. Natalie Coughlin talks about her life and her road to London.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: My next guest is already an Olympic legend and with good reason. Swimming champ Natalie Coughlin has won 11 medals. And later this month, she'll complete in the U.S. Olympic team trials in Omaha, her last stop before London. Natalie is a veteran of the game and a star who makes every American proud.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Natalie, you have won a ridiculous number of medals.

COUGHLIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Do you even know how many you won?

COUGHLIN: Eleven. Three, four and four.

MORGAN: In total, in your career and everything?

COUGHLIN: No, world championship, I know I have in the teens, but I'm not sure where.

MORGAN: You're on the verge, if you are successful in London, of being the greatest female swimmer in American history. Statistically.

COUGHLIN: It's --

MORGAN: How do you feel about that? It's quite a thing.

COUGHLIN: It's pretty amazing. It keeps getting brought up that if I win I could be the most decorated female athlete. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing to think about.

MORGAN: Is it just swimmer or athlete in total?

COUGHLIN: Female athlete, American.

MORGAN: America's ever produced.

COUGHLIN: Yes, yes. So it's -- there's a little bit of pressure but more than anything I'm just amazed I'm in this position, you know, aft two Olympic games. And going into my third, there's -- that's going to be in the back of my mind. But I'm really just going to focus on event per event. That's how I approached in my past and that's how I needed to focus --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Are you the female Michael Phelps or is he the male Natalie Coughlin?

COUGHLIN: Oh, that's a really nice way to say that. But I like that. Yes, in some ways I am the female Michael. But, you know, it's apples and oranges. I'm incredibly proud of what I've done.

What Michael's done is insane. You know, 14 gold medals. I think 16 medals total. I've been there for a lot of that -- for all of that actually. I've been, you know, his teammate for all of that. I don't think I fully understand the gravity of what he's done because I've been there.

MORGAN: He seems very laid back. But I don't -- I interviewed him and he seems even laid than that. But underneath all this cool exterior --

COUGHLIN: He's not that laid back.

MORGAN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I mean, there must be a ruthless Rottweiler world away. Because when he stands there to dive in, he must want to kill everyone, right?

COUGHLIN: Yes.

MORGAN: Isn't that what this is all about?

COUGHLIN: We are competitive by nature. I know you're competitive too. That's just how we are. That's how we get to be where we are. We might be laid back in an interview, but when it comes to what we do best, we're fierce competitors.

MORGAN: When you're standing there, Olympic final, and you've got a chance at winning a gold, as you will be, what is going through your mind in those last few seconds?

COUGHLIN: Before the race or during the race?

MORGAN: Just before it starts.

COUGHLIN: Just before the race starts, I'm just trying to repeat over and over in my head my race plan. My coach and I -- and fortunately my coach is going to be the head coach of the women's team. We come up with a plan. And so we know what to expect, at least a little bit. I just repeat that over and over like a mantra.

MORGAN: Are you nervous?

COUGHLIN: I'm incredibly nervous. There's nothing more nerve- racking than walking on to the pool deck at the Olympic finals.

MORGAN: What's the biggest nightmare? That you just fall over or something? I have weird nightmares. I wake up in the middle of the night, all my teeth have fallen out and I'm naked on air, that sort of thing, sort of television broadcast nightmare. What is the swimmer's nightmare?

COUGHLIN: The swimmer's nightmare is not getting your suit on. Those suits are incredibly difficult to put on. You have to show up to the ready room 20 minutes beforehand, and have all your equipment. I think just being locked in some random bathroom, not knowing -- not getting a suit on in time and missing the race. That's probably the biggest fear.

MORGAN: What does it take to you to be an American competing in the Olympic games, which is watched by the whole world?

COUGHLIN: It's pretty incredible. The honor of being an Olympic athlete is -- is crazy. It's not just about me. It's not just about the USA Swimming Team or even Team USA. There's so many people back home cheering for you. All of a sudden, all these people care about the personalities as well as the performances.

You know, I remember watching the Olympic games, 1998, when Janet Evans won her gold medals and Matt Biondi won his. And me saying back then as a six-year-old that I want to go to the Olympics some day, not even knowing what that means but knowing that's your goal when you're in an Olympic sport.

MORGAN: That moment when you're standing there as an Olympic champion, describe it for people who can only ever dream of it.

COUGHLIN: It's insane. The first time I was up there, it was in Athens. So the audience was very intimate. It was about 6,000 people. So I was able to pick out my family, my now husband, my grandparents, friends in the crowd. It's just overwhelming that you had dreamt of being there for so long. And then in Beijing, it was strange because I'm not the most emotional person. And I was up there, and I looked to the left of me and one of my teammates, she shed a tear. And then I started crying.

And then I started crying because I was crying. And then by the end of the victory lap, I was just hysterical, like snot coming down my face, eyes red, red face. And I see those pictures and I'm incredibly embarrassed. But it was --

MORGAN: What was going through your mind though? Why were you so emotional?

COUGHLIN: It's an emotional event. It's hard to say. I was proud of myself. I was happy that that race was over to be honest.

MORGAN: Physically exhausted.

COUGHLIN: Physically, mentally, emotionally draining.

MORGAN: You mean you literally -- people talk in the cliche way about giving it everything you've got.

COUGHLIN: Yeah.

MORGAN: But you must literally give everything you've got. Sort of like floating mass by the end.

COUGHLIN: You do. Hundred backstroke, you're diving towards a cement wall backwards blind. At that point, you don't care if you break your hand because you want to get to the wall first. You literally do give your all. It's overwhelming. There's no way to describe the Olympic games other than overwhelming. MORGAN: You also took 18 months out of the sport and you went on "Dancing With the Stars." captivated everyone doing that, pretty much a golden girl now. People are curious, why -- having had a bad injury, having got out of the sport, achieved what many people would see as just so much really, what has sucked you back in? Why continue?

COUGHLIN: I love the day to day. I love being an athlete. I know how fortunate I am to be calling myself a professional athlete. You know, I'm late 20s. I will still be late 20s by the end of the London games fortunately.

MORGAN: You're ridiculously young and yet by Olympic standards --

COUGHLIN: Olympic standards, I'm old.

MORGAN: Yes. Does that feel weird, by the way? Being in your late 20s and being called old?

COUGHLIN: It does. But we joke about it. But then, you know, when we meet other people, I realize I'm not that old. But in swimming terms, I am. Most of my friends have real jobs. And they're in cubicles. And they're tucked away at a desk. And I get to be outside in the fresh air. I get to travel the world. I get to focus on my body. I love training. That's why I did it another four years.

MORGAN: It's been a pleasure. Best of luck.

COUGHLIN: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Next, the star who is making a different kind of splash. Actor and comedian James Corden, a fellow Brit who's taking Broadway by storm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES CORDEN, COMEDIAN: With two jobs, I can do it as long as I don't get confused. I do get confused easily. But I don't get confused that easily. Yes, I do. I'm my own worst enemy. Stop being negative. I'm not being negative. I'm being realistic.

I'll screw it up. I always do. Who screws it up? You. You're the -- me? You're nothing without me. Don't you call me a cocker, you cocker.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: British actor and comedian James Corden in "One Man, Two Girls." It's a show-stopping performance that's thrilling audiences and critics. And in a huge surprise, not least to him I suspect, he won the Tony for best actor at the weekend. Today, he's had root canal surgery on his teeth. And now something for him probably even more painful, he gets to finally sit down and be in my studio. Welcome.

CORDEN: So nice to see you.

MORGAN: You and I go back a long way.

CORDEN: We do.

MORGAN: I want to take you back to just before you came out to Broadway. This show had been a huge hit in England.

CORDEN: Yeah.

MORGAN: They were taking it to New York. And you were nervous. You were really nervous. You were like this is a big deal. This could be make or break for me in America. Could you even imagined just how well this has gone?

CORDEN: No, never. I could never have even -- I mean, beyond -- beyond my wildest dreams, I didn't think that I would even be nominated. You know, in my head, I would say to friends when we came out, we will either be back in five months or back in five days, because it was just so -- it was so unclear as to whether the show was going to take off in the manner that it has and be -- and have the reaction that it needs to work as a comedy, you know.

And so it wasn't a given that it was going to work. The last play I did here, "The History Boys," we came with a similar apprehension I guess. But then the show wasn't on my shoulders then. But it really felt like if this didn't work, then -- then it felt like maybe I would never really get the chance to really come and work in America.

MORGAN: You made a very emotional speech.

CORDEN: Yeah.

MORGAN: I want to play a bit of this, because it brought a little lump to the throat of all those who know and care about you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORDEN: My girlfriend Julia gave birth to our son like five days before we started rehearsals. And she's my -- she's my baby mama and I can't wait to marry her. And seriously, she -- I would not be holding this if it wasn't for her. She made me say us instead of I. And we instead of me. And I love her. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: See, I know what that meant to you. I knew what you were getting at, that speech. Because your life's been a roller coaster. You had this huge hit in Britain. It made you for a while the biggest comedy star on British television, huge audiences, eight, nine, 10 million people. Then you sort of peaked. It looked like the bubble was burst. I remember talking to you in that period. And you were pretty down and low about that time. CORDEN: Yeah.

MORGAN: Tell me about both those, the high and the low.

CORDEN: Well, the easiest way to explain it is when "The History Boys" opened in New York and it was such a huge hit and there was eight young boys all of a similar age, there were loads other -- all the other boys were coming in every day with endless film scripts, scripts and TV shows and offers and meetings about Spielberg and all these things. I would get like one page of a script and it would be the guy who drops off the TV to Hugh Grant in a film. Like honestly, that was the -- that's a genuine script, not even an offer.

I had to go in and audition with 20 other guys to be the guy that goes "TV for Dave." You know, and that was it. And so then that was the reason for sitting down and writing "Gavin and Stacy" with Ruth Jones, who is a wonderful actress and writer. We sat down and we wrote the show. And completely out of the blue, it became like the biggest comedy show in the country.

And with that came like a level of interest and kind of celebrity I guess with me. If you're the guy -- if you're the lad who was supposed to be the guy who drops off the TV to Hugh Grant and suddenly far more attractive women than should ever, ever have any interest in you start to want to hang out with you, and suddenly you're that guy every time you go out, it's really intoxicating and incredibly easy to get swept up in that.

And I really did -- I mean, went for it. I just got a bit lost really. I was single for the first time in my life. I had been in a very long relationship. And I was suddenly single and a little bit famous. And that's a bad mix, you know.

MORGAN: The reason I want to talk about this is it puts into context the emotions you must have been feeling when you won the Tony for best actor. You're sitting there with some of the greatest actors ever. Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

CORDEN: Who is my favorite actor in the world. The only thing I told myself, I just knew I had to mention these other four actors who were, you know, some of the best actors alive. Frank Langella and John Lithgow and James Earl Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Just to be on that list was absolutely enough for me.

MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and talk to you about the fact that you are, despite all I've just been saying, half the man you used to be. You know where I'm going here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it prefer eating or making love?

CORDEN: It's a tough one that, isn't it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's the current king of Broadway, James Corden, in his Tony winning role in "One Man, Two Girls." I'm back with James now. You know why I've chosen that clip. It's because a, it's very funny. But b, because you are half the man, as I said, you used to be. You've lost a dramatic amount of weight.

CORDEN: I've been trying to for quite a long time. And yeah, it was -- you know, kind of going back to what we were saying before, of just trying to live your life with a bit more respect for myself really. And so -- it's not been -- there's no great secret. I just -- I basically worked out that bread is trying to ruin me. It's bread's mission to try and kill me. It's like Kryptonite.

Hundred percent, bread is trying to ruin me from the inside out. I just thought, you know what, what if I get to your age, then I'm finished.

MORGAN: Easy, tiger. You did say in your award-winning speech that you were going to get married.

CORDEN: We are. I proposed on Christmas day. We went for a walk. My girlfriend knew something was up because I've never once said can we go for a walk ever? In fact, she said can we go for a walk and I said really? And I said come on, let's get up and have a walk. And yeah -- and I proposed and it was lovely. She's far too attractive for me.

(CROSS TALK)

CORDEN: That's why I made the sensible choice of getting her pregnant and then proposing.

MORGAN: Yes.

CORDEN: Because she's now -- I mean that's the only tip I can pass on to anyone who's trying to pin down a woman who's way out of their league, is get them pregnant and then propose. Because it's so difficult for them to say no after that.

MORGAN: How does she feel about the other person in the relationship? I think you know where I'm going.

CORDEN: I do, yes.

MORGAN: Let's have a look at the picture. Shall we? That is you in a bathtub with David Beckham.

CORDEN: You don't know whether to shake his hand or lick his face. He's that attractive.

MORGAN: In the picture we're looking at.

CORDEN: My foot is literally there is literally two inches away from golden balls. He's an absolute gent. That was a sketch that I did a home for Comic Relief, which is a huge charity fund raiser at home. He brilliantly -- he was up for it. And he did it. And then we've just got on ever since. And he gets on with a lot of my friends who made those videos as well. He's -- I think he is the most lovely man.

He sent me the most beautiful text the other day where he just said -- he said, I know how hard you've been working and this is absolutely deserved. I think he's just a gentleman. He's an absolutely gent.

MORGAN: He is. Britain is very lucky to have David Beckham. He's been a great ambassador for our country.

CORDEN: He's terrific.

MORGAN: The reviews for your show have been fantastic. I love this one, "the L.A. Times," "part of the secret of Corden's comic gift is he combines innocence so naturally with mischief. Although he's 33, his face is that of an adolescent boy who's just discovered beer, Internet porn and some new flavor potato chip."

CORDEN: Hang on, there's porn on the Internet? What? I mean, it's lovely. The things that have been written about, you know, me recently and the play, you have to understand. I mean you understand more than anyone, like I come from High Wickham (ph), which is the grayest suburb outside of London. And to even be sat here now talking you to before I'm about to go and play this lead on Broadway, let alone winning the awards and having these reviews, it's -- it's so far behind anything you can imagine.

You only ever really dream about these things. You never think that they would come true. You know, it's too much to take. And all I'm so wary of is believing it and starting to think I'm perhaps a bit more of a dude than I really am.

No one's been more supportive of I, especially in those bad times and those rough times that you. I always think that people -- I always think you never really like it if someone says that you're a good bloke. You know what I mean? You start to get uncomfortable about it.

MORGAN: I've seen you say it on Twitter. And they all go completely bonkers when you say that.

CORDEN: People just go mad, yeah. But you love that. You absolutely love it. You've tried to get me involved in a Twitter war. And I just kill you with kindness. It's the best way.

MORGAN: It's awful.

CORDEN: People should know that there's nothing -- there's no better way to get to you than go, you know Piers, you're just great. You just go, give me conflicts.

MORGAN: That is tragically probably true. But the reality actually is when you look at the totality of our relationships, it has had highs and lows. The reason that I was so moved by what happened to you on Sunday was I knew what you had been through to get to that special moment. I know the downside. I knew how it got to you, and how you realized the kind of guy you had become wasn't who you wanted to be.

I was very proud of you. So congratulations. You flew the flag for Britain. You are the beast of Broadway. Long may you continue. Come back soon.

CORDEN: I can't wait.

MORGAN: James Corden, the king of Broadway. Who would have thought that? No one.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEO MCCARTHY, CNN HERO: October 27, 2007 was a beautiful autumn day. Mariah, she was with her two friends. I didn't know the last time I had kissed her would have been my last time.

Later that night, people were walking down this path when an underage drunk driver swerved off the road and hit them. Mariah landed here. She died that night. We're only a block away from my house.

Mariah was only 14. And I'm thinking how did this happen? It is so preventable.

My name is Leo McCarthy. I give kids tools to stay away from drinking. Our state has been notoriously top five in drinking and driving fatalities in the country. The drinking culture, it's a cyclical disease that we allow to condition.

Mariah's challenge is be the first generation of new kids to not drink.

In the eulogy, I said if you stick with me for four years, don't use alcohol, don't use illicit drugs, I'll be there with a bunch of other people to give you money to go to a post secondary school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to drink until I am 21.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to get into a car with someone who has been drinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise to give back to my community.

MCCARTHY: I think Mariah's Challenge is something that makes people think a little bit more to say we can be better.

Mariah's forever 14. I can't get her back. But I can help other parents keep their kids safe. If we save one child, we save a generation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)