Brow Beat

You Don’t Deserve Paul McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke Tour of Liverpool, but It Will Cheer You Up Anyway

James Corden and Paul McCartney singing in a car.
“Number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine … ” CBS

The Late Late Show’s James Corden released a delightful special edition of “Carpool Karaoke” with Paul McCartney this week, accidentally hammering the final nail into the coffin of the just-world hypothesis in the process. It’s hard to imagine anything your prototypical white baby boomer would enjoy more than a personal tour of Paul McCartney’s childhood home followed by a raucous surprise concert at a local pub. And it’s also hard to imagine anything he or she—or any of us, really—deserves less, after another disgraceful week of child separations and open racism. But hey, sometimes good things happen to bad people:

For the most part, watching McCartney and Corden sing along to Beatles records in the car isn’t noticeably more fun or more interesting than anyone else’s Carpool Karaoke segment, although McCartney’s attempt to be polite when Corden tells him about a song he wrote as a kid is worth watching. But McCartney visiting his childhood home and banging out “When I’m Sixty-Four” on an upright piano is really special, as is the mental-image of a young Paul McCartney practicing his songs while sitting on a closed toilet to take advantage of the bathroom’s acoustics. And setting up a literal jukebox show at a local pub—an unwitting patron chooses “A Hard Day’s Night” from an all-Beatles CD jukebox, only to have Paul McCartney appear and play the song live—is inspired.* (The part where James Corden is suspiciously familiar with the lyrics to a brand-new Paul McCartney song is, well, it’s the price of admission for the other stuff.) The only fly in the ointment is the knowledge that, demographically speaking, this video will make a lot of horrible people happy. Mike Huckabee, for instance, had this to say about the band’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show:

America needed the Beatles in February of 1964. We had just gone through watching our young President murdered in one of our cities and were experiencing riots in major cities over the horrible race discrimination that was rampant. The Beatles gave us hope that there was more than chaos. 

Huckabee, such an eloquent opponent of “horrible race discrimination,” had more to say on the topic this weekend, although if his tweet was inspired by McCartney’s latest television appearance, he kept it to himself:

But although it is statistically inevitable that spreading around an interesting, fun, and moving video of a former Beatle will bring collateral happiness to some of the worst people on the planet, the direct happiness caused by Paul McCartney is worth it. Plus, the people featured in the video seem to be mostly British, which means they are unlikely to have voted for Donald Trump, and maybe they do deserve a surprise Beatles concert. Just don’t think too hard about Brexit.

Correction, June 26: This post originally misidentified the first song McCartney plays at the pub as “Help!”