Craig Ferguson opened The Late Late Show tonight with a close-up of a framed photo of James Corden, the British comedian and actor who’ll take over for Ferguson as The Late Late Show‘s host in 2015.

Earlier in the day, Ferguson had Tweeted congratulations to Corden.

 

And he meant it. Ferguson told viewers Monday night in his cold open that Corden was very good and very funny. “We’re out of here, buddy!” Ferguson happily exclaimed to his robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson. “Yay!” Then he placed the framed photo of Corden on the mantle of his set’s fake fireplace, tossing aside a photo of Justin Bieber and a bleeped profanity to do so.

So now Corden’s photo sits for the next three-plus months next to a framed photo of Tom Snyder, the original host of The Late Late Show when David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants began producing a post-Letterman show on CBS in 1995. Ferguson took over in January 2005, and will end his tenure hosting the program at the end of this, his 10th year.

“Here’s the thing: He’s very good and he’s from Britain!” Ferguson told viewers, in conversation with “Geoff Peterson” (voiced by Josh Robert Thompson).

“Oh, good. Someone else we won’t be able to understand,” Thompson said.

After a few jokes at Thompson’s and Britain’s expense, Ferguson joked: “This is the kind of classy material we hope James is going to continue with after Christmas. I suspect his standards will be higher than ours, though.”

Ferguson and his robot skeleton sidekick laughed loudly.

“So, what’s the deal, though? Are you going to stay?” Ferguson asked.
“Oh hell, no, man. You think I’m going to stick around here, and try to be second banana to some other late-night douche? I don’t think so,” the robot said.
“What about you, horsey? Are you staying, or are you coming with me?” Ferguson asked.
The horse shook its head no, then yes.
“So what do we do?” Ferguson wondered.
The robot’s reply: “Well, we can just hang out until the new guy shows up, and then see if he wants to, you know, keep us around.”
“Ohhhh!” Ferguson laughed. “So you’ve changed your mind? Ah, loyalty! Don’t you love show business?”

Ferguson and his sidekicks all actually are negotiating a deal with Tribune Media for a half-hour syndicated version of his existing show, looking for broadcast during the 7 p.m. hour (Eastern/Pacific) weeknights starting Fall 2016.

In which case, Ferguson’s cold-open kicker on Monday night’s show was more true than funny.