For the most part, people either really don’t like being startled or are at least very susceptible to it. We all have the tendency to jump, even when we can see something coming from a mile away. As anyone who gets a thrill out of, say, seeing a horror movie or going to a haunted house knows, expecting a scare sometimes only makes a moment of sudden action all the more alarming, with the anticipation often being even be more nerve-racking than the scare itself.
Combine this concept of startling people with the tried and true vaudevillian tradition of throwing fruit at entertainers, and you end up with something like James Corden and the Late Late Show‘s “Flinch” game. It has a rather simple premise: Corden’s celebrity guests—in this case Ken Jeong, Jessica Alba, and Kate Mara—stand behind a piece of super-strong glass while the host launches all forms of produce from a cannon-like facsimile of his head. The fruits and vegetables are launched out of the Corden-Cannon’s mouth-hole at incredible speeds, exploding against the barrier while the famous people on the other side react, well, just like we would. The game plays off of the the tenseness of both the known and the unknown: while each celebrity knows all too well that a projectile is coming their way, Corden disarms them with simple questions so that he can catch them off-guard.
The first victim is Ken Jeong, and the host’s weapon of choice (at the other guests’ suggestion) is an apple. Corden asks the actor to name three things that scare him, and as Jeong begins his answer, the cannon fires. This is Jeong’s reaction face:
Next up is Jessica Alba, who chooses an avocado, meaning that this is probably the most frightened you’ll see someone on account of what is essentially guacamole:
Last of all is Kate Mara, and while Corden probably talks to her the longest, her flinch reaction hews closer to nervous laughter than genuine terror:
They are all no match for Corden, however, who stands behind the glass for a couple blasts and doesn’t flinch once (though admittedly, the actors aren’t as good at conversational-disarming maneuvers as he is).