Last night Stephen Colbert brought on Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick as a guest and things didn’t go as you saw them on TV: according to reports, cab drivers disrupted the interview at least twice, prompting Colbert to address their concerns in a segment that was ultimately cut from the final broadcast.
A woman who was evidently at the taping of the show tweeted a long timeline of events that apparently culminated in at least two cab drivers confronting Kalanick on-camera over the effect Uber has had on the taxi industry:
So, so excited to see this interview. Some insane stuff went down. I’ll talk about it if they don’t show it.
First thing got cut.
Extremely edited. Makes sense.
Two separate times during the interview with Uber guy, some cabbies in the balcony yelled stuff and interrupted the conversation.
They were criticizing Uber’s disruption of the NYC cab system, and they were very aggressive and made everyone rather uncomfortable.
I mean, I don’t blame them, their argument is valid. But I initially thought it was a bit, but the crew started looking around frantically.
Instead of having the men removed, Stephen acted with complete respect and control. He listened intently to what they had to say.
When the guy finished, Stephen said that he was planning on asking a similar question, and politely asked the man to be seated.
He then turned back to the interview and addressed exactly what the man had yelled about. It was very smooth. The whole thing was cut, tho.
Then five minutes later, another man got up and yelled something else. The Uber guy started to talk back to him, but Stephen calmly touched his arm and quieted both him and the cab driver in the balcony. He said that he would ask the man’s question “in a more respectful way.
Then he again respectfully asked the man to sit down, and he asked exactly what the man had yelled about. Very, very smooth transition.
Both encounters and all references to them were cut for the air.
The Uber man actually had some decent (prepared) answers to the questions, & Stephen was able to make it funny, but Biden deserved more air.
But - it was truly remarkable to see how Stephen handled the whole interview. He easily could have had the men removed.
But instead, he truly listened to what they had to say and directly incorporated their concerns into the interview, completely smoothly.
It was incredible to see how well Stephen handled it all. Absolute class and respect, the whole time.
And he had complete, *complete* control over the entire theatre. The audience, the band, the crew - we were all confused/a little scared, but Stephen calmed and quieted everyone. He didn’t call for security, he just dealt with the men and then continued an excellent interview.
It was a fantastic thing to watch happen. He handled it with class and earnestness & showed just how skilled he is as a performer and host.
I’m actually sort of sad none of it made the cut. They must’ve talked for at least 15 mins, & what they showed was kind of awkward & short.
But I understand why they didn’t show it all. I’m just glad I got to witness it and see in person just how phenomenal Stephen Colbert is.
The first time, the protester stood up during the taping and accused Kalanick of destroying taxi-industry jobs. Colbert let the protester speak for awhile, before saying that he had a question about that in his cue cards anyway.
Kalanick maintained that Uber pays better and offers more flexible hours than the taxi industry, an oft-repeated stance by the company.
Later, after Colbert did ask about “disruption” and potential negatives to Uber’s business model, someone started yelling again and claimed that everything Kalanick was saying was a lie.
Colbert apologized for his audience in the end, saying that there was a lot of “passion” around the issue in New York City.
Kristin Condon, a guest who was seated in the orchestra section, said that the crowd reacted with “stunned silence.”
Condon added that Colbert let the protester speak, and didn’t kick him out of the taping.
“He was angry, but he wasn’t obscene,” Condon said of the protester. “It was also interesting that Colbert was really respectful... and allowed it to be an issue rather than just silencing it.”