The Part of Stephen Colbert’s Uber Interview You Didn’t See

Angry cab drivers reportedly interrupted the Late Show interview–twice.

The Part of Stephen Colbert’s Uber Interview You Didn’t See
[Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved]

When Uber CEO Travis Kalanick appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert Thursday night, his company’s political problems followed.


According to reports from audience members at the event, the interview was interrupted at two separate points by cab drivers who asked Kalanick to address concerns over the effect that Uber has had on their industry.

Neither of the interactions made the final cut of the show, but one audience member tweeted a synopsis of the interaction:

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.

You can watch the edited-for-television version of the Kalanick interview here:


Neither CBS nor Uber responded immediately to a request for comment.


About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.