SPOILER: Surprise guest on “The Colbert Report”, and interview shocker!

Wow – Rocktimus Prime just gave us one heck of a story from his attendance at The Colbert Report taping Tuesday night.


According to Rocktimus Prime, an interview with Richard Branson was taped Tuesday night to be aired on a later date. Here’s how he describes what happened.

I haven’t posted a recap anywhere else, but I’ll spill it here first. Branson was apparently upset that he wasn’t able to give a direct plug to the new Virgin service and doused Colbert with his guest mug of water. Stephen was DRENCHED. He took a beat, then signalled for his own “ammunition” for about twenty seconds until Alison (Silverman) ran and gave him her bottle of water, and Stephen retaliated. The two of them sat for a VERY uncomfortable second looking like two wet cats. Then Stephen thanked him for coming. I really don’t think it was planned, since Stephen had another bit to introduce (the American Samoa Better Know a Protectorate) and a full interview left to do. They had to get him a new jacket and even broke out a blowdryer. Everyone in the crew had a “WTF?” reaction.

Perhaps Sir Richard thought “Hair Colbert” needed christening?

Thanks for the tip, RP!

UPDATE: After some urging in the comments, Rocktimus Prime gave us a few more details:

I forget what the “trigger” was exactly. Let me back up a bit and say that for the first part of the interview Stephen tried to get Branson to sign an IOU for $1 million. Branson was trying to squirm out of signing it. He made the big mistake of trying to appeal to the audience, like “Do you think someone like him really needs a million dollars?”, which made the crowd go BERSERK. Apparently, he was unaware that you don’t try to turn the Nation against Stephen.

I didn’t catch all of what he was saying before the water throw, but it was something along the lines of how he’d been sitting there all that time and didn’t get the chance to say why he was on the show, which confused us and Stephen a little, because it was pretty clear from the top that he was hawking Air Colbert as part of Virgin’s new American service.

There were also some questions about “confirming” this… A confirming report can be found here and here, from Ian Bogost, the guest from Tuesday night’s episode.

[Edit: According to The Late night TV Page, Richard Branson is scheduled to be a guest on the show on August 22nd.]

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  1. @Ian:

    Thanks for the tip and the link love! :) Did you see we posted about you?


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  2. Ms Interpreted says:

    Oh, thanks so much for reposting your comment, Rocktimus Prime. I knew you had commented, but we couldn’t read anything, and I was very bummed.

    EDIT: Jennie just told me she was able to find the original content from her e-mail, that’s where we got the verbiage. -DB

    And, Ian, thank you for chiming in. We really do strive to be comprehensive here (when possible), and getting feedback from guests of The Report is certainly helpful in that regard. Thanks again!

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  3. @MsInterpreted:

    I love how you say that as if we get ‘Colbert Report’ guests chiming in here on a regular basis. :)

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  4. And thank you, Rocktimus Prime, that was mighty kind of you to post your comment. We’re thankful we were able to retrieve it from the rubble (and by “we” I mean Jennie, that woman is a saint, she is). It’s been a crazy day around here today, have I mentioned that yet?

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  5. Ms Interpreted says:

    Well, that’s not how I meant it to sound, DB, but I *DID* want to make clear that we WELCOME that sort of feedback. :)

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  6. ERRICO HEDAKE says:

    Ridiculous. Clearly there is video of this, and none of the true Nation believers will acept any of this nonsense until we have seen (there are no doubting thomases among the nation).

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  7. @ERROCO:

    It happened. Trust us.

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  8. AlaskaRavenclaw says:

    Yech. How totally rude.

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  9. I think Bogost has it wrong. Im thinking it was planned, or at least amiable. Perhaps something related to the rain…. i.e. Branson was there in the rain consecrating the plane while Colbert was not (turned back early due to traffic etc.)

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  10. @MC Esteban –
    I don’t think it was planned – but I don’t think it was necessarily done in anger on either side.

    As for the rain – this was taped the night before the Air Colbert inauguration and the deluge.

    Perhaps The deluge in NYC was Stephen’s way of getting back at Branson?

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  11. Fair enough. Like you, I doubt that there was any animosity, but it sure makes good buzz!

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  12. Hey, I was there the night the big splash was taped and let me tell you… It was REAL. I mean, he’s called the rebel billionaire for a reason. You guys have it pretty much correct. When Steven went in for the “thank you for coming” handshake, Branson was mad he didn’t get a chance to pluge Virgin. While frazzled at first, Steven seemed in a much better mood as he sang along to some Neutral Milk Hotel while being blow dried.

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  13. The link to the possible Nancy Pelosi sighting is broken.

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  14. Ms Interpreted says:

    Elizabeth Joan,

    Thanks. Fixed it.

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  15. Speaking of the trainwreck, you seem the sort of people who would know… what’s the source of that clip with the train crashing and the guy going “Madness!”?

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  16. @ Zeke – The Bridge On The River Kwai [1957]. James Donald is the actor saying “Madness.”

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  17. Thanks! On the one hand, I don’t have to wonder anymore. On the other hand, I’m now spoiled about the fact that the bridge on the river Kwai collapses. Dammit, Stephen!

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  18. Was it planned? My guess is yes, but only on Branson’s part. I think Branson realized that doing something so outrageous would get the clip YouTubed and blogged like crazy. He wants the publicity for his airline and he knows he can get 100 times more people to talk about it if he douses Colbert with water than if he just sits there and behaves like any other guest. This clip was on the front page of yahoo.com! It never would have been mentioned by anybody had he not done what he did. The guy is a genius self-promoter. Look again at the clip. When he tosses the water the thing I see in his motion is “premeditated”.

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  19. Wow.. they rebroadcast the show tonight and boy was that a letdown. Perhaps they edited it heavily from what the studio audience saw, but that sure seemed like an amiable, funny mini-water-fight between them. There was a bit of sparring about the million-dollar check and about whether Virgin was plugged on the show, but it was extremely good-natured. I’m scratching my head here about people who could watch that and think it was a “trainwreck” interview.

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  20. @Andrew – that was the joke – No one who saw it called it a trainwreck.

    We reported an audience member who described it, at worst, as uncomfortable… but each time another newspaper picked it up it became worse and worse. One of the papers eventually called it a trainwreck. So Colbert played it up for all it was worth.

    Yes – this is what the media do: distort things to make them more exciting to read. They do that with TV shows, with Presidential Candidates, with “evil doers” in other countries. Think about it.

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