Elon Musk Appears On Late Show With Stephen Colbert – Video

SEP 11 2015 BY JAY COLE 30

Elon Musk was a guest on just the second episode of the re-booted Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday.

Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk On Late Show With Stephen Colbert 9/9/2015 (via CBS)

Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk On Late Show With Stephen Colbert 9/9/2015 (CBS)

And as always, the Tesla CEO had just enough quirkiness to make him both intriguing and endearing to the variety show audience.

UPDATE: Original Youtube video (and subsequent full interview) has been pulled by CBS, and replaced by condensed “official” video above – not all below topics are now viewable.

UPDATE 2: Entire interview added – below story (but in lesser quality, video of video style to allow usage)

Topics included the usual fair, as well as some not-so-usual fair:

* – Tesla electric cars
* – Tony Stark of Iron Man fame comparisions
* – freaky Tesla robot arm charger prototype
* – whether or not he was a superhero or supervillan
* – using nuclear weapons on Mars to terraform it
* – recent landing failure of Falcon rocket (w/clip)

Awkward moment of the interview?  Check out Mr. Musk’s quick (and annoyed) reaction to being referred to as one of the “CEOs” of SpaceX.    Update: not surprisingly this did not make CBS’ official cut of the interview


Categories: Tesla


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30 Comments on "Elon Musk Appears On Late Show With Stephen Colbert – Video"

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jim stack

It was very boring. Colbert interrupts all of his guest most of the time. The highlight was when Colbert said he owns and drives a Tesla but then they never talked about it or the new model X or the new model 3.


Indeed, it was a complete waste of time for those who follow Tesla news closely. Not at all informative, and the only entertaining moment was when they were discussing the “solid metal snake” charging device, and Musk said (as best I can remember) ~”For the prototype at least, don’t drop anything when you’re near it.”~

No news at all; quite disappointing.


It’s a comedy show. Not a news show.

Roy LeMeur

I am a big Colbert fan. But I have to say Mr. Colbert is a bit overeager and overbearing so far. I think he is just trying too hard.

What is really amusing is this… copied from elsewhere I posted it. Tell me that I’m wrong on this folks. Thanks!
You would think an organization like NBC news would get someone who knows something about science to be a science writer. But no. This clueless writer apparently doesn’t know a joke when he hears it (and I’m sure he won’t be the only one). Last night on Colbert’s show, Elon Musk was asked about how he might go about terraforming Mars. He offered to say the fast way and the slow way, but was cut off before getting to the slow way. The fast way (which was the joke) has some writers with their panties in a bunch because Elon suggested lighting off some nukes at the poles to increase the surface temperature. Ha Ha. Funny joke. It must be Elon’s deadpan delivery that has fooled them and obviously not any comprehension of the science involved. Jeezz Louise!



In the long version of the interview he wasn’t cut off. Also I don’t think it was a joke in a sense that he thinks it wouldn’t work. It is more a funny anecdote in the meaning off “it might work, but it is not what I would suggest”.


“Tell me that I’m wrong on this folks.”

Okay: You’re wrong. Musk was perfectly serious, and the analysis you linked to appears grounded in perfectly good science.

I know it’s hard to tell when Musk is joking, because he… well, it’s not so much that he has a deadpan delivery as that he’s always smiling, so how can you tell when he’s joking? But in this case, he certainly wasn’t.

Musk’s plans for Mars may seem outlandish to many or even most, but they are based on very real science and engineering, and he’s perfectly serious about the plan to colonize Mars. Personally I think we need to wait until we have better spaceflight tech. But it’s good that people — not just Musk — are pushing the idea now, so hopefully when the proper tech is available, people will no longer view the idea as outlandish.


Addendum: Roy LeMeur said:

“But I have to say Mr. Colbert is a bit overeager and overbearing so far. I think he is just trying too hard.”

I entirely agree. He needs to follow the lead of Johnny Carson: quit trying to hog the spotlight when interviewing guests, and help them shine rather than trying to play one-upmanship.


The “Johnny Carson” format is old hat. That’s why all the new hosts are more dynamic and have more personality. Times change and shows must change w/them.


Yeah, CBS should have given the job to Craig Ferguson.


Yes, as our culture becomes more narcissistic, so must our talk-show hosts. sigh….


kdawg said:

“The ‘Johnny Carson’ format is old hat. That’s why all the new hosts are more dynamic and have more personality.”

If sneering at your guests and trying to belittle and embarrass them, like David Letterman, is what you mean by being “dynamic and have more personality”, then by all means let’s bring back the “old hat” format.

All the late night talk show hosts agree that Carson was King, and did it better than anyone else. Too bad they’re not trying harder to imitate him.


I noticed that on Wednesday. Last night, particularly with Biden, he was considerably better. On his old show, the “over-bearing” aspect was part of his character; he was supposed to be a jerk – that was part of the joke. For the new show, he needs to sit back a bit more – and fast, or people will switch over to Kimmel or Fallon. Otherwise, his show has promise.


Yeah, it’s much too soon to dismiss Colbert as no better than a Letterman wannabe. Even Johnny Carson fumbled around for awhile before he found the right format for interviewing. Hopefully Colbert will learn that interrupting the guest is something that should be done infrequently, and only when necessary to keep the conversation moving.

Chris B

Over eager is Jimmy Fallon. I mean wow, the forced/fake laughter and EVERY SINGLE THING a guest says or does on his show is truly impressive. He is everyone’s biggest fan (regardless of who they are), etc. It has gotten old surprisingly quickly.


I think it’s sort a moot point since you are not terraform Mars slow or fast. Any way would not nuking the poles actually cool Mars? I mean there is always talk of nuclear winter.


Not to mention irradiating the surface. Can you imagine that? “Mars is warming up!” “Yeah, but the radiation levels are deadly.” “Oh, darn.” “Oh look, and now nuclear winter is setting in so it’s getting cold again.” “What the $%#@?!”


The nukes would melt the ice (a lot) and start a greenhouse gas cycle. But I would prefer we don’t mess with radio-activity on top of the harsh conditions of Mars.
Read Waitbutwhy.com thorough articles on the subject.


ffbj said:

“I think it’s sort a moot point since you are not terraform Mars slow or fast. Any way would not nuking the poles actually cool Mars? I mean there is always talk of nuclear winter.”

A “nuclear winter” would only last a few years, until most of the (additional) dust settled out of the atmosphere. The intent, as Musk clearly said, is to increase the greenhouse effect by making Mars’ atmosphere a lot thicker. That’s a very long-term effect.

But as Scramjett said above, far better would be to hit Mars with a few sizable (but not too big) icy asteroids or comets, or a larger number of smaller ones. Add atmosphere and water (hydrosphere) at the same time. However, that would be a much more expensive project. Building a bunch of nukes to bomb and melt the poles would be far cheaper, and thus more practical from a short term cost/engineering standpoint.


It’s the Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS. Late Night is the other show Letterman started on NBC in the 12:30 eastern slot. Common mistake.


it was a dumb interview. He did not let Elon say a word. what a waste of time.




Regarding the Mars thing I would have said in the pre-show show: Don’t Go There! Literally and figuratively.


Scramjett said:

“Not to mention irradiating the surface. Can you imagine that? ‘Mars is warming up!’ ‘Yeah, but the radiation levels are deadly.'”

I’d like to point out three things:

1. We’re talking about a long-term terraforming project. Any danger from radioactive fallout would quickly dissipate over time. Adding atmosphere to Mars would last orders of magnitude longer, in years.

2. Nuclear bombs for this project would be chosen for maximum explosive/heating effect and minimum fallout. Perhaps something like a neutron bomb would be best. We can’t eliminate fallout, but proper engineering should be able to reduce the amount substantially.

3. The surface of Mars already is so uninhabitable due to radiation from space that adding a bit more isn’t gonna make much difference. Anyone living on Mars in its current condition would have to live underground, with a layer of soil used to provide radiation shielding.

If the amount of atmosphere added is substantial, then the reduction in radiation provided by the protection of the atmosphere would far, far outweigh any added danger from radioactive fallout.

Rick Danger

One other problem with Mars is that it has no magnetic field protecting it from solar radiation.
Calling Mars a “fixer-upper” was an understatement.


Thought I’d post some of the recent work done by the fine folks at SpaceX, on their “Final” Dragon v 2.0 Interior Design and hints at their own SPACE SUITS. The ship has really evolved into something quite beautiful and amazing looking, since the engineering prototype was first shown, about a year ago. There are more than some passing similarities in design, between his spaceships and his cars:



It’s a shame we didn’t get to hear anything about this stuff from the “interview” during the Late Show”. 🙁