Let me just let you know right now that there is not yet video online that I could find of this incident. I looked on just about every online video sharing service I could find. Some douche even put the keywords Branson and Colbert together on YouTube, but it’s not this video. Anyway maybe Branson just didn’t get Colbert’s truthiness, or maybe he’s just a dick, but Colbert didn’t let him plug one of his new low-cost airline services in an appearance on his show and Branson got pissed and threw water on him. Colbert asked for some water, sat there and waited, and when someone delivered it he reciprocated by dousing Branson.
I guess Branson even named a plane after Colbert, so that could be one of the reasons he took it so personally. Please let there be video of this soon:
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.
And the original commentor who was in the audience clarified what happened, and this is said to be confirmed by other sources:
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.
[From No Fact Zone]
The Daily Mail, where I originally heard this news, says that the episode was going to be retaped, which kind of made me lose hope of ever seeing it. But it turns out that Comedy Central is going to air it after all, and that they know ratings gold when they see it. It’s going to air Wednesday, August 22.
Branson’s people have changed their tune about the incident. In the statement they gave to The Daily Mail they seemed to indicate that Branson was pissed. His rep said, “Richard did throw his water over Stephen. As most people know, Richard can be unpredictable.” But in their statement to MediaBistro they turned it into something comical, which it doesn’t sound like it was, “The segment was never intended to air live. Richard enjoyed his time with Stephen, and the splash was part of the fun.”
Richard Branson is worth $7.8 billion USD, according to Wikipedia. He owns all the Virgin airlines, Megastores, and the Virgin record label. I saw him on that short-lived Fox reality show that was supposed to compete with The Apprentice, The Rebel Billionaire, in 2004 and I honestly thought he was a decent guy. He came off as 90% less of a dick than Trump does on an average episode.