Uber CEO Hears It From a Protester at ‘Late Show’ Taping

“How many people here have used Uber so far?”

“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert’s question to the audience drew cheers and applause. His guest, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick, said he got to the taping by pressing a button and getting a ride. Mr. Kalanick said he isn’t just a CEO, but a driver with a perfect rating.

It was all good fun—until the heckling.

A clip of the interview Thursday posted by “The Late Show” to YouTube doesn’t include the reported moment when a protester shouted from the audience about Uber’s impact on cab drivers.

According to the account of a BuzzFeed News employee, Mr. Colbert handled the outburst in stride.

In the clip posted on YouTube, Mr. Colbert does press Mr. Kalanick about his company’s disruption of the livery industry, and the controversial “surge pricing” – the sometimes doubling or tripling of fees during peak demand.

Mr. Kalanick stuck to the talking points: Uber offers better pay and hours to drivers, and it turns off surge pricing during emergencies. He had a harder time explaining the logistics of UberEats, the company’s new food-delivery service. Mr. Colbert was feigned confusion — is there a tuna sandwich in the glove compartment?

Uber can’t be that good for drivers if it plans to replace them with driverless cars, Mr. Colbert pushed. Uber is aggressively pursuing self-driving technology. Mr. Kalanick said that as a tech company, Uber needed to be part of the future rather than propping up the past. Google Inc., Tesla Motors Inc. and Apple Inc. are all pursuing self-driving cars, he said.

Google recently started testing driverless cars in Austin. Apple, meanwhile, has been hiring auto-industry veterans.

Mr. Kalanick was the second tech CEO to appear on “The Late Show” during Mr. Colbert’s inaugural week. A day before, the comedian surmised that Tesla chief Elon Musk must be a supervillain.

The interview with Mr. Kalanick was part of a show that included an emotional appearance by Vice President Joe Biden, who shared his grief over losing his son Beau to cancer.