Apple CEO Tim Cook has probably never had to fend off a fondue fork aimed at his neck on live television. But he did so with a laugh Monday night while a guest of the CBS Late Show with new host Stephen Colbert.
Colbert was marveling at a new rose gold iPhone 6s when he thought to ask Cook, “Did you change the charging cable on this because if you did I will stab you in the neck with a fondue fork right now.”
Cook’s guest appearance was more of a vehicle for Colbert’s jokes than it was an opportunity to hear from one of the most important people in the tech industry and probably the world. The bit about the fondue forks was one of several quips that kept Cook in stitches but also left little time for meaningful answers to some otherwise good questions.
Cook admitted feeling naked about taking the stage without a presentation remote in his hand.
After speaking glowingly about the new features on the iPhone 6s, Cook was asked about reports that Apple is making a car.
“I’ve read you guys aren’t big on secrets,” a straight-faced Colbert said. “Come on now, the cat is out of the bag” Colbert then holds up the iPhone 6s and says, “I will video tape you.”
Cook paused, again in laughter, and said Apple is working on a number of things. But before he could elaborate, Colbert switched gears to ask him about his former boss, Steve Jobs, and how he is portrayed in books and upcoming movies. Cook said he hates how “people are trying to be opportunistic” with the Jobs story.
“I haven’t seen any of them,” Cook said. “The Steve I knew was an amazing human being, someone you wanted to do your best for and he saw things other people couldn’t . . . and had an uncanny ability to see around the corner. I miss him every day.”
Colbert praised Cook for introducing a charitable arm to Apple when he took over the company. He asked if Cook’s recent decision to come out as gay was “an upgrade or feature that had not been turned on?” Colbert then wondered whether his growing up in Alabama “an outsider because of his sexuality” informed his need to give back.
The joke may have put the otherwise private Cook at ease for maybe his most interesting answer of the night.
Cook talked about having a picture of Martin Luther King on his desk with the quote, Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?
“It became clear to me that kids were getting bullied in school, kid were basically being discriminated against . . . I needed to do something,” Cook said. “Where I valued my privacy significantly I was valuing it far above what I could do for other people, so I wanted to tell everyone my truth.”
Cook’s brief appearance, which followed actor Jake Gylllenhaal, ended when Colbert turned the questions over to Siri. He asked the iPhone’s built-in voice-commanded assistant to suggest a question.
“Do me a favor,” said Siri. “Ask him when I am going to get a raise.”
Cook dodged the question.
Below is a fan video of Cook after leaving the show.