Neil deGrasse Tyson claims Steven Spielberg told him E.T. is actually a plant

On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Thursday, Cobert couldn’t believe what he was hearing when astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson dropped some little-known knowledge on him: E.T. is not an animal, but is actually a sentient plant, much like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

“Oh, by the way,” deGrasse Tyson said, “did you know E.T. was a sentient plant, not an animal?” “E.T.’s a plant?” Colbert responded. “Turn on your heart light. He’s got a heart.” “Well, okay,” deGrasse Tyson replied, “so they gave it a heart just so you can relate to it. But it was a plant.”

Though Colbert pushed back, deGrasse Tyson claimed to have heard it firsthand from the one person who would know more about E.T. than almost anyone on the planet.

“How do you know it’s a plant?” Colbert asked. “Do you remember E.T would touch the plants and they would grow back?” deGrasse Tyson responded. “That’s not an accident.” Asked how he knows, deGrasse Tyson replied, “Steven Spielberg told me in my office.”

Video transcript

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NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Oh, by the way, did you know ET was a sentient plant, not an animal.

STEPHEN COLBERT: ET's a plant?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Yes.

STEPHEN COLBERT: (SINGING) Turn on your heart light. (SPEAKING) He's got a heart.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Well, OK. So they gave it a heart just so you can relate to it. But it was a plant.

KYLIE MAR: Neil deGrasse Tyson joined "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday, where he dropped some little known knowledge on Colbert. That much like Groot, and, of course, Baby Groot from "Guardians of the Galaxy," ET is not an animal, but a non-gendered sentient plant. And he was given this information by a fairly reliable source.

STEPHEN COLBERT: How do you know it's a plant?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Do you remember ET would touch the plants, and they would grow back?

STEPHEN COLBERT: Yeah, yeah.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: That's not an accident. It's a plant.

STEPHEN COLBERT: How do you know this?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: Steven Spielberg told me in my office.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Really? Is that true? Is that true?

KYLIE MAR: Viewers clearly didn't know what to think. One person even accused deGrasse Tyson of destroying their childhood. What sparked the conversation about ET was a long and animated rant by deGrasse Tyson about the possibility of aliens who are, in fact, sentient plants, leaving Colbert with just one question.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: It's another way to look at how you have formulated what it is you think and do. And who you're going to argue with, especially at Thanksgiving.

STEPHEN COLBERT: To come up-- to come up with that idea of the sentient plants. Did you smoke any baby plants?

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: No. [LAUGHS]

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