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Watch Jeff Bezos spark laughter in 2000 interview about going to space

"I would get in a rocket ship, go up into space and, like, you know, go check out a few things," Jeff Bezos told Charlie Rose two decades ago.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had a big smile after returning from a suborbital Blue Origin flight.

Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos was thinking about being a billionaire in space long before he built his own rocket to get there. In the wake of the Amazon founder's successful suborbital journey on his Blue Origin spacecraft this month, a 2000 interview with Charlie Rose has reemerged, and it shows Bezos discussing his space dream.

Rose asked Bezos what he would be doing if he wasn't the CEO of Amazon. "Well, so, if I could do anything -- and it turns out this is a very hard technical problem, so I don't actually hold out great hopes -- but if I could do anything, I would like to go help explore space," the billionaire answered.

Rose pressed for more details and Bezos said, "Well, the picture I have is that I would get in a rocket ship, go up into space and, like, you know, go check out a few things." Rose started chuckling at the phrase "rocket ship" and the studio audience joined in with laughter at the idea of the online retail maven launching himself off of Earth.

It's up to you to decide if the audience is laughing with or at Bezos, but his dream came true, even if it seemed absurd to viewers two decades ago. In the interview, Bezos mentioned there could be significant changes in technology in 20 years that could make getting to space easier.

The clip resurfaced in part thanks to RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka sharing it on Twitter on Tuesday.

The Charlie Rose interview aired in late June of 2000 and Bezos founded his space company Blue Origin in September of that year. It's likely the Amazon founder had already been giving some serious thought to one day launching into space, but he didn't drop any hints about Blue Origin to Rose at the time. 

You can watch the entire vintage video on the Charlie Rose site. If you get a kick out of that flashback, be sure to check out a different interview from 2000 in which Bezos shows off a 60,000-year-old bear skeleton he bought online. Dreams can come true, especially if you're a billionaire with a space obsession.

Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin: A journey to space takes flight

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