Stephen Colbert and Professor Delbanco ride rollercoaster discussing Moby Dick

Updated: Dec. 16, 2:00 p.m.

Want to procrastinate but have no good excuses? You do now.

During December 11th's episode of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert enlisted the help of Columbia professor and Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, Andrew Delbanco, to explain Moby Dick, after Ron Howard’s latest action-adventure vehicle In The Heart of the Sea, based on Moby Dick itself, sunk at the box office.

Delbanco explained the literary classic to Colbert while riding the 233-feet-high Nitro roller-coaster at Six Flags, New Jersey.

Enduring a gravitational force of 4Gs, Colbert probed Delbanco with questions about the professor’s level of comfort and the novel’s thematic ideas. “So do you like rollercoasters?” asked the sadistic Colbert “I hate them, I’m terrified of them,” Delbanco replied.

Taking a page out of Lit Hum discussions, Colbert ended the lesson, noting that “this seems like a great book, and I don’t have to read it."

Watch the ride here.

The previous version incorrectly referred to Professor Andrew Delbanco as the Director of American Studies, instead of the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies. Spectator regrets the error.


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