Watch Stephen Colbert race Super Mario Bros. 3 speedrunner


The Late Show hosts a three-legged race between Stephen Colbert eating a Hot Pocket, Columbia track athletes and the world’s fastest Super Mario Bros. 3 player.

After learning that video game speedrunner Mitch Fowler can finish Super Mario Bros. 3 in just over three minutes, Stephen Colbert challenged him to a three-legged race where the world-record holder was pitted against The Late Show host heating and eating a Hot Pocket, as well as the Columbia University men’s relay team.

Ahead of the competition, Fowler explained that a speedrunner is someone that can beat a game as quickly as possible, and revealed that his record for beating Super Mario Bros. 3 is three minutes and eight seconds, which is just about as long as it takes for a track team to run the 4×400 relay. Fowler accepted the challenge to finish the game before four college athletes run a mile, and ahead of Colbert eating a Hot Pocket after cooking it in a microwave.

The show brought in CBS Sports’ Ian Eagle to do the play-by-play. Fowler was seated in a brown recliner in front of a tube TV with a lava lamp next to it, while Colbert competed while in a rocking chair aside a microwave where he was to heat his pepperoni Hot Pocket, as the Columbia team competed via satellite from NYC’s Armory Track & Field Center.

Unsurprisingly, Fowler got off to fast start, quickly flying through the first level as Colbert “[tore] open his Hot Pocket box like a man possessed,” according to Eagle. Meanwhile, the first runner was able to complete his first of two laps just as Colbert put the Hot Pocket in the microwave.

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Unlike his competitors, Colbert made several mistakes along the way, including starting the microwave without setting the timer, and having to manually rotate the product after selecting a non-carousel microwave. At the same time, the track team easily handed off the baton to the next runner, as Fowler started to collect the four warp whistles required to beat the game within the time frame.

Colbert’s Hot Pocket was fully cooked by about the two-minute mark, but inedible due to the high temperature, with the comedian shouting expletives after biting into the excessively hot turnover. Columbia entered the final lap as Fowler warped to World 7 to trigger the secret door needed to complete the game in record time. Colbert gave them room to catch up after he spit out his second to last bite and drank some water, but he ended up pulling ahead in the end, eating the entire Hot Pocket in three minutes and 12 seconds to be declared the winner of The Late Show‘s first-ever three-legged race.

“My tongue might have to be surgically removed,” Colbert shouted after winning.

Watch the entire spectacle below:

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The event was used to promote “Summer Games Done Quick,” a 24-hour live stream of video game marathons that is done for charity, featuring Fowler and other speedrunners, running from July 3-10. Visit for more info.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert returns with new episodes on July 11 with such guests as Bryan Cranston, Busy Phillips, John Turturro, Nicholas Hoult, Benjamin Bratt, Bill Maher and Michael K. Williams.

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