Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to get on late night talk shows in New York City

One of my things on TO DO list for New York City was to get tickets to one of the late night talk shows that are filmed in the City. It's actually one of those things I've always wanted to do ever since I moved to the States, I just never had enough time to try. Obviously you can always take a chance to save time and request tickets for the shows online, but surprisingly it's not as easy as it sounds. Typically, those types of tickets 'sell out' right after they open the registration, but no need to worry. You're still left with option number 2. If you're a fan like I am and you're really committed to be on the audience, you can still try and get standby tickets. To do so, you basically need to have all day free only for that purpose. Since I was staying in New York City for more than a week, I figured it's the perfect occasion. I did try to get tickets to see David Letterman last summer in August, but Dave happened to have a break from filming. For the next chance to be in the city for a longer period of time, I had to wait the whole year. You see, those types of shows are usually filmed during week days, Monday to Friday, so if you're in the city only for the weekend, I don't have good news for you. 
So what's with those stand by tickets? Here's how I scored mine. You'll find information online and depending on the show you want to see, you have to show up at the according studio by the certain time. This time I let go of seeing David, since he films his shows at a different location ( Ed Sullivan Theatre), I thought I'd have a better chance if I go to NBC Studios, where they hold a couple of shows.

My first choice, obviously, was Jimmy Fallon ( guy on the right, for those of you who don't know ;), but after doing some research on the Internet, I knew that it would be nearly impossible to get on his show. A few weeks earlier I did try to score tickets online and even though I was waiting until they opened the registration at the exact time, I didn't get through. After 15 minutes they were sold out. 
To get standby tickets, you have to show up by the NBC Studios by 9 AM. What it really means, you have to be there at least 3 hours earlier (if not more), to have a chance of getting in front of the line. See, anything that's free in America, requires a little bit of effort and devotion. My plan was to go see how everything pans out, I was determined to make it work, but not too desperate. I showed up at 7 30 AM. There were already about 50 people in front of me (yes, I counted them all...). Some girls came at 5 AM to hold their spot in front of the line.... I already knew that it's nearly impossible to get on Jimmy Fallon's show, since you can use your standby tickets only if there are no shows and their seats open. First come, first served. I waited anyway. They were still about to distribute tickets for Late night with Seth Meyers at 10 AM, so I had a plan B. 

Exactly at 9 AM, a few people that work on the show appeared with tickets in their hands. They went through all of the rules and then started distributing tickets. The best thing that happened to me was that they formed a second line right next to the one for Jimmy Fallon. The other one was for Seth Meyers and without thinking twice, I jumped in there and scored a standby ticket number 10. Now I felt way more confident getting on the show. The next step was to come back to the studio at 4 15 PM, only to check in, then come back one hour later and stand in a line for another 60 minutes to find out if the actually have a seat for you. By 6 30 PM I was seating in the audience. They were able to squeeze in 38 people with standby tickets. I bet that wouldn't have happened with Jimmy Fallon. So, let's just say, I got lucky.

It's sounds so cliché, but while I was standing in the line waiting for tickets, Tina Fey was by my side. 

Although I didn't recognize any of the guests names before I got in the studio, after doing a quick research I found out, I knew about them more than I thought. Andy Cohen is a host of Watch what happens live. The Kratt Brothers I'm familiar with thanks to my family (kids) that watches a show called Wild Kratts, and Jeff Koons was somebody I did just see for the first time, but after hanging out in New York for a week, I noticed him everywhere. He's an American artist that currently has his retrospective exhibition at Whitney Museum of American Art.

   The Split-Rocker by Jeff Koons at Rockeffeler Center.

37 feet high and features over 50,000 flowering plants.

To film one episode of a late night show it took only an hour. I was done clapping, cheering, applauding and screaming by 7:30 pm. I'm sorry for the lack of photos from the inside of the studio, but it was forbidden. I wish I took a pic of a studio where they film Saturday Night Live, it was right next to Seth's studio ( what's also interesting, since he spent 10 years working on that show).

 I would recommend it to anybody that has a free week day when in New York City!


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