How to attend NYC TV show tapings

If you travel to New York City, chances are you might be interested in seeing how some of your favourite shows are recorded. I know I was. And since I am continuing the marathon of articles about #NYC, it’s time to share my experience of how I managed to be in public of three different night shows and a live morning one.

So guess what? I am in NYC at this very moment. And I still need your help for my crazy adventure. Check out my funding campaign and you could help me follow my dream of recording in Anchor Podcast Lab. You can donate or share it by clicking here. And you can already listen to the first episode recorded in the studio with a very dear guest, Michelle Akin. Only on Travelling Inside Out.

So here are some tips and tricks for joining TV shows.

  • Timing. You will need to make an 1iota account, since you can find most of the shows there. But check the dates as soon as you know when you’re in NYC because some of them are sold out in less than one hour after made available (like the one for John Oliver or Saturday Night Live). And remember to check your email to confirm your presence.
  • Free of charge. I heard there are some scammers out there who would sell you their ticket. Do not fall for that, please!
  • Luggage. Don’t bring your backpack with you. Some of them have a wardrobe, some of them won’t accept you to get in.
  • Clothing. No matter the weather outside, bring an extra layer (sweater or something warm). The studio is kept very cold, and this is coming from someone who loves cold weather. Also, they are asking for people to have a smart casual outfit.
  • Better early. Some tickets won’t guarantee your access, so then you will have to be as early as possible to make sure you will get in. Read your ticket carefully because some shows won’t accept you align before a certain time (like Seth Meyer’s show).
  • Patience. It will take at least two hours of waiting in line and slowly moving forward and then waiting some more and so on. So be prepared to stand a lot.
  • ID. Please remember to bring your identification with you because they will check it more than once.
  • Attitude. They will want you to be energetic, filled with positive energy since the public is in charge of the show’s atmosphere.
  • Obey the rules. Do not take pictures when you are not allowed. They will escort you out, I have seen that happen once. It makes sense since they are recording a show that will be broadcast hours later.

Late Night with Seth Meyers

I have wrote about my full experience on my previous blog, but in Romanian. This was the first night show I attended so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. And it all started before the show since we were kept in a waiting room where, after two contests, the winners got VIP tickets and were invited to meet the host and the guests. That is also when we were told who is going to be the guests, I think this was actually the only show who let us know about this officially. We were escorted in line to take the elevator, and we went on the floor where so many famous people walked because the studio is just across from the Saturday Night Live.

I didn’t know there will be a stand-up comedian guy opening for him, a short show to warm up the audience, so that was a nice touch. But I found out later that this segment is actually part of the show for the audience. I enjoyed how Seth Meyers came up to us before starting to say hello and feel the vibe of the public. And he also made time for a series of q&a during takes, which I can say made me see him as a kind, patient and lovely person. Especially since I am sure he’s been asked the same #SNL questions hundreds of times.

Seeing Bill Clinton live during The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

They are sold out one month or even more in advance, so you really have to plan this one out. Check out the tickets as soon as possible, believe me you won’t regret this. It is not considered the best one out there for nothing. I was impressed with how well thought it is, and they actually make an amazing show for the public as well. The band Stay Human leaded by Jon Batiste make you move no matter where you are seated. Or even if you don’t like dancing, like I don’t. They are playing full songs between takes and they even move all around the studio. The energy is crazy!

I didn’t know the name of the guest, I am not sure when it was announced. So before starting the show Colbert asked us if we have any questions for the guest. And someone in the balcony suggested to ask if he would like a do over to a certain question he was asked in a previous interview. And guess what? Bill Clinton shown up and that was Stephen’s first question, you’ll need to watch the video to understand better. But I was mind-blown.

They actually had a non-interrupted interview and so at the end they pull a very classic trick in which he recorded separately just few words, as a segue between takes. Unfortunately it was forbidden to take any pictures so I have none.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Man, he is one cute dimple owner guy, and nothing much more. I really hoped there will be a segment with one of the correspondents but didn’t happen. As I’ve seen later on, they were all invited on a panel on an event. Anyway, same thing happened: a guy warmed up the room with a short stand up comedy gig and then Trevor came. He started directly. Everything was done in probably 30 minutes. He had his interviews, talked a bit between takes, answered just one question and then at the end he said a short “live your life because we don’t know what tomorrow brings” and left. I mean it happened when the whole conversation was happening about North Korea, but it felt kinda rushed over and very pessimistic. And somehow I felt him being arrogant.

Good Morning America – live!

Boy, that was a challenge! First and foremost I had to wake up at 4:30 am on a very gloomy, rainy day to make it on time at the studio. I had a priority ticket and my check-in time was at 6 am. So it was 100% sure I would make it, but I arrived way earlier anyway. It was so rainy and cold that I didn’t enjoy the waiting part at all, though.

But after that was taken out of the way, we were finally introduced to the rules for at least four times while we were advancing in the building, closer and closer to the studio. It is a live show, so I was so intrigued when the show actually started but we were not even all arranged in the studio. Because they will tell you exactly at what table to sit. And then there is the guy who tries to pump up the energy and makes us laugh and smile and have all the proper reactions. They are shooting the show in different studios, depending on the subject discussed. In between segments the guy in charge of us would crack up some jokes, but sometimes they will just land flat. Rather awkward.

So, I saw a lot of women were going crazy for Michael, one of the host. But I was shocked by another surprise. One of the guests on the show was Julianna Margulies, the main character in The good wife, a show I’ve watched and loved like crazy. We were allowed to take pictures in between segments, but were not allowed to leave our place so I kinda got her while leaving the studio. Talking about pics, Michael was one incredible guy taking the time, at the end of the show to come to each one of us to take a picture with us. That was very considerate, also I really felt like a small bug close to him. I never knew how huge American football players can be, of course I googled the hell out of him after the show.

One last note I would like to make is, in my previous years I worked as a TV producer, and this was an amazing experience for me. Even though I just managed to see a tiny bit from the whole production, I can easily see what it means for a team to work together. For people to know exactly what their job is, and to not do one hundred things in the same time. Also, the patience all of them had while handling us, explaining and repeating the rules as many times as possible, was another important part of the show. All of these made me feel extremely lucky for taking part in all these shows. Even just from the public.