Folks that know me personally probably know the story of the time I went to see a taping of Saturday Night Live
. The reason I am posting this is that today is August 1st and that means that you can submit a request for tickets to a taping this upcoming season. Figured I'd share what I wrote back in Nov of 2004.
Saturday Night Live Taping November 13, 2004
Well I had the chance to see a taping of Saturday Night Live this past weekend. I hope to answer some questions, chronicle the experience for my own sake and of course tell you about the show.
To request tickets for SNL you need to submit during the month of August. Per the norm, I submitted and forgot that I had. In the middle part of September I was informed via phone I had gotten a pair of tickets for the 11/13/04 DRESS Rehearsal taping of the show. The woman was very helpful in explaining what that all meant. Basically the cast runs through the whole show that will air live later that night. The biggest thing is the Dress is 30 minutes longer than what will air later that night. They use the Dress to see audience reaction to some skits as well. The show flows the same way..opening skit, monologue etc. You get the bands 2 songs, Weekend update, full costume etc.
They mailed me a confirmation letter I needed to bring with me and that had any of the other questions that needed to be answered. (what to bring, where to be at what time etc).
Saturday was the day and a good friend of mine and I made the trek from MA to NYC. The drive was pretty good and yahoo directions were pretty much dead on. We only slowed for some solar glare in the the later parts of CT. (The orginal plan was to go w/Mrs. March and stay in NYC for the night but that didn't work out so well).
We needed to be in line no later than 6:45. If we were later we could "wave" our right to be there. We had about 50 minutes to get from parking over to Rockefeller Center so we just headed over. We ended up being about 12th in line. We checked in and got our tickets and were told to just "stay here". The tickets were cool, what a great keepsake I thought.
About 7pm they go through the line and tell you to have your tickets out and on your person, turn off your phones and we'd be heading up to the studio. We went thru a metal detector and were shuffled on to elevators that took us up to the studio. Again asked at the metal detector and before we got on the elevator to show our tickets. As we got off the elevator we had to show tickets AGAIN and were given wrist bands that read SNL 11/13/04 and were told to put them on and get in "this" line.
That line finally moved and i had to show my ticket again two more times to the random checker..then we got to the threshold of the studio and we had to GIVE OUR TICKET AWAY! Drat.
You enter the studio in the balcony pretty much at the center of the room. I was surprised that it was as small as it was. It is big, but small if that makes sense. Across the front of the studio there are three rows of seats and then on the ends it goes up to four rows. There is no extra balcony..so what you see when the camera shoots the host from the stage is it for seats "upstairs". The floor seats I will get to in a minute.
The 3 rows run pretty much the length of the room, 100/150 feet or so then it turns "slightly" inwards almost as if it was making a "C". We were on one of the curves..2nd row about 4 seats in. We were in front of the "guest bands" stage..about 20 feet back or so.
The lay out of the studio (if you were facing it walking in that main door). Main stage in front of you (this is where the SNL band is and the host comes out to do the monologue. First interesting thing about this is that the band stays there all night, the front of it moves out to extend it..but all in all this stage is used for the monologue, the curtain call and weekend update..that is it (at least on this night). The guest band stage is then to the left. There are about 35/40 seats on the floor but honestly it would be cool for the monologue and that is it..people had to get up and move a few times for cameras and set changes etc. There are sets pretty much all over the place. One might be on the far side of the room, one almost directly below you. You had to look at the monitors for a lot of things as angles were cut off. Some people groaned they could not see things..but the experience made up for it in my opinion.
Pre-show: Horatio Sanz comes out in a Santa Costume and we are told we are the background for the SNL X-mas picture..so we need to smile. The SNL band has been playing are they are really VERY VERY good. After that was done Don Pardo (the guy that introduces everyone) tells us what he hopes we will do when he announces Liam Neeson and then he introduces a cast member who comes out and "warms us up some". Its about a 5 minute comedy routine with the "where are you from" kinda things.
Then the lights go down people start moving all around on the floor and you hear yelling "30 seconds to air". Suddenly, the show begins. We get the first skit which was Bush calling Kerry at the beach. That ends and as the intro takes place of the cast everything is moved and people run to change. Liam Neeson comes out, we go crazy, and he does his thing.
The studio lights come up when there would be a "commercial" and the show is run for time as well as content. It all runs in order as you see at home when its live, skits, band, weekend update, skits, band, skits, curtain call. The cool part is we get to see 30 minutes of material that nobody else will see.
Weekend update was great..it was about 15 minutes long (never this long live) and Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were really good.
Modest Mouse did Float On first then Ocean Breathes Salty second. I felt they were tight and loud (again we were pretty close to them).
Then the show comes to a close and you see them set up for the Live show that will go up 90 minutes later. Its amazing to see how quick and fast these people work. Some folks reading may have experience with this, but I do not so it was very cool to see.
I can easily say its something I would do again in a heartbeat..just very cool to see and its one of those things were even if you were "ehh" on the host and musical act you are one of less than 300 people witnessing what could be the next "waynes world" or what have you.
Sounds cool eh? If you want go here
and be SURE TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Good luck!
Oh, while you are here, take a second to check out my other blog Forgotten Disc Friday
where I "dust off" a record and give it a listen front to back, post tunes and just chat up records. Hope you will check it out.