Ahhh… time to blog about the Daily Show. This hurry up and waiting in the blistering heat has become somewhat of a theme this summer… but I get ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning… Sometime in May, I received a Facebook status update stating that the Daily Show was soliciting audience members in July. (I “liked” their page some time ago.) Because (at that point) I hadn’t taken a vacation yet, I said yup! And so I reserved two “tickets” to see the July 18th show… mind you, without knowing who the guest would be… or what experience I would be in for.
Now, when you sign up to see a Daily Show viewing, all you receive are nebulously written emails stating that all shows are overbooked, and that you should get their early on the day of to secure a ticket. Even if you fire off an email to the Daily Show staff (which I did), you don’t get much of a reply. Luckily, I have a friend who has seen the live show before who filled in the details for me. Basically, the box office opens at 2:30 PM. You get your color coded ticket in quick succession, based on your place in line. (The people who were waiting first, of course, will get the best seats in the audience.) Then you have a few hours to mess around before coming back to the studios. He warned me to get there as early as you can, as The Daily Show has some pretty hardcore fans who will wait hours for a ticket.
I didn’t have that choice. My bus from DC left at 9:30AM, which put me in NYC at 1:15PM. No time to check into the hotel – I quickly caught a cab to The Daily Show Studios, which… well, even though it’s in Manhattan and thisclose to Hell’s Kitchen/Times Square, it’s not the best part of town. I quickly got in line (which was already winding around the block) and started to wait. On one of the hottest days of the year.
Trying not to think of the heat and sweat permeating through my clothes, (and thanking the good God for at least putting me under the awning), I started to talk to my fellow audience members in line. One couple from Dallas adopted me since I was a fellow Texan, letting me know that I could sit with them if I was alone. I told them that I was holding a seat for a friend. (It turns out that I had the wrong phone number for said friend, and I was texting… who knows who? I would be by myself in the audience. So their thoughtfulness would ultimately be appreciated.) We both watched as the line got longer and longer behind us… I decided to go to the front of the line to see how long the poor blokes in front had been waiting. Since 10AM. Ouch. They really did look worse for wear.
So after one excrutiating hour-ish in line, the box office opened and we got our tickets.
I left as quickly as I could to cool down, and came back to the studios around 4:30. The kind Texan couple (who had been there since 4) saved a place for me. You are not allowed to use the restrooms during the show, so we had to wait in the sun… again… for everyone to use the facilities before we were let into the studios. Before the doors opened, a very imposing security guard told us under NO CIRCUMSTANCES ask Jon Stewart for a job or an autograph. It was grounds to be kicked out.
Now, you are not allowed to take pictures inside, so unfortunately, no photographic evidence of my Daily Show experience is available. As soon as we were finally let in, we had to go through some pretty arduous security measures, including having our backpacks confiscated from us. Any electronic equipment (cellphones, cameras) was taken away as well, if you had no place to put it. They made sure everything was off before we entered the studio.
I got separated from my Dallas friends during security… which worked out to my benefit. I received a kick ass seat, two rows from the front, with zero camera obstruction… my “friends” were seated all the way in the back. I was amazed that the “VIP” seating was off to the side… technically, they were closer to Jon Stewart, but the guest’s back would be turned to them. First the ticketed audience members were seated. Probably because it was so hot, (and because my friend wasn’t with me), a few people off the street with standby tickets got seats too.
And so it began. A very lame comic came out to warm the audience up. There’s not much more to say about him. Then Jon Stewart himself came out, and blew the first comic out of the water. There’s no doubt about it, no matter what you think of Jon Stewart and his politics, he is a very good comedian – on top of his game. He was taking questions from the audience, and riffing on all of us. He learned that one pregnant member of our audience was Canadian, married to a German… and went off about what kind of Frankenstein kid they would have… given that s/he would have traits from the most and least friendly countries in the world. When the show started, he actually started out with a joke to that effect… a total inside joke that only the audience could get. The show was filmed in real time… 22 minutes. During the “commercial breaks,” pop music blared through the studio while cameras moved, PAs circled Jon Stewart, and the directors buzzed.
The show itself ended up being one of the Daily Show’s more funny ones, with Daniel Radcliffe as the guest. Man, Harry Potter can riff too! Instead of describing it, I have embedded it below. Enjoy!
[Ed Note: Well, I tried to embed it below, but failure loomed.]
Here’s the link:
After the show taped, Jon Stewart kindly thanked us for being there for him, and security kicked us out in quick succession. I stayed just long enough to find my Texan couple to say bye, and headed on my way. New York Cit-ee, here I (went)…