Daniella's Misadventures
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
My Date with John Stewart

After two years of being on the waiting list, we were informed via email that we had been selected to receive tickets to The Daily Show taping tonight. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past several years, The Daily Show is the best damn fake newscast on TV.

Our adventure started with this email:

Dear Ticket Holder,

This is your email ticket letter. This letter will provide ALL the information needed. You do not need any further tickets but you do need to read over all of the information in this letter.

(1) Please email us back with the full name that the tickets were originally scheduled under and show date right after you read this letter- this is to confirm or cancel your show date. You will ONLY hear back from us if there is a problem.
(2) If you do not remember how many people you have booked then please look through your “booking date” letter. We cannot provide that information once we are at this point.
(3) We invite more ticket holders to our show than are actually allowed in our studio to insure full capacity for each show. Which means the first to arrive the greater opportunity in getting into our studio. These tickets “do not” guarantee entry. All T.V shows are free and with that all T.V shows are on a first come first serve basis.
(4) We “strongly advise” that you and your party arrive at least an hour prior to entry time. You may hold a spot on line for your party until 4:45. If they show up after that time then they must go the end of our line. Everyone in your party must be 18 or older.

So we cut out of work early and headed to the West side at 3 PM. Where we stood in line outside as the temperature dropped and dropped and dropped (I mean seriously, what the hell is up with this weather? 25 and snowing on Sunday, 61 this morning and 60 mile an hour winds and 35 by 7 PM. Really, can someone explain this to me? Is it the end of the world yet?). I started to have thoughts that maybe this wasn't worth it. Then I drank some hot cocoa from the deli next door to the studio and disabused myself of these thoughts.

Finally, after what seemed like a million hours, but in actuality was only about an hour and half, an official looking young girl (she had to be official, she was carrying a clipboard very, very purposefully) went around and checked everyone's names and then handed out laminated numbers. John and I were numbers 175 and 176. I had the evil thought that next time, I would just walk up to the head of the line purposefully holding a clipboard and get the first few people's names. Then, when the real clipboard girl came up, I would just get tickets without having to have waited two years on the waiting list.

Anyway, after another fifteen minutes or so, we were herded slowly towards the indoor waiting area. As we started to near the door, I heard Clipboard Girl asking who was 175. I said I was and she asked for me and "whoever I was with" to come with her inside. Everyone in line behind us was SOL.

I later found out that they actually broke the audience up into four groups (one for each section of seating), and I was actually the last person in group three, so another 50 people did get in after me, but nonetheless I was shocked -- there was a good 200+ people still in line behind me. Moral of the story: get there early or you may be SOL.

They then herded us down to the basement level and another Clipboard Girl instructed us in the finer points of Daily Show etiquette: use the bathroom now as you are not allowed up during the taping, turn off our cellphones, anyone using a camera would be ejected, if a audience wrangler tells you to do something or go somewhere, do it, no hugging, kissing or otherwise molesting John Stewart. After another 45 minutes in purgatory, we were led up into the studio.

I was very excited to have had the forethought to position myself near the door during our wait in the basement because we were at the head of the line as we were led upstairs to the studio and got rewarded by... FRONT ROW SEATS! I saw the people who had been in line directly behind us sitting in another section in the nosebleeds. I guess all that freezing in line was worth it!

The warm up guy was that comedian from the last season of The Apprentice (the dude who filled in mc duties when Joe Piscapo bailed out) and he was really funny and really good. The studio was a lot smaller than it seems on TV, but all the PAs and camera guys were really nice and smiled a lot. Everyone seemed pretty happy and relaxed.

Finally, John came out. He welcomed everyone and took a few questions from the crowd. One very young girl (19 at most) tried too hard to be funny and asked him if he was related to Patrick Stewart. He handled it gracefully explaining that he was J-E-W, but that he could see her confusion since to someone her age, they were just two old guys. A woman asked him what song and dance routines he was preparing to perform at the Oscars.

Then the show started. I won't give you any spoilers since it is going to air in about 2 hours, but it was great. He was really natural and calm and the audience was really responding to it--you could feel the energy of everyone in the crowd. During the commercial breaks (I was surprised to find out that they film in real time--with actual commercial breaks and no stopping to re-shoot segments), he either talked quietly with producers or reviewed those blue sheets of paper that you always see him shuffling. There is a teleprompter, but when I could see it (they moved it around depending on his angle and which camera he was speaking to), he had the flexibility to go off-prompter.

We did a test link to the Colbert Report which was a lot funnier than what they actually used for their link (Colbert pretended to be King Kong) and because it was Wednesday, we were treated to them filming the opening sequence to their once-a-week international edition that airs at midnight on CNN International. He even stopped to make fun of an audience member who mentioned having seen it when vacationing in Amsterdam and ad-libbed part of the intro by making psychedelic faces for his viewers in Amsterdam (that part was definitely not on the teleprompter.

And then he thanked us, told us that in case we were wondering what he was writing on those blue sheets of paper during the opening sequence every night, it was "I hate myself," and laughingly suggested we sprint when we leave the studio since this was a "shit neighborhood" and that was that.

Tons of fun. Next up: the Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live and Conan O'Brien. I think I like this studio audience thang.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Where did you go now, where did you go....

Ok, I promise, no excuses. I swear. Really. It's just that since I last posted, I:

1. had an unpleasant medical procedure (all normal, thank you)
2. hosted the parental units for a week (went great and they liked the house, now known as The Decrepit Love Shack)
3. cut off a lot of my hair (new year, new me!)
4. got a promotion
5. hosted both sets of parents for a post-holiday dinner party on a work night (yeah, can we say STRESS)
6. got a really big, exciting promotion
7. hosted a small new year's eve pre-party (was oodles of fun)
8. went to the Met
9. did I mention I got a promotion?
10. been super busy because of.... wait for it... wait for it... my humungous promotion

Ok, so obviously I'm happy as a clam and things are going well, so there hasn't really been that much to post about.

I'll get back to posting regularly once we hire someone at my office to take over my old job and I'm not doing both. Hopefully soon. I pinky swear.

Happy wonderful new year to all of you out there in that big ol' internet. Kisses.