It was snowing when we left our house at about 10am, but by the time we got to Grand Central, it was in the 50s, the sun was shining, and there was a lovely breeze. (Every time I go through Grand Central, I flashback to that scene in the movie "The Fisher King", that moment of magic when the chaos of people suddenly came together into order as everyone started waltzing.)
We stopped in at a bar (the generically named "The Irish Pub) to have a few drinks before we headed over to the studio. I do not usually drink because A)I'm cheap and booze is expensive, and B)my father is a raging alcoholic and I do not wish to find out whether that is one of the things I inherited from him. But I did have a Guinness with my husband. Now that smoking is banned inside bars, bars don't smell like bars anymore. I spent every Sunday of my childhood in a bar (chuch then bar - I think it's an Irish thing), and I guess that smell of beer and cigarettes will be something else my kids will never know about - I don't know why that makes me feel a little sad, but it does (even though I don't smoke, either).
It was recommended that we arrive at the studio an hour before the doors open, but we got there an hour and a half early, and we were 98th & 99th in line. Maybe 15 people behind us also made it in, so if you're going, get there earlier than they tell you to). Waiting in line was fine, for the most part, although we had lovely weather - I can't imagine it's much fun to wait in line outside in January. It is a little difficult for me to stand or really to be in any one position for an extended period of time, so I was quite stiff by the time the line got moving. Total waiting time in line: 90 minutes.
They ushered us (100+ of us) into a waiting room, where the VIP ticket-holders were seated. We waited, milled around, and waited some more. Bob the intern came out and gave a pep talk about how the audience has to provide the energy and excitement by applauding loudly and making a lot of noise. He had us practice. We did some more waiting - about 50 minutes worth. Then they ushered the VIP ticketholders into the studio. A little bit more waiting, then we got to go in.
The set looks much smaller in person than it does on TV. There are absolutely no bad seats in the studio, although as a short person, I'm glad we were in the second row, which meant we could see over the cameras. First the warm-up comic came out, his name was Paul Mercurio. He did a great job of connecting with the audience and reinforced that we needed to be loud and energetic. He told us that Jon was going to come out and that he liked to interact a little with the audience and we should feel free to speak to him and ask questions, but that we were not to stare in shock at how tiny Jon is.
When Jon came out (looking taller than he does on TV), there was huge applause and hooting and hollering, and Jon was doing his humble shtick "oh, you're too kind. I know you're entitled to your opinion, but I beg to differ". He went straight towards asking for questions. The first question was "Who do you think is going to win the election" and Jon said that one of the great things about having a fake news show is that he doesn't have to pretend he has any insight into questions like that. He asked the woman who she wanted to win the election, and she said "I just want Bush to lose", which got a huge positive reaction from the audience. Jon made a crack I've heard him make before, that Bush "couldn't get elected captain of the audience".
I kept raising my hand to ask a question, but he never picked me, which is good, because I couldn't think of a question, I just wanted the opportunity to give him the hat I knit for his yet to arrive baby (no, I did not finish the sweater or the booties - I'm a very slow knitter). One audience member did ask about Condi Rice's testimony, which, if you watched the show last night, you heard his response.
The show started, and it was just like watching the show on television except much more three dimensional and of course the energy of actually being there is different than watching it in your living room. During the breaks, Jon talked to crew members.
We had heard from Bob the intern that we were going to have 2 guests during our taping, but I didn't know who the second guest was. So the highlight of my evening was hearing Jon say "our guest tonight stars on the Fox comedy "Arrested Development" - I actually squealed. Jason Bateman was very funny (as you'll see tonight) and very, very sexy.
After the show was over, we made our way out - people walking out asked one of the staff for the stuff off the desk, and the woman who worked there gave one guy the papers Jon was writing on, and someone else got the pen he was writing with. I stopped and told her I didn't want to take anything (she said "good! we don't have anything left to give!"), but that I heard Jon & his wife were having a baby, which she confirmed, so I gave her the hat to give to Jon. She asked for my name and told me I was sweet (when really I'm just a suck-up), and we left. We met Bob the intern as we were walking away from the studio, and he walked a block with us as we talked about the show. My husband was all nervous about whether or not we were an energetic enough audience (I couldn't tell - the music was loud) and Bob told us we were a great audience.
It was a great way to spend the day, although I'm paying for all the walking today, and I'm paying in severe pain. (I'll be talking to my new orthopedist next month about when I'm getting a new hip).
So that's my update. I actually had written up all these notes to make a great post, but I left them at home and I didn't want to wait. I may update some of this later to add some of the thoughts I wrote down yesterday.