Friday, March 12, 2010

The Daily Show

Dave and I went to a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" yesterday. We were watching the show a few weeks ago and wondered how to go about attending. We hopped on line, and lo and behold, tickets were available for the March 11 show. So we reserved them. Incredibly easy, and free!

We showed up yesterday about 2:45 p.m. in front of the studio on 11th Avenue. We were early -- audience members were advised to be there at 3:30 -- but they sometimes overbook and we wanted to be sure to get a seat. We stood in line, had coffee and watched hot dog vendors lug their carts up and down the avenue (there must be a cart storage place nearby). We also saw lots of horse-drawn carriages, of the variety that pollute the roadways in Central Park -- I think the stables must be near the studio, too.

Finally we got into the studio at 5:15 or so. It all looks much, much smaller in real life than on television, and also somewhat shabbier. The TV cameras make everything look super-vibrant and shiny, but the studio looks less so. Classic rock (Led Zeppelin, Nirvana) blared from the speakers during set-up, and we were told to applaud and laugh loudly during the show.

A comedian came out and warmed up the audience -- I was a target of the requisite bald joke, as I always seem to be every time I go to a stand-up show. Then Jon Stewart came out and answered some audience questions before launching into the taping. He's funny, of course, but also very smooth -- he never flubbed a line, never had to tape anything twice. (He retaped two minor script changes, but not because of any obvious error by him.) It was hard to tell how much of the show is scripted versus ad-libbed. It all seems off-the-cuff, but I'm sure there's loads of preparation involved.

His guest was some guy who wrote a book, as usual: Eamon Javers, whose book "Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy" is about corporate espionage. I was honestly so overwhelmed by all the activity and stimulation that I absorbed very little of the interview (or the rest of the show's content, for that matter).

So did you watch "The Daily Show" last night? If so, maybe you heard me laughing!

(Photo: My Daily Show ticket. Looks pretty down-market, doesn't it? Couldn't they at least cut it straight?)


Barbara said...

So did you applaud and laugh sufficiently loudly? :)

When I was 15 (on my first trip to NYC), we got tickets to Jeopardy. I got to play one of the audience warm-up rounds and totally botched something to do with Lizzie Borden. I guess that gruesome story was not part of my history curriculum in the Redneck Riviera! But it did seem very exciting to be part of the filming.

Merle Sneed said...

I once went on a tour of NBC studios in Burbank and they warned us that things were smaller and less glitzy than TV made them appear.

My son went to a taping of Letterman and we actually saw him in the audience when it aired. Yes, we are hicks.