What It’s Like to See a Taping of Your Favorite Late Night Show

We all have that show that makes us laugh, informs us of what’s going on in the world today and serves as the perfect nightcap to a stressful day. Now while we’re all used to watching these shows on our computer or TV screens, have you ever wondered what it’d be like to be in the audience of a show like Saturday Night Live or the Late Show?

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  I have always loved the Late Show and all the humor and wit its host brings to the table, so when I found out I’d be in the audience experiencing the show live, I was ecstatic!

Last Tuesday, I met up with a friend at Port Authority around lunchtime before we headed over to the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway. It was about a twenty-minute walk from Port Authority on a rainy day and we had gotten there two hours before check in time. When we got to the theater, there wasn’t much of a line, so we headed across the street to the nearest cafe to grab some lunch.

The staff organizing these live show tapings were all upbeat and excited to bring in the audience for the taping. From the moment you enter the theater, phones are not allowed to be on. As much as we would all love to take as many pictures as we could, not having our phones gave us the opportunity to really enjoy each other’s company and the show itself.

Throughout the night, staff made it a point to let us know how important audiences are to any of these shows. They’re the laugh track to the show and the staff did the best they could to pump everyone up; upbeat music and an audience warm-up comedian kept us on our feet  What was even cooler was that we got our own concert throughout the night from Jon Batiste and Stay Human as well as a Q&A session with the host himself, Stephen Colbert.

Laughing and clapping all night long, experiencing The Late Show live was the highlight of my week. You get to see everything that goes on behind the scenes to taping a show, have the opportunity to see famous guests speak live, and spend a couple hours seeing how much dedication and heart the host (and staff) put into their jobs to make your night a little brighter, whether you’re sitting in the audience or sitting at home watching a clip from your laptop.

How You Can See Your Favorite Show Live

Tickets to see shows like The Late Show or The Tonight Show are all free! There are two ways you could go about seeing your favorite show live.

  1. Visit the Show’s Website - TV shows that offer live tapings have a link on their website listing all the current dates available to get tickets for.  Most shows have you fill in your information and you’re put on a waitlist to be able to get tickets in advance.  If there’s a space open for the number of tickets you put in, you’ll be notified!

  2. General Ticket Line - If you’re already in the city and want to see a show on the whim, you can visit the theater or studio of the show directly and wait in the General Ticket/Admission line.  This method doesn’t guarantee you a seat to the show, however, the earlier you get there, the better the chance you have to be in the live taping.