My SNL Experience

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” is probably one of the most iconic phrases in American history- and in my own life. One of my most prominent memories from when I was a kid is seeing the “Mom Jeans” sketch, and now, as an adult, I decided to go to college in New York and pursue comedy because of the effect Saturday Night Live had on me. So, it’s safe to say that when I found out I had tickets to the dress rehearsal of the first episode of season 46 of SNL, I was over the moon.

On Thursday night, I got out of class and immediately got a call from my friend followed by  a text that read “ANSWER NOW.” I opened it and almost blacked out when I saw the words “we’re seeing Saturday Night Live.” There was absolutely no way that after years of dreaming of this it was actually happening, but somehow it was. Everyone that was going met in the lobby of our building and jumped on top of each other almost in tears, screaming and rereading the email that said we were going. The rest of Thursday and all of Friday was spent sending outfit pics back and forth, bleaching my hair in a park so I would look my best, watching all of our favorite SNL sketches. Then, it finally was time for the best day of my life.

On Saturday, I practically jumped out of bed to start getting ready. After getting a venti pink drink and hopping on the A train, we were there. I mean, yes, we did get there six hours before we needed to be, but by doing that we ended up running into Pete Davidson, so I’m not complaining. At 5:00 it was time for groups to start going in, and I could barely feel my legs I was so excited. Before any groups were let upstairs, we had to take a COVID test, I think the only thing more nerve-wracking than waiting from Monday to Thursday to find out if we had gotten tickets was waiting those thirty minutes to find out if anyone in our group had the coronavirus. A pharmacist came up to us to tell us that we had all tested negative, and after they double checked our temperature, we were heading up the grand stairs in the center of 30 Rock. 

First, we were taken to the Peacock Lounge, which is essentially a Saturday Night Live fan’s dream room. With screens all around the room showing stills from classic SNL sketches and a TV in the center playing sketches, it was then that it really became real that I was going to be seeing the show. After about 45 minutes in the lounge, groups were taken up one at a time to enter the legendary Studio 8H. While the studio looks slightly different now because they have removed some seats to allow for social distancing, there is something so beautiful about actually being in the room I’ve seen hundreds of times on TV. The band played while we waited for the rehearsal to start. Head Writer and Weekend Update Co-anchor Michael Che came out to talk to us and tell a few jokes before they started. Then, they brought out the set for the cold open and it started. Because this was the dress rehearsal, we got to see sketches that were cut and jokes that didn’t quite land, which made the experience so much more unique and exciting. Going from watching Chris Rock voice Marty in Madagascar as a child to seeing him host was definitely one of the best glo ups in my life, and my favorite Houston Hottie Megan Thee Stallion gave one of the best and most empowering performances I’ve seen in my entire life. The rehearsal lasted about two hours, and then after being ushered out and making a quick run to Taco Bell, we stood outside 30 Rock to say hi to the cast as we were leaving, and they couldn’t have been nicer. Meeting Colin Jost and telling him that I hope he ends up being my boss one day and getting to tell your inspirations how much they mean to you was completely worth waiting until 3 am. After that, we headed back to our dorm and went to bed, and then I spent all of Sunday calling everyone I know to give them a complete rundown on what happened.

It’s now been over a week since I got to go to the rehearsal, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It’s not often that you get to do something like this, and grateful doesn’t even begin to cover how happy I am that I got to experience this. So, until I can hear “live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” in person again, I’ll be cherishing these memories and rewatching the episode we saw over and over again.