Eva Went to New York City and got to be in the audience of Anderson and the Colbert Report!
Friday, October 27th was the most incredible day, both as a Mass Communications major and a fan of TV. I got to be in the audience at both the Anderson Cooper show and the Colbert Report!
My best friend, her mother, her cousin and I left early in the morning from Philadelphia to get to the Anderson Cooper show in New York City by 8:30 a.m. Taping started at 10:15 am. We were seated based on where there was room and how many were in our party. I was forbidden to take any photos of the studio due to copyright issues, but the studio was absolutely gorgeous. Behind the couch where Anderson and his guests sat was an enormous wall of glass looking over the city. It was a cloudy day, which meant the sun wasn't going to blind us as we watched.
The show's staff encouraged the audience to clap, cheer, boo, and stand whenever we heard or saw something we wanted to react to. We were told to be as loud as possible because it would make the show more exciting to watch. After a few warm-up questions, the show started rolling and Anderson came out into the studio! We had great seats--the studio was a lot smaller than I anticipated, so all the seats had a great view. Anderson looks exactly the same in real life as he does in pictures--I assume it's due to the stage makeup, but it was remarkable. He was friendly to all his guests, even when he was playing devil's advocate to their questions.
At the very end of the show, he announced that everyone in the audience had won a prize--a $50 gift certificate to his favorite place to eat, Boston Market. I hadn't expected to win anything just for being in the audience (it wasn't Oprah, after all), so that was really exciting. Unfortunately, Anderson's schedule was really busy and he didn't have time to take any questions from his audience. But there was a surprise guest--his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, who frequently appears on episodes of the show.
Afterwards, we all wandered down to Stephen Colbert's studio, just for fun. We started wondering if there was any possibility of getting standby tickets. After checking online, we found out there were just a few tickets remaining, and we downloaded them as fast as we could. Since we were three hours early, we were the first ones in line!
We were led into a waiting room, which was filled with Colbert posters and art. There was a TV playing clips from past episodes, which kept us entertained as we warmed up and waited another hour or so to be let into the actual studio once heads were counted and tickets were taken. Finally, we were seated in the studio that I saw on TV every night. As with Anderson, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside the studio, but it was massive thrill just being there.
Colbert had a question and answer session before the taping began, and I got to ask him mine! I wanted to know the process of choosing guests for the show. He explained that sometimes he'll invite someone, and sometimes they'll come to him. I asked him if he had ever begged anyone, and he said "I've never BEGGED...getting Bill O'Reilly, though, that was hard." Then he showed the audience the microwave he had stolen from the O'Reilly Factor, since O'Reilly refused to be on his show unless Colbert agreed to be on his own. My best friend also got her question answered. she asked if there was anyone he wanted to interview that he hadn't yet. He said there was no one he was desperate to talk to, though he would like to speak with members of the last presidential administration.
Other people asked sillier questions. One girl said it was her 21st birthday and wanted advice as to where to go drinking. Another girl said she had just moved to New York and wanted to know what she should do now that she lived here. Colbert replied "Go drinking with that last girl!"
I was really pleased to see that Stephen Colbert is just as funny and friendly in real life as he is on the show. His interns, who helped manage the line, said that he was amazing to work for (we got to know them quite well during our three-hour wait!). One staff member, who was giving us instructions in the waiting room, said to cheer and clap and laugh as much as we could. "No matter how famous he gets," he said "Stephen loves making people laugh. He eats that shit up!"
There were TVs situated all throughout the studio so the audience can see and react to the graphics that the people watching TV at home can see. The guest that night was Toby Keith, and we got to see his band perform. At the very end of the episode, he and Stephen Colbert sang the national anthem and they both sounded incredible.
I couldn't have asked for a better day in the city. I got to see some of my news and entertainment idols and even get to speak to one of them!