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Wendy Williams is a name most known to our generation purely based on the ridiculousness of her persona and her daytime show; The Wendy Williams Show. She has become famous for her hot takes on celebrity culture and for the general absurdity that her show embodies. And after entering a wellness facility in September, according to her rep, I can’t help but reflect on my own time attending Williams’ second to last taping of The Wendy Williams Show.

In the summer of 2021, my friends and I made the spontaneous decision to embark on a three-hour train ride to New York City. The driving factor of this decision was our discovery that attending the taping of Wendy’s show was free. With only two more shows scheduled to be taped for that season, how could we not go? I had never experienced anything like this in my life, and I honestly cannot even begin to describe it.

We woke up at six in the morning to make it on time (we were very determined). Deliriously tired, we hopped on the subway and headed to Eighth Avenue to wait in a line that was much longer than expected. Many people were avid fans and were anxiously awaiting Wendy’s arrival, while others were there simply for the experience. After what seemed like forever, everyone in line was given a ticket with a letter written on it, determining the order we enter the stage for seating. We were then escorted inside into a waiting room and told to fill out a form. On it, you were supposed to write a personal experience for Wendy to give you advice on. Many people lied and came up with such fabrications that it was pure entertainment. However, this was all before the show had even begun.

Walking into the room where everything was filmed felt like a fever dream. Two days prior, I never even thought about this show and now I was quite literally part of it. We were taken up in an elevator by our assigned letters and were led to our seats. When Wendy came out, it was strange to see her as a real person. Even being at the show in person felt fake and inauthentic. Her producer would be to the side directing our responses to the things Wendy would say, mouthing words like “smile” and emphasizing her orders through exaggerated hand motions. Half the time I wasn’t even sure what Wendy was saying, but I was being told to clap, so I did. Wendy’s advice to her fans during her time of questions was unexpected every time, but even if I was confused, I was having a great time.

Wendy went from one topic to another with little consideration. Sometimes there would be uncomfortably long moments of silence in between, almost like she was rebooting. Her guest for that particular day was Luenell, the actress from Borat. Wendy proceeded to show the audience a recording of the time Luenell flashed her followers on a Livestream — unexpected to say the least. In the middle of the show, there would be advertisements for products that would sponsor her show. The last few moments of taping were filled with her filming filler shots for commercials advertising her show. It was uncomfortable to watch since we all had to be silent, but I respected her hustle. 

At the end of the show, Wendy had to be escorted by two men over to the audience as she seemed unable to walk on her own. She came over to us to thank us for coming and proceeded to waste no time in leaving. When we left the show, we felt like the past four hours of our time were just unaccounted for. It was so unreal to us that we were still feeling confused about what we had just witnessed. Seeing her show on social media or television was an intensely different reality. I think it’s safe to say it was a unique moment in my life, and honestly, I am glad I went. 

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Alyssa Mazza

U Mass Amherst '24

Alyssa is an English major and Spanish minor at UMass Amherst. Some of her passions include volunteering in the community, reading, and her friends.