What Really Happens at Live Talk Shows

Last week, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of attending a live talk show — not just once but twice. My friends and I were able to score tickets to both Late Night with Seth Meyers and Live! with Kelly and Michael. Both were awesome experiences, but they were different. If you’re like me and often spend time wondering what goes on behind the scenes of those talk shows, I’m about to give you the 411 on each.

1. Late Night with Seth Meyers

Getting the tickets

In order to get tickets to both Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, you have to apply for tickets the first week in February here. They open the ticket applications at some point in the first week of the month before the ticket dates, so you have to keep an eye out on the website or the show’s Twitter accounts to know when the list opens. My friend applied for tickets on Feb. 5 for a show in the first week of March. About two weeks later, she received an email telling her she got the tickets.

Preparing for the show

A few days before the date of the show, we found out the guests were Keri Russell from The Americans, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson from Broad City, and musical guest LP.

We were told to arrive at 30 Rock at 4:45 p.m. for the 6:30 p.m. taping. We got there early to ensure being the first ones to check-in, so we walked around the iconic building for a while.

At 4:45 p.m. on the dot, we checked in and were escorted to a lounge to wait for the show. It was made clear to us that we were not allowed to take any pictures of the lounge or studio, and if we were seen with our cell phones out in the studio, we would be asked to leave.

At about 6 p.m. we were allowed into the studio. Seth Meyers’ show tapes in studio 8G, which is directly next to studio 8H. For those of you who don’t already know, studio 8H is where Saturday Night Live is taped. I tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress my fangirling when I got to see what the SNL set looks like in person.

At the show

The studio was smaller than anticipated and angled differently than I imagined. I was pleased to see it was so small, because I would be that much closer to Seth Meyers.

Comedian Ryan Reiss came out and explained a little bit about the show and warmed up the audience with some laughter. Soon after, Seth Meyers himself came out and introduced himself and the show to the audience. He was so sweet to say hi to the audience before starting the show and seemed so genuinely happy to be there. And he’s even cuter in person.

Seth started the show with his monologue, which was hilarious. Keri Russell’s interview was adorable and funny. She and Seth are both expecting children, so their exchanges about being parents-to-be was genuine and cute. During the commercial break, Seth let us in on the side conversation they were having, which was kind.

The next guests were Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, who were hilarious. They had an enlightening conversation about laundry in New York City. Seth has laundry in his building, not his apartment, FYI.

After the interviews, the crew started to set up for the musical performance and Seth CAME INTO THE AUDIENCE and answered questions to make the time go by faster. Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever heard? People asked questions ranging from his college days to SNL. By the end, I was convinced Seth Meyers is the sweetest celebrity out there.

LP, the performer, was really cool and I actually started listening to her music after the show. Before leaving for good, Seth did promos for affiliate local networks. In other words, we got to hear him say hi to local news anchors he has never met before and tell them who the guests on his show were.

Seth said his goodbyes, and I went on to spend the evening raving with my friends about how awesome that experience was.


2. Live! with Kelly and Michael

Getting the tickets

We decided we had to try to see Kelly and Michael when we found out Tina Fey was going to be the guest for that day. Securing tickets turned out to be an easy task. I simply went online and reserved the tickets here.

Preparing for the show

We were told that the check-in deadline was 7:45 a.m. and to arrive no later than 30 minutes before our check-in deadline. However, it had been a long week already and we overslept. We ended up getting to the studio at about 7:30 a.m. with no food or coffee in our systems. It was approximately 30 degrees and snowing. We were told to wait in line outside to see if we would get in. Our seats were not guaranteed because we arrived late and they overbooked the studio.

We ended up waiting in line for about an hour, still unsure if we were actually going to get in. I was just about ready to bail but stuck it out for the chance to see Tina Fey. Slowly but surely, the line moved along and eventually we were let inside the studio. Because we arrived on the later side, we were on the upper level, but still had a good view of the set.

At the show

Kelly and Michael did their opening chats. On the first commercial break, they both went into the audience to talk to people and take pictures. Michael signed copies of his book. They seemed super friendly and like they really enjoyed talking to people in the audience.

The first guest, as I mentioned before, was the incredible Tina Fey. As she walked out, I was regretting being lazy and not getting out of bed because she went through the audience downstairs to enter the set. Her interview was hilarious and adorable, as expected. On the commercial break, she and Kelly chatted. I think it was about the Oscars, and I was wishing I was a part of that conversation. Michael continued to sign books and take pictures with audience members.

The next guest was Priyanka Chopra from Quantico. She is unbelievably beautiful and was wearing Louboutins. Again, on commercial break, she and Kelly chatted while Michael signed books and took pictures.

At the end, we watched Kelly and Michael tape a promo. We also helped the shy couple in front of us get their book signed by yelling Michael’s name until we got his attention. He finally heard us and told the couple to pass their book to the security guard who would bring it downstairs for Michael to sign. He was very kind.

After they left, we determined it was well worth standing outside in the snow for an hour. However, I would recommend getting there earlier so you don’t have to stand outside for as long, or possibly plan on reserving tickets in the warmer months.

All in all, both experiences were really cool. I personally enjoyed Seth Meyers a little more because I’m obsessed with SNL and watch late-night talk shows more regularly than daytime. My next goal is to get tickets to Jimmy Fallon and/or Saturday Night Live.

I wish you all luck trying to get tickets for your favorite shows! The experience is well worth whatever effort is required to make it happen.

Photo credit: eonline.com