Hi friends! Today, we have a great guest post from Melanie (@lifeofmytime on Twitter), who shares my love of New York City and popular culture. On her most recent trip, she managed to score some tickets to a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Join me in welcoming Melanie to Bite-sized Travel!
I recently returned from the most amazing trip to New York City. Of the many highlights, attending a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was at the top of the list. I mean, who doesn’t love Jimmy Fallon?
Here’s what you need to know to get free tickets to a taping. First, read the official instructions from Late Night. Start calling at least 6 to 7 weeks beforehand. The recording will tell you all tickets are booked up to a specific date. Once the booking dates get closer to the ones you’re hoping for, you should begin calling several times a day. When tickets are released, the recording will change to reflect this. Stay on the line to request tickets. Keep in mind, once tickets are released, the shows book up within an hour or two.
My friend Amy and I wanted tickets for September 5 or 6. Our tickets became available on Tuesday, August 6 at 10:30am ATL. I called over 65 times that morning and kept getting disconnected after the recording. Frustrating! Luckily, Amy got through. Her confirmation email with instructions arrived right away.
At the taping
On the day of the taping, go to the second floor of the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Center. Check in begins at 3pm and lasts 45 minutes. The show gives out more tickets than they have seats, so get there early. Amy and I arrived shortly after 3pm and were directed to a table where we showed our confirmation email and IDs. At a second table, we were given a pair of tickets with the number 21 on them, and then we were directed to a third table where we were given Late Night bracelets. We were then free to wander around until 4pm, when it was time to line up downstairs on the main floor of Rockefeller Centre.
We showed up just before 4pm only to be asked by various Late Night pages to come back in two minutes, then five minutes, then three minutes. We headed back the fourth time only to find the pages had disappeared! Luckily someone in the know saw our confused faces and directed us up a flight of stairs where many, many people were already in line. I’m still not sure how they all managed to arrive at the magic time when we were gone only three minutes. But no matter. We were placed within the lineup based on our numbered tickets.
We stood in this lineup for about 45 minutes. Also, it’s worth noting that no photos were permitted from this point on. Eventually we were escorted to an elevator, which took us to the 6th floor. We waited outside Studio 6A a little longer before it was our turn to go in. Much of the studio audience seating was filled by this time. We were given the option of sitting together on a metal bench in the center or sitting apart in comfy seats on the far left. After a long day of walking and standing in line, we chose comfy seats. It’s a small studio, so no seats are terrible. I think we chose well. And Amy was directly in front of me so we could still talk.
A comedian came out to warm us up for a few minutes before The Roots and announcer Steve Higgins came onstage. Sadly, I don’t remember his name, but he was an excellent choice for a warm up act. Shortly after 5pm, it was time for the show! Fallon was hilarious and charming as ever. It was a real joy to watch him crack up in person. The monologue had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.
After the first commercial break, an illusionist duo just eliminated from America’s Got Talent performed their act, which was kind of insane to watch live. How did they do that? The first guest at the desk was Steve Buscemi, who had earlier participated in a dead pan reading of the Late Night hashtag game: #MakeBuscemiSay. I held out hope my submitted tweet would be included in the reading, but no such luck.
Bethenny Frankel was next, and she was actually a total blast. Fallon asked her to stick around to play a drinking game, which resulted in him knocking back three Skinnygirl cocktails in a row. Chef Daniel Humm was the final guest, and his segment started off with a shot of whiskey. I’m pretty sure Fallon was starting to get a little buzzed at this point. They had so much fun during the segment; they didn’t even get to the finished dish.
I laughed all the way through the taping – it was so much fun! Plus, I was impressed by Fallon’s talent and professionalism. Having been to local tapings, like This Hour Has 22 Minutes, I was expecting retakes and edits. But attending a Late Night taping is just like watching the show. It’s taped live as is. Taping stops between commercials just long enough to touch up Fallon’s makeup and make any quick stage set ups/changes, so no longer than an actual commercial break.
I think the back of my head made it on camera a few times, but my closest brush with Mr. Fallon himself was in this very pixelated screen shot as he ran through the studio, high-fiving the audience after the show.
I highly recommend attending a Late Night taping if you’re planning a trip to New York. It’s a lot of fun, and you can’t beat free! Just bring comfortable shoes and a sweater. (Apparently I’ve become your mother).