Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Conan: Tall, White, and Funny
For some reason all of my favorite TV hosts tape in New York (Senors Colbert and Stewart) so when another favorite made his way to Los Angeles, I knew I had to check him out live. And besides, the tickets are free.
So I went to NBC's Tonight Show website and requested tickets for me and Mr. Insom.
You're allowed to get four tickets at a time and you can request tickets for 4 dates. They generally book at least 4-6 weeks in advance. I put on my request that "I live here - I can do any date" and I got an email on Aug 11 for Sept 22nd.
You can also do standby tickets...
The tickets are free, but parking for public transportation-phobic Angelenos is $10.
A few days before the taping, Mr. Insom got an add-on case, so he wouldn't be joining me. Bummer. The day of the taping I called to see who would be on the show. Rebecca Romijn (non-Stamos). Double bummer. Lisa Lampanlli is okay, I supposed. Monsters of Rock? Never heard of them.
I was instructed to be there NO LATER THAN 3:30pm.
So of course my dumb ass rolls up to the gate at 3:39pm out of breath and sweaty. That's me - chronically late. I got put in the bull pen with standby people. I'm not sure what would have happened if I had gotten there on time... maybe I would have waited in an air conditioned soundstage with a ladened craft services table.
I got handed a decorative bracelet
and this card.
I noticed some people had a lighter orange card. I wonder if those were the people with reservations that got there on time...
As it was though, I was stuck in the bullpen audience holding area. I know from personal experience that these shows treat audience members like cattle and there is a lot of waiting. But i came prepared. Between my paperbook novel, Monopoly on my iphone, and assorted web surfing sites, I kept myself sufficiently entertained.
The heat, well, that was another matter.
The valley was like a full 10 degrees hotter than where I live. It was sweltering. I was grateful that we were under an awning to shelter us from the sun. NBC also had set up fans that blew mist which quickly evaporated into nothingness. Without the mist though, I guess the fans would just be pushing around hot air. I was appreciating the mist (and the lawsuit that probably mandated it) until I overheard someone remark that the mist smelled just like the water at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. The sad thing was that he was exactly right.
In addition to the stinky mist, NBC had set up kegs of water and watered down Gatorade. Unfortunately, there were only a handful of cups. I was one of the lucky ones to get a plastic cup, and guarded it fiercely - prison yard style.
I felt bad though, because anyone affiliated with NBC was wearing grey suits, a la Kenneth the Page. lol Those must have been hella uncomfortable.
Then we were off, heading through the gates of Universal Studios... Cameras off, phones off, no more pictures.
The set was blissfully air-conditioned and looked really cool. Just like on TV lol. Lots of monitors were overhead so we could see the different cameras and watch the funny Conan videos.
We got a warm-up guy that riffed a little on the fact that a guy named Luis was vacationing here from Mexico, and then the band played for a bit. They're quite good - you don't get to hear much of them on the show, but all of the musicians are really talented.
Next up was Conan. He is indeed very tall and skinny and is incredibly charming.
I got a kick out of seeing the Super Mario Bros. inspired backdrop live...
(Image courtesy of Serious Lunch)
I really liked the Manga voiceover video. Funny stuff Conan and Andy.
Rebecca was meh.
Lisa was pretty entertaining, and watching Conan squirm through her "I didn't know whether to service my husband's huge schlong or feed it a peanut" ribald humor was an added bonus. Andy was cracking up, though. lol
Monsters of Rock's performance was blissfully short. Heh.
Today Tim Gunn is scheduled to appear. Oh man! And tomorrow is Joel McHale and India.Arie. Dang. Oh well... luck of the draw.
In what felt like no time at all, the taping was done. I believe taping started at 5:30 and we were out by 6:15. Conan and all the famous people left the set. The guy sitting next to me pulled out his cellphone and in a second, one of the gray-suited pages descended upon him. They are serious. I had pulled out my phone as well, but when I saw that, I slowly put it back.
We were dismissed by sections and shuffled out of the studio, watched closely by assorted security personnel.
As we walked along the sidewalk ("do not go in the street!") someone handed me this card.
"Want to brag to your friends that you so Conan live? Then get the official Tonight Show badge to put on your Blog, Website, Facebook profile..."
Neat-o. A badge for me blog.
But apparently, said badge hasn't worked since August. I found that out after I did the tedious task of registering on NBC's stupid website with a bunch of fake info.
So I made my own blog badge.
Yep. All kinds of awesome.