Ever Been to a Taping of Saturday Night Live?

If I ever get the chance, I’d love to go to a taping of SNL.

Any of our NYC Dopers ever been? Tell me what it’s like!

I’ve never been, but its commonly mentioned (Howard Stern more than once, I can’t recall other sources) that the NBC pages are very strict about disruptions – do not shout out when your hometown is mentioned, or go “woo-hoo” when a joke is too funny or spot on, or they will descend on you like a swatted hornet’s nest.

To me, that seems appropriate, just because its live on tape delay, doesn’t mean they have to restart just because of a serious audience disruption. And on SNL specials and DVD comments, Lorene Michaels mentions he’s a stickler for avoiding timing problems. Its just that, since its always mentioned, maybe its a little extreme.

Remember Ellen Cleghorne’s “obsessive NBC page” character? She’s funny and in your face, the others, just in your face.

Of course not. SNL hasn’t been funny in 20 years. :rolleyes:

Just wanted to get that obligatory comment out of the way so the thread can continue. :smiley:

I went to a show in the late 1970s, I think with Paul Simon as the guest singer. Sorry it was so long ago, I can hardly remember any details. This is pretty pathetic, come to think of it, since this was a huge experience for me. Now? Not so much.

I went to the May 15th, 1999 season finale with Sarah Michelle Gellar and the Backstreet Boys (was a huuuuuuuuge fan). Typically to get tickets, you have to apply for a lottery in August, but my friends and I waited on line for stand-by tickets, which are handed out the morning of the taping. I think we got there at 7pm Friday for the 7am handout, and we were already the 10th people in line, but I think the popularity of both the host and music act had something to do with that. After waiting on line all night (and making lots of line friends/wacky adventures along the way), at about 7am an SNL staffer came out and made her way down the line, asking if we wanted standby tickets for the 8pm dress rehearsal or the 11:30 live show. We took tickets for the live show and were told to come back for 10:30 to see if we could get in, but there were no guarantees.

My friends and I returned for 10:30 and had heard that no standby tickets made it into the dress rehearsal, but we lucked out and we able to get into the taping. The studio probably seats about 300 people in two levels, one on the floor and one on a mezzanine. We were in the first row of the mezzanine level, so we had good views of the entire set, which seemed a lot smaller than it does on tv. The set itself was divided into I think 3 sections - the middle one was the main bits, showing whatever you’d be seeing on tv from home, and two sets on the side that were being set up for later skits. So from even before the show started, we knew that a Brian Fellows skit was coming because we could see the set being built in the corner.

Also because you could see all the sets at once, surprise cameos weren’t really a surprise for us. David Boreanaz and Seth Green were cameos during a skit, and we could see them off on the side of the main stage, waiting to make their appearance. There were also cue card guys everywhere, and it was funny to see them hovering just out of camera view.

I’m pretty sure there was a pre-show warm up comedian, and a couple of the SNL regulars came out to say hello to the audience and talk to their friends. There are TVs on each side of the studio, and for any skit that involved special effects, or the Robert Smiegel Funhouse cartoon, we were directed to watch the TV. So we were at a live taping, watching TV of us at a live taping. During the commercial breaks, you could see the sets being moved around and the actors milling about.

I wasn’t there for the SNL experience though, so I don’t recall many of the nuances that a more seasoned fan might appreciate. I had my few minutes of glory during the musical act, and then only casually paid attention to the show. Perhaps someone who’s more of a fan (or someone who went this century) can offer more of a story.

I thoroughly disagree. This season, and the previous season, have both been spot-on.

I’m pretty sure that was a whoosh. Othere than that, I’m looking forward to some more stories in this thread.

I went to a dress rehearsal; the guest was Susan Lucci and the musical guest, the Gin Blossoms (they were somewhat popular at the time).

The dress rehearsal is also on Saturday Night and runs from around 8:30-10:30pm. Full costumes and sets are used so it is basically very similar to the real show, however, based on how it goes, a 1/2 hour of material is cut. There’s just enough time to rush home and see what they decided didn’t make the grade. :slight_smile: and say WTH? That was the funniest bit!? :frowning:

It was definitely fun. Only VIP guests are on the floor in the “audience” seats you can sometimes see on the show; the stands holding the majority of the audience are raised up and usually cannot be seen during the show.

An interesting thing is that the set pieces are set up in every direction - you get the impression that the whole thing is one big audience facing stage but its not the case. Some of the skits are set up facing away from the audience; the only way to watch those is on the monitor!

Many times in the 70’s and 80’s to the dress rehearsal at 8:00. Then we would rush home to order food and watch the live show and see if anything was cut. Most memorable guest was Johnny Cash. I still crack up about the skit where Eddie Murphy is awaiting execution and his last wish is a song from Johnny Cash. 999,999 bottles of beer on the wall or some such. David Carradine was also awesome. I remember Eddie Murphy doing audience warm-up in the 80’s. He was a complete jackass.

It was a lot easier to get in back in the day. Waiting time for dress rehearsal tickets was one to three weeks. I think once we had to wait a whole month. We would submit requests under slightly updated names of Mayflower passengers in order to get tickets over and over.

I went many years ago to a Dress Rehearsal. Terri Hatcher was the host and the Musical guest was Dave Matthews Band. They have two different types of seats, Music seats and Host seats. Host seats are where the host does the opening monologue and Music seats are in front of the stage where the act performs. My girlfriend at the time was a huge DMB fan and that was why she got these tickets so we were in the Music seats.

As Hello Again wrote, the Dress rehearsal is the same night but earlier and is longer (they cut stuff that doesn’t work). Also in my case, they prerecorded a bit that actually did air during the real show (as I recall it was an ad for a fake sit-com and the gag was that everyone cursed and the curses were bleeped. They recorded it in front of us and added the bleeps later).

Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of either the host or the band, I found the atmosphere of fun in the room infectious and i had a really good time. I was able to get the tickets because my girlfriend then had a connection at NBC, years later I was in the City with friends and we had heard Jason Alexander was hosting. We all liked him so we tried to line up and just get in but found it was impossible.

If you have the opportunity, I say do it, even if you don’t like who is performing so much.It really is a lot of fun.

Wow! The must have just summarily executed those pussies that started shouting & protesting at the start of Andrew Dice Clay’s show!

My old roommate and I got tickets to the Jon Stewart show back in 2000 or 2001 since a friend has worked there as a producer forever. The show itself was okay, but I fell in love with India.Arie, who was the musical guest. It was a fun experience, especially since I have been a huge fan of the show since I was 12 and discovered reruns of the original cast - I idolized Gilda Radner and wanted to be just like her (So much so that in the ninth grade, when we were given an assignment to write our future autobiography, I made myself a cast member of SNL, and eventually won a fictional Oscar for portraying Gilda in a movie made about her life - yeah, suck it, Jami Gertz, I should have been Gilda ;)).

We were offered tickets a few times since our friend got either dress or regular show tickets each week, and were going to go see one with Britney Spears as host, but both of us came down with a massive stomach flu. Apparently, we missed a good show off-cameraa.

No, but I saw the Blues Brothers live, at the Lone Star Cafe in NYC before their first album.

When Sharon Stone hosted, fresh off her Basic Instinct role as the murderous lesbian, there was a serious disruption during her monologue by gays wanting to protest her depiction of gays. You could sorta hear them when her monologue plays live, dunno if they use a rehearsal for reruns and DVD play.

The way I’d heard it, is during warm-up, when someone tells jokes before the show runs, if you make a ‘whoo-hoo’ disruption, the pages descend to say, “Hey, Hey, HEY. You don’t do that during the show.”