How Did the Audience Arrive For Saturday Night Live?

Last Saturday, January 23rd 2016 as I write this, the show [Saturday Night Live] was, well, live, much as the name suggests. And they seemed to have a fairly large audience.

My question, is simply, How did they get there?

There was a blizzard in New York by this time. And from what I heard, all the roads were basically closed, by order of the city.

I know I must be missing something here. But again, how?

Thank you in advance for your nice, non-condescending replies:)

They were already there. Hundreds of thousands of people live within the immediate vicinity of Rockefeller Center. It’s not hard to fill that studio, and there are actually fairly few seats in there anyway.

I’ve only been to the Daily Show, Colbert and Letterman a few times (not SNL), but I’ve always been surprised at how small the studio audience is. Had never really noticed when watching, but always assumed it was a lot of people. I wouldn’t want to cook breakfast for all those people, but it’s surprisingly small.

In NY, no matter what the driving conditions there are still plenty of people out on the street—so even if they had large cancellations from people who planned to drive in there will still be a ton of folks walking by that Interns can ask if they want tickets (one of the times we saw Letterman we got pulled in that way).

Also, the subways didn’t stop running during the storm, for the most part.

Right- that’s what I was thinking. Was the snow so high that people couldn’t walk in it? If not, then they probably just walked to Rockefeller Center.

The way SNL tickets work is you sign up well in advance for a lottery for free tickets covering the entire season. You don’t get to pick a date, so if you’re from out of town you just hope you win tickets at a time you would be in NYC. Everything else is on standby. You wait in line to get a standby ticket in the morning, and then you show up at the airing hoping you can get in. I bet a good chunk of the audience was stand by.

Not sure why this was such a huge debate on the radio/interwebz. NYC has subways.

:slight_smile: New metric for population studies.

Does everyone in NYC live within walking distance of a subway station? I really don’t know.

And outside of New York, our news casts were giving vague and contradictory information about whether these subways were operating.

Most resoundingly no.

Moved to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

Everything is walking distance if you have enough time. And New Yorkers walk a lot.

A large majority do, including virtually everyone in Manhattan, the South Bronx, and central Brooklyn. There are some places in the far reaches of Brooklyn and Queens where it would be quite a hike, and Staten Island is outside the main system. This map gives a better idea of the distribution of stations than newer schematic maps.

Some quick looking around on the internet says (and it could be wrong) that there’s only 259 seats in the SNL audience.
I’d guess that most people that live in the area know that when the weather is that bad that a lot of people don’t show up and they can get in.

Sort-of related question: sometimes during the opening monologue, the host will address fake audience members (sometimes cast members playing roles) in a group of seats on the floor in front of the main stage. But from what I can tell, the real audience is up on a balcony looking down at the main stage. So who are the other audience members seated among the fake ones who interact with the guest host?

Even if there were no one able to get there by subway, there are a huge chunk of people who are already so close to Rockefeller Center they could wander in at the last minute. I’ll bet there were a larger-than-normal group of NBC News employees who stayed at or near the studios that night, and had plenty of time on their hands. All they would have had to do was take the elevator and sit in whatever empty seats were available.

Bobby Moynihan said it wasn’t that bad out, tho.

I think that’s a real audience setting, they just pull some people out to stand out of camera and replace them with cast members for the skit.

My understanding was that the floor seats were for VIPs, namely guests of the network, cast, and musical guest.

And, yes, the audience in the studio is surprisingly small. I consider myself very lucky to have been picked for tickets back in 2008, and I’m hoping to get lucky again.

Above-ground and open-cut portions of the system were shut down for a time. The portions within Manhattan are (almost) entirely subterranean.