So here’s how you get to be in the audience of SNL at the famous 30 Rock (which stands, of course for 30 Rockefeller Plaza).
Go online to NBC. You find the form. You fill out the form. And then you wait. And wait. You don’t get to select days or anything like that – it’s just throwing your name in a hat and maybe, one day, it will come up! And if you aren’t available the day your name comes up – to bad. You are graciously invited to enter your name again – next year!
So we signed up and promptly forgot about it.
Then, about two weeks ahead of time, we get the email notice that we have been selected to attend the December 10 – and miraculously that was one of the few weekends we would indeed be in town! It was all very exciting. The e-mail gives us the most basic information, tells us to arrive early and ask for “Cara’s line.” It also emphasizes that we be on time or our seats will be given away. It also informs us to bring as few things with us as possible, ie: small purse – no extra bags, etc.
The day of the show we get all cute and take a car service down to Rockefeller Center – thinking we will walk around and relax a bit before the show. Uhhh. Rockefeller Center. Home of the famous “tree.” Two weeks before Christmas.
No kidding it took the better part of an hour to get the last half-mile. I have never seen crowds like this. Shoulder to shoulder does not describe the blocks of bodies jammed into each other – almost in a gridlock. We finally just get out of the car (thankfully Garrett was back at the apartment – he would have surely been trampled!) and we begin to brave our way thru the massive amount of humanity.
Exhausted and a bit shell-shocked we make it to the doors of Rockefeller Center. Once inside we take a deep breath (there’s room to actually inhale and exhale here!) and carrying our printed out email notice we head to security. They take our paper, give us real tickets and then we are directed to a line in the lobby. We get in it. And we wait. And wait. And people watch. And look for anything cool. I watch a guy in a suit come in – I think he looks like Alec Baldwin, but I know the host tonight so I keep looking. I really want to see Seth Meyers (yes, I have a tiny crush on him – it’s ok, Marcus knows and he has a crush on “Blossom” so it’s all good.)
Finally the doors open and the line SLOWLY begins to move forward. We go thru security, much like when going into a courthouse. They took my purse, searched it, made us take off our coats, etc. Then we are funneled into groups and are taken up elevators. I’m not sure how many floors – it felt like a huge amount. We get off – and we stand in line again.
After a bit, the line moves and when we come around a corner, they take our tickets (boo hoo – I wanted to save them and put them in the stack of things that I want to make a scrapbook of but of course that stack is enormous and I will never actually get around to doing it… still I wanted to keep them!) They give us yellow paper wristbands in exchange for the tickets. The line creeps along, but now we are in a hallway filled with photos from some of the best SNL moments ever! The first cast – the iconic sketches – guest hosts… it was a fun stroll down memory lane.
We at last arrive at the theater. The seats are in a balcony and are the old, stadium style and very narrow, with almost no padding left in them. There is very little leg room and the whole layout is arranged at a very, VERY steep angle. We follow along way over to the farthest corner and finally take our seat.
It’s hard to see anything from here – but with the structure most people are in the same boat. Thankfully there are large, flat screen TV’s everywhere.
After waiting a while, Jason Sudeikis comes out to do warm up comedy – and he does great. Then Kenan Thompson comes out, complete with back up singers and does a number (he really can sing!). And then it’s time to start!
The host for the night: Katy Perry, looks gorgeous and tiny. I think when I see her as I so often think when I have the opportunity to meet people in ‘real life’ that I’d only seen in photos or on TV – I’m not positive I’d recognize her if she were walking down the street. Same with most of the cast too – except for Seth of course. This is one reason I know I’d make a terrible paparazzi – I’d walk right by someone famous and never know it!
And of course they had a very strict no camera / no phones policy. And I did in fact see them escort several people out who tried to sneak a photo. Knowing I’m not good at “sneaky” I didn’t even try. Another reason I’d make a terrible paparazzi – I do NOT like getting in trouble!
The stage area is tiny, and every inch of the balcony is filled. They have fold up chairs where the built in seats end – using every available space to squish people in. We end up mostly watching the TV’s because it’s so difficult to see the staging area. But it’s fun just to be there! Katy does a better job than I expected at the skits, wears some of the most amazing outfits and SHOES! omg – the shoes!!
The coolest part (besides Seth) was watching the absolute choreography of swinging sets around and creating so many different vignettes for the various sketches in just moments. Poetry in motion! And at the end of a skit the SNL actors would literally run off stage to get changed for the next bit.
All in all it was a totally fun experience. Yes, we would have better seats at home. And no, I doubt we’ll put our name back in the hat to try and do it again. But it was very cool to do once!
Oh, and if you missed the episode – guess who made a surprise guest appearance on Weekend Update? Yah. Alec Baldwin. Not even five feet from him and what do I say? “That guy looks like…”
Yep. I’d be a terrible paparazzi.