This Sunday I drove up with my sister and a friend to New York City to visit some mutual friends up there and to see a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Good times all around.
So for the taping, the tickets don’t cost money but you do have to reserve them through a site, not sure which one since I didn’t get them, but I will post the site here. To get them follow @dailytix on twitter. Then you need to go stand in line at their office to get the tickets (they hand them out at 2:30, we were 14th in line and we stood outside around 1:00, stand by tickets are handed out at 3:30) Then we had to wait until 4:30 when they lined us up to go in and the thing started going around 6:15 or so.
First off the set is smaller then I thought it would be. There also really isn’t a bad seat in the house, even though it might seem like it because the cameras move around so much that you are bound to get to see stuff that’s happening. Jon also does a Q & A with the audience beforehand so you are for sure going to be able to see him if that’s your main reason for seeing it taped.
Overall it was an awesome experience, but not really because I got to see Jon Stewart up close. I have no doubt that he is a fantastic person, but I think it would be a lot better if you got to meet him somewhere outside this element. Because even though it was super cool to be there and to see everything happening, it was also very very weird. The reason why I say this is because the whole show is kind of like a play that Jon is performing and you get to watch it, but somehow it isn’t meant for you. It’s like watching a rehearsal, you kind of feel wrong when you’re watching it liked you are getting spoiled. It’s not a bad feeling, just a weird one. Also it’s just a little bit awkward cause you are the laugh track, which means they need you to scream when you’re told and to stop when you’re told. I don’t want to say it felt contrived because everything that Jon was saying and performing was not contrived at all, but it is a television show and to create what we see on our screens every night, certain things have to be in place.
Despite this I am not disillusioned by the business at all. For some seeing this taping might ruin the show for them. I have heard a lot of actors say that they can’t watch television any more because they know all the secrets to how its made. But frankly I don’t get that. The magic was never lost or taken away from me. In fact this made me so much more interested in broadcast television. After seeing this and watching The Newsroom, it’s all looking so much more interesting and fun to me. If anything this taping made me want to work in this industry more. I know that seeing it and ACTUALLY being behind the scenes are two very different things, but still.
The amount of work and preparation that goes into making a half an hour show is insane, I can only wonder how much it would take to do an even bigger production. But it makes me excited to see that, and I can only wonder how amazing it would feel to know I had a hand in creating it too.