One of the countless perks of having such easy access to Manhattan is the ability to attend the numerous talk shows presented at NBC Studios. Even if you don’t live in the city, though, you should still try to get tickets to any of the (free!) shows, assuming you can get to New York City at an assigned date. The process of getting tickets is relatively easy, and is explained in detail at http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/blog/how-to-get-tickets-to-the-tonight-show-starring-jimmy-fallon/113111, but basically there are two types of tickets you can receive: tickets that you have requested for a taping and standby tickets. To request tickets, you have to make an account at 1iota (https://fallon.1iota.com/Member/LogIn) and apply for Jimmy Fallon tickets. After doing so, you are automatically added to a waiting list and will hopefully hear back from the Ticketing Department. If you do receive tickets, you will be notified a couple weeks in advance. I definitely recommend browsing the 1iota website and requesting to tickets to multiple shows, because the more active you are on the site, the higher your chances are of receiving tickets. Something important to note is that if you do receive tickets, you can’t give them to someone else; access to the show is only granted if the person who was lucky enough to score tickets attends the show with a photo I.D. (you also must have a photo I.D. on your person if you are a guest of the individual with the tickets, and cannot be younger than 16 to attend). Standby tickets are given out at 9 a.m. on the day of the show to individuals who line up outside of NBC Studios (I would recommend getting there earlier than 9 a.m., though), and do not guarantee admittance to the taping. However, everyone in line is issued a ticket and is instructed to return at a given time to see if there is an open spot inside for that individual. There are also tickets to the monologue rehearsal, which can be received in the same way as requested tickets for the taping. On Thursdays, the Tonight Show official Twitter account @FallonTonight and/or official Snapchat @FallonTonight will announce where an intern is located with 2 VIP tickets, which are given to the first person to approach her, and on Fridays, a question regarding the show is tweeted from the official account, and the first person to get it right wins 2 VIP tickets for the show whose date is given in the tweet.
One of my friends was able to receive 4 tickets for the March 2nd taping, and she invited me and two of our friends to see Tina Fey (who, let me just say, might be the most beautiful person I’ve seen), Rachel Maddow, and musical guest Santigold. After our classes that morning were over, we headed over to the Fordham Road Metro North station to ultimately arrive outside of NBC Studios (following a scenic stroll past Rockefeller Plaza) around 3:15 p.m., at which point we were directed through a series of lines, including security, to get our holder tickets. After going through security, receiving a wristband to grant access, and presenting our I.D.s to what seems like an absurd amount of people, we were released into a waiting room decked out in huge monitors displaying stills from past shows, as well as some skits when the taping time (5 p.m.) approached. There is absolutely no photography allowed in the studio, including this waiting room, and any use of cell phones that even slightly resembles picture-taking can result in your dismissal from the show, so my suggestion is to close Snapchat and the photo app immediately if you have either open to avoid going through the whole ticket process just to be kicked out. There are, however, a couple of attendants scattered throughout the waiting room taking pictures of fans with iPads (unfortunately the picture of my friends and I might be one of the most unflattering pictures of myself) that they can then email to you, and a set of guests is chosen to be granted VIP tickets for each taping based on how much of a “superfan” each individual seems in the picture.
The tickets that you were handed in one of the lines have either a letter or number on the back, and when it’s time to enter the official studio of the Tonight Show, you are placed in line in order of the letters/numbers you were given. My friends and I were fortunate enough to have been at the front of the line when we first got there, so we got to sit in the front row (pro tip: if you aren’t lucky enough to be first in line, make sure you dress well- the better you look, the more likely you are to be placed somewhere that will be featured on camera). Consequently we were featured on the taping (good thing when the camera was on me, all I could think to do was nudge my friend and say “oh f***, we’re on TV). Before the show starts, a comedian keeps the attendants entertained, and he absolutely roasted some people in the audience, so don’t take it personally if he uses you as the punchline for some of his jokes. The crew might have you practice clapping, smiling, and even fake laughing to ensure that regardless of how enjoyable the show actually is, it seems even better on TV- but no worries, Jimmy Fallon is absolutely hysterical and his show is utterly captivating. Another piece of advice: appear as enthusiastic as possible for every potential camera moment, and just as a way of thanking NBC Studios for the free tickets.
I’m not embarrassed to say that I did get so excited that I might have shed a couple of tears when Jimmy came out and started the show, but that just goes to show how exhilarating the whole experience is. After taping roughly half of the show, Jimmy came into the audience to field questions (including one from a boy who wanted to be featured on the show for his magic). Right after he announced that he had time for one more question, I shot my hand up, and since it was such an aggressive movement he noticed me and called on me, asking how I was, what my name was, and what I wanted to know. Admittedly, I had no idea what I wanted to ask when I raised my hand; I just wanted the chance to talk to him. I was able to think of a pretty lame question on the fly, though (“How much time do you usually spend hanging out with guests before the show?” “Usually only 5 minutes in the dressing room”), and will go to my grave boasting that I had a conversation with Jimmy Fallon. Tina Fey was such an effortlessly funny and simultaneously poised guest, and I ended up learning a lot about the presidential election process from Rachel Maddow’s segment on the show. Santigold, although I had previously been unaware as to who she was, was also an excellent performer. The show is taped continuously, and so the whole taping is done in a little over an hour (what seems like the shortest hour of your life), so the entire process of attending the show will take from about 3:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Despite the relatively short time period, attending the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon was without a doubt a few of the best spent hours of my life.
For more information: http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show