I was just in New York City visiting my niece and I had a list of things I wanted to do: a few of which were see either David Letterman or Jon Stewart’s show. The Daily Show , I learned, was very tricky to get into although my niece and I did give it a try by standing in a line outside of the studio before we learned from a young fellow in line that we needed to be already on a list – I guess it involves signing up on the Internet to get into a lottery, then going to stand in line at the approved time, and then maybe getting in. La di dah to you John Stewart, I say.
Getting into Letterman was easier. After doing a little research on the Internet, I got in a line outside the Ed Sullivan Theater at around 9 AM, filled out an application, and then had to meet a young page behind a partition who asked me a couple of questions: How long have you been watching Letterman? What is your favorite part of the show? I guess they were trying to find truly excited fans, so I pretended to be one. Don’t get me wrong, I am a true fan but had to fake the super excited part. I realized that I was lucky I showed up on a Thursday when they tape two shows, Thursday and Friday night’s show on the same day since my likelihood of getting on were increased. The lady behind the partition said she would call within the next couple of hours. I wasn’t sure if I should risk going on the subway since my phone would be out of reach but I gave it a try and headed toward the 911 memorial site. While I was in line, I got a call saying I was on and had to show up at 3:30 that afternoon.
When I got there before 3:30, I walked by the side door and saw a phalanx of photographers waiting for someone to come out – worried that I would be late – I didn’t wait to find out who it was but learned later it was Kristen Chenoweth who was on for the earlier taping. I ended up 3rd in a snake like line outside of the studio with some eager New Yorkers in front of me and some rowdy Australians behind me. We waited about a half hour only to be given a number and told to come back in an hour, exactly, and get in the same line in the same order. And they told us that once in the studio we can’t use the bathroom. So what to do for the next hour that does not involve drinking any liquids? We were told we could use the bathroom in the bar next door – I’d have to save that for right before getting back in line – a book store would have been nice but there was none in the area, so I walked around looking in windows, thinking about beverages.
Once back, too early it seems, I hung out with an older couple from Philly, who were nice and kind of funny – they were doing a little bickering so I tried to distract them by asking them questions. The husband told me about all the greats Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet etc. – he seemed luke warm on Letterman. This line now was inside the studio and seemingly lasted for over an hour, it maybe wasn’t that long. While in the line, we had to listen to a couple of pages, standing on a table blathering loudly over a microphone trying to get the crowd revved up. The pages trying- to-hard-to-be-funny pep talk was blaring while Philly guy talked over them about the greats – he got shushed a few times but didn’t seem to notice. Meanwhile some VIPs passed through some double doors – mainly they were younger, hipper, and better dressed people who didn’t have to listen to the annoying pages. Finally we too passed through those doors and got in a line behind the VIPs, a little more waiting and AT last we made it into the studio.
Once in the sparkly theatre with the elaborate set of New York behind the desk, the whole event ceased being annoying and was just plain cool. My Philly friends and I were in the front row, right behind the band. I could even rest my weary feet on the stage. First more pep talks but this time from an actual funny comedian who works for the show, then the band came in and they were great! They looked larger than life and sounded great --Paul dressed as quirkily as ever, and Felicia Collins wearing what looked like a black leather top hat with a long leather coat, right there in front of me. As we were informed, before the show Dave may take a couple of questions from the audience and then he will use that question to rip on that audience member during his monologue. Wouldn’t you know that the eager fellow who got his question in was from Minnesota. His rather long-winded question related to a time long ago when he saw Al Franken – Dave asked him if he voted for Franken and he said that he was a Republican which Dave then mocked during the monologue, and I believe compared him to Satan. The interesting thing about the preshow Dave is that he seemed warmer and friendlier than show Dave who never loses his biting commentary.
Wait, I haven’t even talked about the show yet, wow THIS is getting to be long winded. (somebody must be having a snow day) Anyway, the show consisted of monologue – rip on Santorum etc. --, Dave at the desk with some silly stuff, Top Ten, not a great one, and then highlight for me was the very cute Matthew Broderick who says he is almost 50 but definitely does not look it, and he also does not look all stretched out like he had plastic surgery. He was charming and great. Then a not very good comedian, I thought, and then the band “We are Augustines” singing “Chapel Song” who I really enjoyed.
So there you have it in too many words. Summary: it was annoying getting into the The Late Show with David Letterman, but being at the show was super fun!