Whether you know him or not, I will still tell you who he is. Jimmy Fallon has one of the best night shows (at least from what I saw). On NBC. The Tonight Show, from Monday to Friday, from 11:30 pm, if I am correct.
The net tells us that Jimmy is “an American comedian, actor, host of a TV show, singer, writer and producer”. Married, with children. There you go, I lost this one too! J))
FIRST TIME IN AMERICA
I finally got to America for the first time in my life. In New York and, for one day, in Washington DC. After 7 years since I got the visa…
Desperate to see everything, I made a list in advance. A huge list. From the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, to Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, Grand Central, Moma, The UN Headquarters and many other…
There were 31 places on my list… In 9 days.
IN THE AUDIENCE ON JIMMY FALLON SHOW
The musicals were a priority on the list. Then, I thought I might live the experience of a baseball game. And that of a member of the audience during Jimmy Fallon’s show. Yes, because there, like in many other parts of the world, it is not like in our country, where you are a paid member of the audience, brought by a specialized firm. There you have to fight, to work hard, to pray to be able to become part of the audience for the shows of the great TV networks.
I started looking on the Internet to see how I can get to The Tonight Show and see, of course, the Hollywood stars invited on the show.
HOW TO GET TICKETS TO THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON
If you are lucky enough for all the planets to align, that is your visit to New York with the days when they have available seats in the audience, you can register online on tonightshowtix.com, in accordance with the available seats situation.
You have to be at least 16 on the day when you want to be part of the audience and you cannot be part of a group of more than 4 people. Such groups are not acceptable.
If you get to see the show from the audience, you are not allowed to come for another show for the next 6 months. On the idea, let others get a seat too!…
The access ticket is free, just so you know and not be fooled by anyone who tells you that you have to pay.
The tickets are not long term and work according to a precise mathematics: on the first week of a month, for the entire next month. So if you know you will be travelling to NY in august, then during the first week in July you can go and see what available seats they have for August. BUT you are told that after you applied, access is not necessarily granted. You are on a waiting list and the next step is “we will call you”… At least two weeks before the date you enlisted for. If nobody calls you, you can see to your usual business…
They offer you the chance to get a ticket for the recording of the monologue. Yes, you have heard it right. There is another moment of the day, when Jimmy Fallon records the beginning of the show and there, there is a different public. Well, here you don’t see any star except him, you don’t hear stories, you do not take part in the show. That is why more seats are available for this part.
Anyway, I gave up from the start, because there was nothing available during the period of my visit.
As plan A did not work, I got to plan B they offer: stand-by cards, that are available on the day of the show. That is tickets from the category: “you are at the mercy of those who do not show up, from the people registered online”.
WAITING IN QUEUE
In order to get the “stand-by cards” you have to come before 9 in the morning to a street close to the studio and to sit there in queue, in the direction they indicate on the site, according to the map of the place. You have to have an identity card with a photo and the date of birth written on it. Otherwise, you woke up in vain…
I have read some 10 times the rules and the steps that can get you to be part of the Jimmy Fallon’s show audience.
I even went there to see the place one day before, I asked questions, to know the right place to come the next day.
Rockefeller Center – this is where the NBC studios are. You can shop here, you can go to the Top of the Rock to see New York from above, you can eat and you can skate. This is the place from “Home Alone 2”, where Kevin comes to see the Christmas tree, the mother cries happy to have found her child, the emotional music starts, we drop a tear or two and all ends well J)).
The hour when the queue for the “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” starts forming is too early for me, but I have set two alarm clocks to wake me up and I hurry up to that place. It is 8:40 and the queue is already long when I get there. I found out that there were people who came here at 5-6 in the morning, to be the first in line.
There are two ladies with clipboards who organize things… Although we are all in just one line, when we get to the front, things are split up: you can join the audience for Jimmy Fallon’s show or you can sign up for the audience for “Late Night with Seth Meyers”.
People keep gathering and I am no longer at the end of the line, but somewhere in the middle. Some small groups of people who socialize are formed. I listen to my neighbors and I realize that the people are extremely passionate and they want to be part of any show, waiting impatiently to find out who the guests are. Some names they can find out on the Internet, other names are found out here, waiting in line.
In front of me, a young man tires to find out the guests for the two shows from today, in order to decide where to go. His being happy about a guest on the Seth Meyers show becomes my happiness too, because if he goes there, I have one more chance to get to the Jimmy Fallon show…
I wait… We all wait, as they have not started giving the tickets.
The Romanian in me gets out and suddenly think I might leave my bag there, in line, an go visit some places in the city, but I remember what I had read on the site – you are not allowed to leave the line or to ask someone to keep your place there. You leave, you lose the place. You are not allowed to keep the place in line for another person either and when he comes for you to leave and for him to keep your place… Man, this is like in the army, no kidding!
THE TONIGHT SHOW IS NOT LIVE???
This was the first shock I had while looking on the Internet for a way to be in the audience. The show is not live. They record it as a live show, every day at 5 pm and on Thursday, they record two shows – one at 5 pm and one at 8 pm, the Friday show, so that Jimmy can see to his life… Maybe he has some shopping to do, maybe he takes the kids to a park…
It is called a “live to tape” show. Very rarely they repeat something during the recording. Then they only put some bips if needed and some music, I guess. Things that help the show. So are all the other shows they have, except “Saturday Night Live”. Oh, wait, the title says it is “live”… J))
It is past nine o’clock and the line starts moving. The nervousness of the people increases. The girl in front of me, who has come with her father, is very happy when she finds out that one of the guests tonight is Kit Harington – Jon Snow from “Game of Thrones”. She is almost crying with emotion and she prays to be able to be in the audience, because she is a fan of the series!
I get to the front. The clipboard ladies ask me where I want to go and I say “Jimmy Fallon”. They write down my passport data and I get a ticket. The famous card.
I got the card No. 34. The cards are numbered and given in the order of our arrival here. It is not bad. I was expecting a greater number, but I forgot that some of the people in line had chosen the other show.
The lady with the cards tells me to come back at 3-3:15 pm in the NBC store here, in Rockefeller Center. At that time they begin to know the free seats. So the card does not guarantee entrance!
I leave. I have a few hours, too little to visit any touristic place, too many to stay in the area…
I go into the famous FAO Schwarz shop that is close to the studio. I touch or hug all the toys, but I am attracted by the cabin of the wizard. You must know the wizard. It is the one from the Tom Hanks “Big”. You make a wish, put in a coin and… what do you now, you become Tom Hanks J)).
I smile, ’cause I remember my story with the famous Tom Hanks, in Florence.
I look at the machine and think that, if it worked for Tom with “Big”, it might work for me too with “Thin”… But, unfortunately, I do not find a solution for the coin I have.
I ask the guardian if it really works. With a nice smile, he tells me that I should address my wishes elsewhere, and he looks up, to the sky…
I walk towards Central Park.
I take a few rounds in the famous park, that is not green yet, then, afraid I might be late, I go back to Rockefeller Center, walking around in the area.
I eat a delicious cheesecake in the famous Magnolia Bakery (“do not miss the cheesecake from Magnolia!”, “go to Magnolia!”, “Magnolia, Magnolia…”, so I could not miss it especially after it appeared in my face) and, with a high blood sugar, I enter the Rockefeller Center, looking for the NBC shop.
It’s 2:30 pm. Very few people are here. I visit the shop, I see some things that I want, I am amused by the people who take photos in the chair from “The Voice”. Good marketing idea!
I notice that a line is formed. Another queue?! F … k! I thought that, since we woke up basically in the middle of the night to get small numbers on the cards, now we would go straight. But no… This is where the soap opera begins!
I go quickly to sit in the line and, although I have the ticket number 34, I see that we are all mixed up. Some in front of me have no 56! I don’t understand anything, but sit there like a good girl that I am…
A lady who has a badge comes to us and the questions start to flow. We are fine as we are, they will come to take us soon, when they find out how many seats are available. Yes, but how many usually get in? – everybody asks. Nobody knows. Sometimes 2, sometimes 70!
The girl and the father, those with number 33, who were in the morning in front of me, came too and they are somewhere in the queue. I see the girl is excited, waiting anxiously for the lottery of places.
The first filter starts – a lady comes and looks at us. “You, go home!” – she seems to tell a lady… The sucker came with a backpack, although it is specified that this is not allowed. So, bye-bye!
You are not allowed in the studio with any kind of big bag or any other luggage. You can’t think that you can leave them at a wardrobe. No way! You just have to leave them at home. (Although some girls have shopping bags and I see that they can go in.)
We are still in the NBC store, among the products. That could also be a strategy, to make you buy some more gifts. No such thing… Who do you think will leave the queue and lose his/her place? We only go few centimeters farther, to the nearest shelves. Some look at a T-shirt with Friends, others analyze a Saturday Night Live cup, we wonder about prices… Things like these.
The first organizing of the queue follows… Somebody comes and puts us in the order of the numbers on the shirts… sorry, on the cards. As the shop is not really big, we are crowded, on many rows. We start knowing each other. With the people in the morning, we are like relatives already J).
The father-daughter couple get their place, 33, just in front of me. We greet each other and find out who is who from where they come. They are from the State of Georgia. I start explaining to them about Romania, but apparently they have heard of Nadia Comaneci at least…
The girl tells me that she is a fan of “Game of Thrones”, and speaks about the subject. Others in the line are as nervous as she is to get a place there. Not to tell you about myself, but for completely different reason: I think it is interesting for any TV producer to see all the backstage action for such a show. Even if it is only the one the audience can see.
Silence! The first man with the organizing has come. He counts us, he checks the cards and the numbers, he puts us in order once again, he explains to us the mechanism, telling us that we have to wait to see the number of available depending of the number of people who are absent.
Then he tells us that inside the studio we are not allowed to use the phones, the cameras or any other electronic device. It is forbidden to take photos inside the studio. Not only that they make you delete them, but they kick your ass out!
You are not allowed to shout at Jimmy or at the guest – we are told. Limited euphoria, I’d say…
At a certain moment, I find myself almost glued to a wall in the shop to make way for some people who have smaller numbers on the cards. We are asked who we are with. Who, me? Damn, I am alone… You’d better couple me with someone, even if just for the hour spent in the studio J)).
And there’s something else: we are told that if the last available place gets to a couple or a small group, the couple/group have to immediately decide who goes in. Or they may give up. And this in just a few seconds, because the last check-up is just before the beginning of the recording. Nice, ain’t it? Lucky me that I am alone, so there’s nobody to negotiate with…
One word, one product, the tension is growing… Our numbers are checked again as well as the order in line. Someone comes and takes the first people in line. Just few people.
Then… silence! We are told that soon we will find out if other people can come in or if the studio is full and we will have to leave.
Silence! A person with an access tag comes and tells us that they will take the final group. She will touch the shoulder of each of the ones who can go in and so they will be able to know who the chosen one is. If you don’t feel the hand on the shoulder, you’ll feel the cold air outside… ‘cause you will go home. My God, I am waiting for that hand on my shoulder, as if I were to become the producer of the show, not a mere person in the audience! My heart beats so fast, I think it will burst. The woman who comes among us and touches our shoulders is like a god.
She touched me!!! She touched my shoulder! Hallelujah! I will get inside the studio! I will see the show! I am happy as are the people around me, both the father and the daughter and some other people behind me. We were selected up to No. 39 (I am 34). The rest go home. The people who have great numbers are very disappointed, but all this is covered by the enthusiasm of the people with small numbers…
Next, there’s a check-up like on the airport. We put the bags on a band, we take off the belts, the watches and take out the coins. And the jewelry too. We pass one by one through the “customs”.
Then we are taken to a narrow hallway, were some merchandise with The Tonight Show is exposed. I see an old camera. I take pictures of it. Here, apparently, we are allowed to take photos.
The fever of expectation grows worse, the emotion that we are right before entering the studio!
It is now 4:35 pm. We are talking to each other, rubbing our hands with satisfaction that we are going to see the show.
At 4:41 pm the lady with the badge comes. She is already for us the chief of the execution squad… “Eight people!” – I hear. And she takes the first 8. And here appears the problem we had been warned about: the last of the 8 people taken are a group of three Asians that have to break up – two enter within the 8 people mentioned, and the third remains outside. The woman quickly asks what they decide to do: who, of the three, stays out. Or if they all give up. There follows a discussion among them, in a terrible pressure, as there is no time, at 5 pm sharp the recording of the show starts. In the end, one is sacrificed and remains outside, while the other two go inside. What a nasty situation!!!
With the entry of 8, I really get to the front. I have only three other people in front of me: the Asian and the father with his daughter. This increases the euphoria, but also the fear of not being able to go inside, considering the time and the fact that we no longer believe in the chance of vacant seats, after so many stages of selection. The girl, the poor girl, is almost crying, because she really wants to see Jon Snow!
AGONY AND ECSTASY!
At 4:50 pm, on the stairs coming from the studio, three people descend, accompanied by a man from the production team. They are invited to get out. Rumors, questions, we have no idea why they were removed from the audience, some say they took pictures, contrary to the fact they knew they were no allowed to.
At that moment, the woman with the badge says: “the last 3!”. The Asian and the father with the daughter advance, and I stop as if someone had hit me in the head! It is that fraction of a second when all my enthusiasm, all the expectation, all the joy of passing the filters, one by one, they all go to hell and I am left with the most terrible feeling I have ever experienced: that of being first below the line!!!
Man, if I had a few more people in front of me, I would not have felt that way, but the fact that an invisible barrier suddenly fell right in front of me, that hurt me!
The father and daughter turn to me, with compassion in their eyes, and they tell me that they are really sorry. I tell them not to worry and “enjoy the show!” I still ask the people out there if it may be possible for me to go in as well, as I am just one person, maybe there is another place, one alone, small, hidden somewhere, on the stairs or standing next to the door, next to a cameraman or behind the couch for guests… Nothing, they cannot let me in, they tell me in a cold, impenetrable way. I realize that they do this every day. Like the graveyard people who no longer feel anything as they bury dead people every day…
The few unhappy people left outside, me being the first of them, are led to the door that takes us back to the NBC store. That’s where I started a few hours ago, selection after selection…
I walk around there for a few good minutes, to get a grip of it! The disappointment is so great! I went from ecstasy to agony in just one second!
I remember the words the woman had said earlier: sometimes two people may enter, some other times, 70. Today, 33 people went in. I was the 34th…
I buy this bottle with the name of the show, although I feel now that I would pour 10 bottles like this one, full of water, on that Jimmy person’s head. I hate him! Just like that, all of a sudden, I really hate him. I think that the chances I have to get to his show are infinitely smaller than those of any American. Hell, when am I going to come back here? Or, even if I come, will I ever risk losing an entire day waiting in line in front of the NBC studios?
I decide to kill the pain I feel with some sweets. Even they make fun of me…
No, this is unfair! I’ll go to make a complaint to Trump.
Or rather not, because if I tell Trump that they put a wall up right in front of me, he might not want to help. He is a fan of walls…J)
The fury inside me grows and I feel as if I am about to become Hulk!
I walk around in Times Square, looking at the street artists, trying to forget that I was the first not to be able to go in, after such an expectation…
With so many ads around, the idea of the revenge on the situation comes to me: that is it, I will buy a ticket for the musical Hamilton, that really created a hysteria here!
The price of 1,000 Dollars makes me give up any idea of revenge J)). This is what I needed to come to my senses… (About the Hamilton thing and the musicals I saw, as well as about other stories connected to musicals, I told you here)
I go back to the hotel, unhappy. I turn on the TV and what do you know: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. And with “Jon Snow”. And my queue neighbors. And… not me!