Observations From the Studio Audience of The Late Show, 2013
A couple years ago, the wife and I scored tickets to see The Late Show with David Letterman...
It was back on a Saturday in February, 2013, that the wife and I were in New York City and we happened to be walking up Broadway when we passed the Ed Sullivan Theater. Right outside of the theater, under the giant marquee, was this little handwritten sign stapled to a piece of wood advertising free tickets. We thought it would be cool to see the show, so we walked into the lobby, put our names on the waiting list, and they called us the next day almost begging us to attend the Monday afternoon taping. We couldn't attend, but accepted tickets for that Thursday.
We traveled back to the city early on the day of the taping -- the show tapes at 3:30 but you had to be there hours before then. We lined-up outside and got our tickets and then they brought the entire studio audience to a bar around the corner where we waited for what seemed like 18 or 19 days. We were one of the last groups to be brought into the theater (we sat in the very top row of the balcony) and we sat down at about 3:29. David Letterman was talking to the audience, taking a few questions. As soon as the clock hit 3:30:00, the music started and the show was underway.
Like a lot of things on TV, when you see them in person it looks totally different. The set of the Late Show is much more muted, color-wise, in person compared to how you see it on TV. The stage is rather small, the band area is very cramped, and much of the set that is not regularly seen on TV was really dusty.
Sally Field was a guest, along with Super Bowl winning Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, and a pretty good Elvis impersonator.
All in all, it was a pretty cool experience!