My second visit to New York City was Saturday 21st to Friday 27th November 2009. This was my first time in New York since October 2007.
I was lucky enough to attend a taping of the Late Show on my first visit and was hoping to do the same on this visit, so one of the first things I did on the Sunday after I arrived was to register myself in the Letterman ticket ballot in the lobby of the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Walking into the theatre lobby was just as surreal as the first time a couple of years earlier. I had a chat with one of the Late Show interns and explained I was from London and had come all the way to New York to see the Late Show.
The intern handed me a form to fill out asking which days I was available for the tapings, names, addresses, contact numbers, etc (luckily I had a US cell number this time instead of just giving them the hotel room phone number which I would imagine gives you the edge to get tickets more successfully).
I handed the form back to the intern and mentioned the UK fanbase on Digital Spy, Late Show UK and how we can’t get the big show on TV in our country (I made sure they heard this one!). I was assured the relevant people would be notified about it not being on UK TV (let’s hope!).
The first time I came to New York I got tickets to the big show by finding the woman out on the street giving out free tickets, but I didn’t find her this time (because of Thanksgiving I don’t think she was around) so relied on the ticket ballot instead.
Sure enough – the same day whilst I was having lunch – there was a voicemail on the US cell from someone at the Late Show. We called back and got our tickets! It was surprisingly easy and you don’t need to answer any Late Show fact questions like you do when getting them from the woman on the street.
The tickets we were offered were for the special thanksgiving show with Dave’s Mom’s pie guessing competition. The show was to be the last show to air before thankgiving (although there was another taping taking place on the Tuesday which went out on air on Tuesday night) – it was to go out on Wednesday 25th November but the taping was to take place on Monday 23rd November.
Monday came around and we went to the Ed Sullivan Theatre to collect our two tickets at 4pm as we were asked on the phone the day before. They had us line up inside the lobby to collect the tickets and the excitable interns told us to come back at 5pm – not one minute past!
We ran back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes (to get the Letterman sweatshirt on!) and ran back to the theatre just in time for 5pm.
Just like the 2007 taping we had to line up outside in the order of ticket numbers (so you had to squeeze yourself into the queue in number order).
We then filed into the lobby for the pep-talk – a very excitable intern told us all the dos and don’ts and (after what seemed like an age) the doors opened and we started walking into the main area of the theatre. I still remember how cold it was – it hit you in the face like walking into a freezer! Remember though, it’s to keep the comedy fresh!
All the sets were already out this time – I think back in 2007 when I went half the New York skyline backdrop was still being rolled out into position. There were many interns clapping in the aisles to get us ready for Eddie Brill’s entrance. Eddie – the Late Show warmup guy – came out to give us a quick standup routine. I think he used some of the same material as before as I remember him talking about the oddness of having the Times Square McDonalds lit up like some kind of tourist attraction.
After Eddie’s routine we were shown Dave’s Taco Bell video clip on the LCD screens. This was the same clip they showed when I went before. It’s always funny though!
The CBS Orchestra and Alan Kalter were introduced and after a quick jamming session Paul Shaffer was introduced and walked out to join the rest of the band. We were treated to some more music (Brown Sugar by the Rolling Stones and some other songs I think) before Dave was introduced and ran out onto the stage (minus his suit jacket). The audience went crazy.
Dave picked up the wired microphone, shouted into it and welcomed us to the show. He took a question from the audience (I forget what it was now) and was told by Eddie Brill that the show had to start now as they were running late. I think the theme music started before Dave finished talking and Dave went backstage again to wait for the cue to run out after the title sequence as normal.
This was a great show to see in person as it was the special thankgiving show with the live linkup to Dave’s Mom in Indiana for the annual pie guessing game. Dave got one of the pies correctly (the pumpkin pie) but not the second pie. There were some amusing moments with the live satelite link throughout the show, including Dave’s Mom saying she drives a Toyota and Dave reeling off the various nicknames for Indiana (and a member of the Late Show crew eating the pies afterwards and shown passed-out on the floor).
Guests for this show were Natalie Portman and Adam Lambert. Adam Lambert (from American Idol) was actually very good which surprised me, and Natalie Portman was great. The taping ran 6pm-7pm.
After Dave said goodbye to the audience he quickly exited as did we – the interns ushered us out of the theatre pretty quickly (which was good actually as we had to run over to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for 8pm).
I got my picture with Rupert Jee in the Hello Deli…
Everything I bought from the CBS Store…
Author: Paul Hadley