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How To Get Tickets to SNL and More TV Shows

September 2, 2015 - by Melanie Baker
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New York has its finger on the pulse of entertainment and big stars, so while you’re visiting the Big Apple, rub elbows with world-class news anchors, talk show hosts, and a robust lineup of Hollywood’s elite at a live TV show taping. In some cases, all you have to do is show up, albeit at the crack of dawn, and you’ve got prime access to an unforgettable New York experience. Below, find out what you need to know to work your way into some of the most popular TV show tapings in New York City.

 

Saturday Night Live (SNL)

Rockefeller Plaza @ 48th St.

Let’s make no bones about it. Tickets for Saturday Night Live, the weekly sketch comedy juggernaut, are hard to get hold of, even for the stickiest of fingers.

Taping Time

Taping for the dress rehearsal begins at 8pm on Saturdays. Taping for the live show begins at 11:30pm on Saturdays.

How To Score

Every August, those wishing to attend any taping of the upcoming season (no date requests allowed; ten points for flexibility) can email their contact information to snltickets@nbcuni.com. At that point, it’s really just a waiting game, and don’t hold your breath. There’s no guarantee that you’ll receive tickets to any of the tapings, but you have to be in it to win it, right? NBC personnel will reach out to you if you’ve scored, you lucky ducks.

Try Standby

If you’re totally starstruck over a specific SNL host, or you’re desperate to edge your way into Studio 8H, you can always hit the pavement for a better chance at snagging a seat.

It depends on the popularity of the host or musical guests, but most fans begin to line up at the 48th Street side of Rockefeller Plaza on Friday evenings.

Standby “tickets” will be handed out by NBC personnel at 7am on Saturdays.

You’ll have the option to choose a “ticket” for the dress rehearsal or the live show.

Getting a “ticket” in the standby line does not guarantee entry for either the dress rehearsal or the live show.

If you snag one of these standby “tickets,” return to NBC studios at your designated time, cross your fingers, and hope that they’ve got enough empty seats to accommodate you.

Pro Tips

  • Standby is WORTH IT. For tourists and locals alike, getting a seat inside the coveted Studio 8H to see some of the best sketch comedy in the world is an experience that can’t be beat. If you’ve got the time, and don’t mind a sidewalk slumber party for one night, you just might get to witness one of the coolest TV show tapings in the city.

  • Bundle up. If you decide to go for the standby line, prepare for the weather. New York nights, even in more temperate seasons, can get chilly. We recommend packing a sleeping bag, tarp, blankets, and warm clothes.

  • Bring a buddy. Standby is just more fun with a friend. And those who sleep outside together, (maybe, just maybe) see SNL together.

  • The dress rehearsal is where it’s at. Not only are your chances better to view the cast’s final rehearsal before Saturday’s live show, you’ll also get to see a few extra sketches that might get cut for the live broadcast. Trust us, there’s nothing like telling your friends you saw the funniest sketch that they’ll never get to see.

  • There are a few 24-hour delis that line 48th St., so if you need a caffeine jolt, or want to defrost your toes, you’re not totally out in the cold.

Good Morning America

Broadway at 44th St.

Hey, early birds. Swing by the Good Morning America studios (Broadway at 44th St.) Monday-Friday at 7am, and you’ll be able to jumpstart your day by watching Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Michael Strahan, and more of ABC’s top morning anchors.

Taping Time

7am

How To Score

Just show up! Easy as pie.

Pro Tips

  • GMA weather reporter, Ginger Zee, brings her forecasts outside to the crowd, so there’s a chance you’ll be on TV!

The Today Show

Rockefeller Plaza, 48th St. between Fifth and Sixth Ave.

You don’t need a ticket to get up-close access to The Today Show. Set your alarm early and plan to arrive by 6:30am, and you’ll have a VIP spot to watch Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, and everyone’s favorite weatherman, Al Roker, dish out the daily news from Rockefeller Plaza. Crowds gather to be part of the outdoor filming of the show from 7-9am, and the Plaza allows crystal-clear views inside the studio.

Taping Time

7am

How To Score

Just show up!

Pro Tips

  • No reservations necessary, but if you head to today.com and RSVP for the date you’ll attend the show, you just might get to meet the anchors after 9am, plus angle for a few other sweet perks.

  • Get crafty! Signs are welcome!

Live with Kelly and Ryan

7 Lincoln Square

Be part of the studio audience of this morning talk show, which boasts the always vibrant, pint-sized soap opera vet Kelly Ripa, and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest at the helm. Ripa and Seacrest bring big personalities to a constant lineup of today’s hottest stars, wacky trivia, and the ever-lovable antics of executive producer Michael Gelman (or, just Gelman, if you’re in the know.)

Taping Time

7:45-8:45am (occasionally until 9:45am).

How to Score

You can request available tickets online here.

Try Standby

Live with Kelly and Ryan encourages those wishing to get a standby ticket to arrive at the corner of 67th St. and Columbus Ave. by 7am on the day of the taping.

Standby seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, based on availability inside the studio that day.

Pro Tips

  • If you’re a fan of a certain celeb, you can sometimes sneak a peek at the upcoming show rosters when you head online for tickets.

The View

57 W. 66th St.

ABC’s The View is a roundtable-style chat with feisty personalities discussing a variety of topics from politics to blockbuster movies. You can get in on the action, too.

Taping Time

Monday-Thursday, 9:30-11am.

How to Score

You can apply for available tickets online.

Try Standby

Head to the studio entrance between 8-9am on the day you wish to attend, take a number, and get in line.

Standby seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, based on availability inside the studio that day.

Pro Tips

  • The View’s main anchors are undergoing a bit of a transformation, so be flexible and excited for surprise guest hosts at this time.

 

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Rockefeller Center, Studio 6B, 49 W. 49th St.

One of the most popular SNL alums, and your favorite “Idiot Boyfriend” crooner, takes the stage inside Studio 6B for a wild rumpus of celebrity guests and sidesplitting comedy sketches, with house band The Roots on-hand (major clout), graced by the presence of Questlove. You can’t go wrong, so let’s get you in.

Taping Time

Weekdays, 5-6:30pm.

How to Score

You can reserve tickets online and choose from available dates.

Try Standby

On the day of the taping you wish to attend, show up no later than 9am under the monumental NBC Studios entrance (Rockefeller Plaza, 49th St. side); you just might get lucky.

Pro Tips

  • Audience members must be 16 and older

  • Be a test audience. Head here to reserve tickets to watch Jimmy try out jokes, and sometimes sketches, earlier in the day. Who knows? Your laughter might make or break a joke for the live broadcast.


Late Night with Seth Meyers

30 Rockefeller Plaza, Studio 8G

Former SNL head writer and “Weekend Update” mainstay Seth Meyers has his own show on NBC! This late-night show hones in on the funniest, head-scratching-est stories in the news through the popular segment, “A Closer Look.” Meyers’ wry delivery and whip-smart joke-writing steal the show, and he’s a great interviewer to boot. Music director and drummer of the 8G Band is none other than Fred Armisen, another SNL alum as well as star of the hit series Portlandia.

Taping Time

6:30-7:45pm, Monday through Thursday.

How to Score

You can request tickets online and choose from available dates. Your ticket request will be placed on a waitlist, meaning your request does not guarantee a reservation. You’ll receive an email if you make it onto the list of ticket-holders for your desired showtime.

Try Standby

Each day Late Night tapes, there will be standby tickets distributed at Rockefeller Center at 9am. If you come early enough (i.e. 7am or earlier), you might get a chance to go see Seth Meyers that very evening! The line begins at the Late Night sign on 49th Street and extends west toward 6th Avenue. Only one standby ticket per person, though, so if your friend wants to come, she’ll have to schlep over there with you.

Pro Tips

  • Check the Late Night ticketing site often, as tickets are released on a rolling basis.  

  • Diehard Seth Meyers fan? See him rehearse his monologue the day of the show! You can snag tickets at The Shop at NBC Studios when interns begin handing out tickets at 11:30am. P.S. they only admit a small number of guests, so this ticket supply is very limited.

  • Audience members must be 16 and older.

  • Your best bet for last-minute updates is the show’s Twitter account, @LateNightSeth.



Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

CBS Studios, 530 W 57th St.


An HBO show that mixes incisive reporting with unabashed silliness, Last Week Tonight is the Sunday-night cocktail you’ll drink to the last drop. Host John Oliver (former correspondent on The Daily Show) delivers news anchor-style from behind his desk, although his main stories last twenty minutes and cover more obscure topics than run-of-the-mill news headlines. The show’s never too heavy, though. Oliver bombards you with jokes, whether he’s fake-yelling at an offstage character or joining some Muppets for a hilarious Sesame Street parody.

Taping Time

Sundays at 6:45pm.

How to Score

Reserve your free tickets here for upcoming show dates. Tickets are released one show at a time when Last Week Tonight is in season.

Try Standby

LWT encourages guests to go through their online ticketing system to ensure a seat, as standby seats are extremely limited. That said, you can come to the studio the day of the show no earlier than 5:30 and take your chances.

Pro Tips

  • We know firsthand that this is a difficult ticket to get. Fans jump on the site the minute tickets are released, and it’s not uncommon for the show to sell out within 60 seconds. So get yourself somewhere with quick wifi, and warm up your fingers so you can fill out your online ticket form as fast as possible!

  • Audience members must be 18 and older.

  • Your best bet for last-minute updates is the show’s Twitter account, @LastWeekTonight.


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Ed Sullivan Theater, 1697 Broadway

In 2015, The Colbert Report’s Stephen Colbert stepped into David Letterman’s large shoes as the head of The Late Show on CBS. Since then, Colbert has made a splash with his trenchant political commentary and silly bits with celebrity guests. Enjoy the magnificent restoration of the Ed Sullivan Theater as the icing on the cake of your time at The Late Show!

Taping Time

Taping times vary, but they are usually around 4:30 or 5pm, Monday through Friday.

How to Score

Reserve your free tickets here for upcoming show dates. You can only attend the show once in six months, and there are a maximum of two tickets per reservation.

Try Standby

Getting into The Late Show on standby would be a miracle, but you believe in miracles, right? Come to the theater at least an hour before showtime if you’re looking to cheat fate.

Pro Tips

  • The Late Show is typically overbooked, so your ticket does not guarantee you a seat in the theater. That means—you guessed it—there’s a line you should join as soon as you can the day of the show.

  • Related: the sooner you get in line, the closer you might be to the stage! Come at least an hour before the ticket distribution begins on the afternoon of the show if you’re looking to see Colbert and his guests up-close.

  • Persistence is the name of the game, people. Check the website often, as tickets are released on a rolling basis and four to six weeks in advance of each show. Like many of these live tapings, The Late Show is a tough ticket to come by. But so worth it!

  • Audience members must be 16 and older.


Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

CBS Studios, 528 W 57th St.


A weekly late-night show helmed by a powerhouse woman, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee serves up hilarious commentary news stories both over-the-top and under-the-radar. Bee delivers sarcastic jeremiads full of gut-busting jokes and insightful criticism (true to her background on The Daily Show). The show airs Wednesday nights at 10:30pm on TBS. To know Sam Bee is to love her—get in on the fun.

Taping Time

5:45pm on Wednesdays.

How to Score

Fill out this simple online form to request tickets for an upcoming taping! You can request up to 4 tickets per reservation.

Pro Tips

  • As far as we can tell, getting into Full Frontal is fairly straightforward. It wouldn’t hurt to stop by the theater the day of the show if you’re hoping to score standby tickets, but we can’t find evidence that this show offers them.

  • Audience members must be 18 and older.

 

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