Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at Jimmy Fallon

I wish I had a good reason for being a little MIA this week, like, for instance, sunning myself down south and rocking out at the South By SouthWest Music Convention in Austin, TX. But sadly, I was not.

Truth is, I'm just a little burnt out. But more posts are coming. However, I figured I'd give you a little more indepth look at how I spent my day off last week.

I spent last Wednesday at a taping for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and will be spending THIS Wednesday at TWO tapings of upcoming Tyra Banks talk shows. I have no idea who's gonna be on them or what we're doing (terrifying) but I will give you a full recap (plus when they air) when I get back. I may even post before the episodes air, which will make it even more pretty darn exclusive, eh?

So for those of you who have never been to a television taping (I've been to quite a few LIVE tapings -- Regis & Kelly and The View being the major ones), this is what Jimmy Fallon entailed:

I called in advance for tickets. That info is here. They send you a confirmation via email, that you print out. You need to be 17+ and bring your ID.

I went to the taping with a friend, and we had to be at the filming locale (30 Rockefeller Center!) "no later than 4pm". We took this to mean that if we got there at 3:30, we would be okay...Wednesday was my day off, but this was no so for my friend, who interns at Viacom (Vh1). So I headed to the Subway around 2:30pm for the half hour trip to 30 Rock.

By the time I got there, it was around 3PM. I went up to the mezzanine level where we were expected to wait in line (note to anyone who wants to attend a talk show taping: you will have to wait A LOT). The line was relatively short, so I ran down two flights to go get a milkshake from Ben & Jerry's -- their Mochacillos are nothing short of freaking AMAZING -- then went back up. By the time I got back upstairs (3:15PM tops), the line had exploded with people. I was so angry, and ran to save a place for myself and my friend.

At 3:30, a man who worked with the show came out to check reservations. My friend wasn't there yet, she hadn't even left yet, because I told her to get there around 3:45-4PM, and this man refused to check me in (and threatened to cancel my reservation) if all of my parties weren't present.

I, of course, have to resort to calling my friend and tell her to get here as soon as she can. A mere 10 minutes later, she arrives, panting -- having run from Times Square. I have good friends like that.

The man checked us in, and we had till 4:15PM to get back down stairs to wait AGAIN. My friend needed something to drink, so we hit Starbucks, then both got pretzels at Auntie Anns. Their cinnamon pretzels are so fetch. And yes, I just pulled a 'Mean Girls' reference.

So then, it was back to waiting in line, to which we are told to "hurry up and finish" our food, because it's not allowed upstairs where the taping will be. So we stuff cinnamon pretzel down our throats, as we discuss how amazing its going to be to see Clive Owen in person...

Up waiting for another good hour upstairs just outside the elevators to the studio, we are approached by some of the ticket staff. He asks my friend and I if we'd like to dance behind the musical guest (Vampire Weekend) on these little risers. We responded with a hearty "Hell, yes!". Well, it was more like, "Yes, definitely!" but you get the idea.

After another 20 minutes of waiting, and me complaining that today's guests weren't yesterday's guests (because then we'd be dancing behind The Ting Tings as they belt out "That's Not My Name"), we finally hit the elevators to the studio.

Because we get to dance onstage, we have to sit in the back on these hard bleachers, while the rest of the audience gets to sit in velvety movie theatre kind of chairs. As we walk in to the studio, we are handed t-shirts with a large "C" on them that are an obscene shade of yellow-orange. We wait (again) for directions before the taping begins.

A hype man comes out to tell us about the rules (basically, don't yell out things and to clap and scream loudly when the "applause" sign comes on), and tells us the T-Shirts are in support of the basketball team Chattanooga in Tennessee, who were playing the following day against UCONN in the March Madness tournament (Spoiler Alert - they lost). We were asked to put them on for the first segment, because they would be panning in to the audience.

After that, the show began, as The Roots, who are serving as Jimmy's houseband, came out in full fanfare. The taping really proved to be a mini Roots concert, as they played full songs during the "commercial breaks" (but remember -- this show is not live -- it was fired later that night). Just them alone proved to be a very big highlight.

After everyone was settled in, the taping began, and we all started screaming and clapping. Jimmy came out and did his monologue.

He launched into his spiel about Chattanooga, and the surprise guest, the actor who played the principal, Mr. Belding, on the 90's TV Show "Saved By the Bell" came out to introduce the Chattanooga band. When they pan to Belding, you can see me at the very top riser, second in from the right of Belding's head. :)

The next segment was a sketch about Spring Break that was painfully unfunny.

The next segment was Clive Owen's and let me tell you -- he is very lanky. I never realized just how lanky he is until I saw him in person. However, after seeing "Duplicity" this past weekend, he looks just as lanky, so maybe I just never noticed before? He is ridiculously good looking though, I really must say. It's not a trick of the Hollywood silver screen -- he really is rather handsome.

He and Jimmy played a game of fooseball, after they bantered about soccer and how popular it is in the UK. Even that was pretty unfunny, except Jimmy sort of saved it by his very very VERY whiteboy dancing.

The next segment was Paul Teutel Sr, who is best known as the father who owns the "American Choppers" motorcycle shop that is chronicled on a television show. The shop is in upstate New York, not far from where I grew up, and he picks on Jimmy for saying he's from Saugerties, NY (tells him he should say he's from Kingston, because Saugerties is lame...if you're not from Upstate New York, you probably won't get the jokes, but I thought it was pretty funny). This segment really is the highlight of the show in terms of funny-ness.

After that was Vampire Weekend's segment, and everyone who was to dance onstage was asked to file on down to the staging, which took a good 15 minutes. At one moment, I was a mere three feet from Jimmy, and kept staring at him like a loserfreak, but he didn't look up, he was looking at his notes, and typing on his computer (possibly to his Twitter?). I wanted to wave and get a smile out of him but unfortunately, that didn't happen.

I was directed to the right hand side balcony riser. The upsetting thing is these risers were created to look like NYC balconies, with a kind of grated flooring that looks like a Subway grate. Which is fine, so long as you aren't wearing stiletto heels, which I of course, WAS. So...my dancing and reaction to Vampire Weekend entailed of gripping the banister in front of me for dear life as I attempted to not break an ankle.

Finally, Vampire Weekend's segement was called up, and they were introduced by Jimmy to perform a song never before performed on television from their upcoming new album, still in development. It was a little mellow to dance to, and I must admit they aren't exactly my cup of tea, but it was fun to stand above a band while they perform. On TV. If you have a keen eye, you may be able to see me on the right. I'm short, dark curly hair, purple t-shirt, black vest, black leggings, clutching the banister. :)

Thanks to the power of HuLu.com, you can watch the entire episode. I don't know about people outside of the US, however, so try it and if you can't view it, let me know. Due to an error I keep receiving, I cannot embed the video (but I will try again later). You can reach the right episode by clicking here. I will grab the video and give you minute/seconds where you can see me (like you care -- :) ) later on tonight.

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