Being a part of a live studio audience was an exciting and memorable experience for my traveling buddy and me. We took on New York City to capture that moment.
I wanted to do something different to make our trip worthwhile and exciting. I wanted to feel like we were on the big stage. I decided to get free tickets to a talk show. Tickets for popular daytime shows like The View and the Tamron Hall Show were sold out. I ended up getting free tickets to the Amber Ruffin Show a few weeks before our trip. We traveled there from Hartford, CT, enjoying the spotlight experience.
The studio expects you to arrive at a specific time. They guide you on what to bring and what not to bring. It’s essential to arrive at the studio on time and follow the guidelines provided by the studio to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
There was no guarantee that you would be able to get inside the studio. Since this was our first experience, we didn’t know what to expect. All we knew was to arrive there as early as possible. My friend and I left the hotel early for Rockefeller Plaza.
The Rockefeller Center is a multipurpose building that houses NBC Studios and other restaurants (where we ate breakfast), stores, and offices.
We got lost in Rockefeller Plaza, looking for NBC Studios. It was raining, might I add. We wanted to ensure our hair wasn’t messy, especially if we would be on a nationally televised show. We carefully wrapped our hair with scarves, making sure to tuck in any loose strands to protect it from the wind and rain, only to be routed back into the same building. We eventually made it to the studio.
What to expect
As I mentioned, arrive early to secure a good spot in line. You want to have a greater lottery chance of getting inside the studio. We were one of the first few guests in line. We didn’t care how long the wait would be. Our mindset was to make this trip worthwhile and fill our memory bank.
I talked to a woman who was a regular audience member for many TV shows. Through conversations, she mentioned that the studios love out-of-towners and first-time guests. She also said if you’re a regular studio audience member, they will recognize your face, and you’ll get access to better seating. In between waiting in line, we snapped pictures of the NBC sign. Some guests were nice enough to hold our spot while my friend and I snapped memorable photographic moments.
Security Check and Waiting Period
As it was time to head to the studio, we had to go through a security check. We were instructed to place our handbags and other items under our seats, where they were not visible. The studios have an area where you can check your coat. Since we were one of the first few people in line, the attendant alphabetized our tickets based on seating arrangement. We were coded A for priority seating. The waiting room was decorated with billboards of Amber Ruffin and her co-star, Tarik Davis, with purple lounge couches and illuminated purple lights.
The attendants were friendly and energetic, building momentum for guests before they arrived in the studio. They interact with the crowd, asking questions about our knowledge of Amber Ruffin. The attendants also reinforce guidelines for guests to turn off their phones, as they do not allow you to snap photos or record during the taping. They also reminded the guest to use the bathroom while in the waiting room. You’re not allowed to return to the studio after leaving for the restroom. After waiting for an hour, we lined up for the studio (based on the letter of our ticket).
We attended the last episode of Season 3: Episode 5, Christmas Special, but we didn’t know who the surprise guest line-up would be. The taping was in the afternoon, but it was televised at night. The show started with comedian Marie Faustin, aka Reezy, interacting with the audience members. She was funny, engaging, and joking with the crowd as they discussed different topics on relationships, who came the farthest, and how they plan to celebrate Christmas. My friend and I even interacted with her, telling her how far we had come and our Christmas experience. She also allows guests to ask her questions and be energetic during this dynamic show experience.
It’s interesting to hear about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing a late-night talk show. The behind-the-scenes experience was like actors making sure the process was smooth while saying their lines and performing a scene. Kim Fields was the secret guest, standing next to me to do her skit performance. See 4:23–4:53 of the video. I watched the production crew hold the “Line Cards” for the host and actor, Kim Field, to read. The actresses were so professional that the video appeared as if they were not reading from the card.
During the commercial breaks, I observed the host with the production crew, watching the scenes to see if the skit was done correctly. If it weren’t, the host would inform the crowd that she’s redoing a scene or line and tell the audience to laugh and clap a little louder. Other surprised guests were comedian John Oliver and singer Vanessa Williams.
We got a free souvenir bag imprinted with the Amber Ruffin Show afterward and browsed around in the NBC gift store. The most incredible experience was chilling in the hotel room and watching the show on Peacock, including the highlights of my friend and me on the show as audience members.
Overall, it was an eye-catching experience to see celebrities in person (free of charge) and get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of a late-night talk show. I plan to attend more daytime and late-night shows in the future. I recommend that anyone get access to free tickets a month or so in advance in New York or Los Angeles. You may get lucky with some shows, getting tickets within weeks or days of the taping. My experience was a unique and exciting way to experience the entertainment industry and glimpse what goes on behind the scenes.
For more information and updates on Season 4 of the Amber Ruffin Show, click the following link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11058078/news/