colbert report

January 9, 2007 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

i went to see a taping of the colbert report last night, and it was well worthwhile.  The whole process is a bit of a pain in the ass.  I requested tickets back in August, heard nothing until late October, when i got an email saying I had tickets for January 8.  An almost six month wait!  Doors open at 6, they recommend you get there at least an hour and a half early.  I got there an hour and forty minutes early and if i had been fifteen minutes later, I would not have gotten in.  then you wait.  and wait.  they have this covered area, so at least the cold, biting winds that whip up the west side around 11th Avenue aren’t so brutal.  then, about 6, they bring you inside, give you a card with a number, run you through a metal detector, and you wait in this very tiny room with everyone else, but at least there are bathrooms.  and a small television.  playing comedy central.  about 6:30 they let you into the studio in numerical order (note, the higher your number, the more likely you are to sit on the side he high fives on his way to the interview), you listen to really loud music for ten or fifteen minutes, the warm up guy goes around and insults the audience for ten or fifteen minutes, they hand out a couple of t-shirts, teach you how to clap and cheer.  colbert comes out and takes questions for five to ten minutes, then they do the show.  30 minutes later they boot you out on the street.

three hours of waiting for thirty minutes of entertainment isn’t the best ratio, but if it’s what must be done to see colbert then it must be done.  and really it is worth doing once, it’s a surprisingly surreal experience, the stage area is astonishingly small, and the the set is huge within it.  the colbert report is taped in the old daily show studios (oh couch, how i do miss thee), and you could see how the daily show would easily fit in the space, but it took a fair amount of vision to put together the colbert set, and to use with as much versatility as they do.  as i mentioned, tickets are difficult to get, they only take requests at certain times, and after you’ve seen the show, you’re not allowed back for six months.  this is one of those situations where it would be nice to know someone that works there. alas.

I went to see the daily show last summer, and while the process was largely the same (waiting, waiting, loud music, warm up, banter, show, curb), the feeling was not.  the daily show was like going to a museum, or a national monument.  it felt formal and somewhat reverential, and that’s not to say that the staff or host are less engaging, but it just has this feeling, at least in my recollection of “this is a place where comedy that can change the world is made”, it’s also larger, they seat about 120-150 people each taping, and you’re a little further away from the set.  colbert seats about 80-90 and you’re practically on top of the set.  the colbert report felt looser, the warm up guy was great, really great, the director was funny, stephen flubbed a couple lines and had to do second takes, and it just had this, “we’re in it together” feeling.  and maybe it’s that colbert is acting, while stewart is technically hosting, and you feel like you need to help the act come off, while you simply shower the host with your appreciation.  i also hadn;t really realized until last night that stewart has correspondents, while colbert is all on his own and how exhausting that might get.  perhaps i was mistaking the ease of practice, the daily show is in it’s tenth year, for professionalism, but it did feel different.

when i went to the daily show i sat on the dais that camera flys over after the opening titles and you could see my head and my fist pump.  i don’t get comedy central, and the last night’s show hasn’t shown up online yet so i haven’t seen it, but i was on the high-five side and em tells me you could see me, so i guess i better get an agent.  i brought my friend thom as my guest, he has a shaved head and said that colbert pointed at him and swooped his hand over his head, but it all happened really quickly, so who knows.  this time i was sort of stunned and unprepared for it and i think i was making a stupid face, but at least i wasn’t looking at the monitor…

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