February 3rd, 2014: The Taping ReporT!
I attended the February 3rd taping with my friend Nicole. This was her first taping and had never really watched the show, so this was going to be a totally new experience for her. I met her our first semester in graduate school, so for the past two years, she has been listening to me speak about my Stephen love (very willingly and enthusiastically, may I add). So when my friend informed me two weeks ago that she was unable to attend this taping, I asked Nicole if she wanted to come. I had a feeling she would really enjoy herself. And she happily said YES!
The day of the taping arrived and typical to the way this Winter has been treating us, of course, there was snow. Lots of it! Eight inches! But we were not going to let this white stuff stop us! Nope! Not the slush, the sleet, the giant puddles you need to leap over to avoid your entire legs from being soaked. No! We were on a mission and Stephen was our inspiration, our guiding force! (Am I being dramatic enough? If I’m not, I can go on some more! Really, I can!)
Ok, ok, so we arrived at 4:00pm and as we were approaching the building, we notice they are shoveling the sidewalk right in front of the studio/offices. We also noticed a line started to form, so they were starting to let people into the enclosure (I must say, that enclosure is a beautiful thing. It really helped to keep us warm(er) and dry). But just before we approached the building, I saw one of the security guards (I think he is the head one). Two tapings ago, he began to recognize me and greet me with a “Welcome Back!” I thought it was funny that he remembered me, but when it happened again six months later, I thought it was down-right hilarious (and very impressive, may I add)! As I walked past him, even with my umbrella, snow hat and giant hood covering my head, he still recognized me and gave me his traditional, “Welcome Back!” This guy is awesome!
We waited and they began to let us in around 5:20pm/5:30pm. When we got inside, there were four large containers of Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate for everyone! More awesomeness from The Colbert Report people on display! And I must add, it was great to see an updated “best of” dvd playing. Daft Punk, Wheat Thins, Ask-O-Matic. Nicole was really loving the clips, which was a very good sign she would enjoy the taping! At around 6:50pm, they began calling the numbers and when they got to ours and were let inside, we were greeted by my favorite security guard! He looked at us and stated, “How would you feel about sitting in the front row today?” I think I felt ok with that! I let out a big YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! And we were given two front row seats!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!! We were seated right in front of the interview desk, so the seats were perfect. We had a great view of everything. Another very nice young woman sat next to us and we ended up getting into a conversation with her. She was a University of Virginia graduate, class of 2012. So, she missed seeing Stephen speak at her school by one year. She also stated she went to see him at the 92Y event in 2012, which I exclaimed, “Hey, me too!”
The wait was short and we were treated to a great warm-up comedian. At one point, he spoke to a family from Long Island whose neighbor is Bill O’Reilly. He tried to get out of the man his opinion of Bill, but he seemed to be hesitant. But that’s ok…it was time for the taping to start!
“I Want You To Want Me” begins to play and Stephen appears! He comes running out, circling the studio, high-fiving the crew…and then he begins to approach the front row! Here he comes! I put my left hand out…HIGH-FIVE!!!!! WOOOOOOOO!!!! Our hands touched! I was screaming hysterically, as was the entire audience, and I turn to Nicole and she is just ecstatic! As I continued to scream and jump around like I had a loose animal in my pants, this was the first of many times that Stephen and I made eye-contact (did I mention how great our seats were??) He had this giant, most glorious smile on his face, soaking in the adoration! A perfect start to a taping…
Stephen thanked us for coming out in this terrible weather and how much it is greatly appreciated. He then began to imitate a snowstorm, sounds and all. He also stated that he heard we were supposed to get another one on Wednesday. Yep, he heard correctly, because as I write this, I look out my window and I see more snow and ice! Whatever! Back to that night… I don’t think any of us minded the weather at that moment, because the audience was so enthusiastic. You can tell they were ready for a great time!
The Q&A only had three questions this time, but it’s because he spent a significant amount of time on each question, especially two of them.
1.) Which guest do you think will never come back on the show? Stephen, with a smile on his face, quickly said, as he looked at Mark, “Bill O’Reilly will probably never come back!” Everyone laughed and Mark said, “That’s Bill O’Reilly’s neighbor over there!” Perfect timing! Stephen goes into the audience, up the steps, to stand next to the family. Stephen inquires, “Do you know him? Is he a good neighbor?” More hesitant before, but more open now, the man stated, “He is not very nice!” Woops! He went on to say that he is not nice at church and doesn’t shake the people’s hands around him during that part of the mass. He just looks straight ahead. Stephen replied, “Oh, during the ‘peace be with you?’ Well, that’s not very Christian of him.” He then turned around and headed back to the main floor.
2.)I don’t recall the exact wording of the question, but it was on the order of what is something you would like to do and haven’t done yet? In other words, is there anything on your “I want to accomplish this” list? Stephen responded, “Yes, everything!” He went on to say he didn’t expect to be doing this. He said they were originally signed to do 32 episodes and he never thought it would last beyond that point. He told people not to purchase any expensive furniture for his office, thinking they would be done by the end of the year. However, here it is, over 1,300 episodes later (he stated the exact number) and we are still here! Everyone began to cheer, to which Stephen replied, “I hope you are clapping for my organs, which are like leather now!” Awwwww! He stated that they (Comedy Central/Viacom) continues to want him, so he will happily stay. He emphasized how he is happy to experience new things on a daily basis and is very appreciative of what he gets to do now.
3.)The young lady that we were conversing with earlier then asked a question. Well, made a statement. She stated that she was at the 92Y and loved seeing him there. Stephen asked, “Which time was this? I’ve been there more than once.” She couldn’t remember the interviewers name, so she said it was the event for his book and the one that included the book signing. Stephen replied, “Oh, you mean Ken Burns.” She exclaimed, “Yeah, that’s it. That guy.” Stephen teased her, “Yeah, that guy. Whatever!” He went on to say, “Ok, that was a statement. Do you have a question?” She told him that she graduated from UVA in 2012 and even though he spoke in 2013, the class of 2012 was the best! Stephen replied, “That’s fine but I’m still waiting for a question.” HA!! So, she asked about the Wonderful Pistachios commercial and how much input he had in it. Ok, that was a good question!! Stephen stated that when they asked him to be in the commercial, he said he would do it, only if they would allow his head to crack open like a pistachio! They were very happy and open with that idea, so they went with it. He described the process of them making the head, how it was in multiple layers, and they made various models. They pained his face green, put dots all over it, etc. It was a long process but he enjoyed it greatly!
An aside, she later said to me, “I hope I didn’t take up too much time. I didn’t mean to.” And I completely believe her. She just seemed so excited to be able to talk to him and couldn’t think of the correct things to say at that moment. But, in the end, she did ask a great question!
Ok, it was time for the taping to begin and the usual things occurred: make-up, hair, Stephen caressing hairdresser’s hair, wrist-strong toss, followed by the knife. The usual’s approached his desk and began to speak with him. Early in the conversation, I don’t know what he was he was speaking about, but you could clearly see him say “mother-f****r.” But he was laughing, so whatever it was, it couldn’t be bad. Once they finished conversing, he continued to sing along to”Fell in Love with a Girl.” After, he stated that there would be no table of contents because there were too many jokes and they never want to cut out those.
For the most part, there weren’t many blunders. The couple of times they had to redo things were not because Stephen flubbed a line, but were because of silly things, basically out of his control. Let me explain…
Right before “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger,” his chair collapsed and it was too low. You basically saw his shoulders, his neck and his head. And he aptly responded that this was not going to work. It was so comical! He was able to fix the chair again, so it didn’t look as if he had lost a significant potion off of his height! He asked to go back to the part where he was speaking of the “Boston Marriage,” so the audience would have a chance to get into the scene again. He repeatedly said to the person who was controlling the prompter, “keep going, keep going, keep going.” He had to have said this at least ten times, but was very calm! The entire audience was laughing and cheered when they finally got to the correct point.
In between this break, Stephen danced in his chair to Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope,” with the cutest smirk on his face.
After “Tip/Wag,” when the show returned from the commercial break part, the audience VERY enthusiastically welcomed him back! Cheering, hooting, screaming, stomping…you name it, we were doing it! He started to speak and he began to choke on his saliva. He quickly took a drink of something (I’m guessing water) out of that white bottle with his picture on it he always has. He started to laugh and stated, “I’m choking on my saliva. Sorry. We will just do this over again.” So, they asked us to cheer Stephen in again, back from the commercial break. And just like the first time, the audience cheered, hooted, screamed and stomped. We were unstoppable!!
Afterwards, Stephen met with his team and waited for the interview segment to begin. He sang along to the song playing, but unfortunately, I have no idea what it was. Right before this, as Stephen was conversing with his team at the desk, I saw Jennifer Senior, the night’s guest, come out and sit down at the interview table. The first thing I noticed: NERVES! Boy, did she look nervous! Not a scared nervous look, but an, “I’m so nervous, I can’t sit still and I really hope this doesn’t read all over my face even though it probably does” nervous. Again, we were sitting directly in front of the interview section, so we had a perfect view. You could see all of Stephen’s expressions so clearly. They left in a large portion of the interview, actually.
After the interview, he went back to his desk, met with his team and then proceeded to pull out a bottle of hand sanitizer and pump some onto his hands. Everyone laughed and Stephen stated, “She said she had a child. You know how children carry lots of germs!” He began to laugh! He then stated that he had to redo a line because the sound didn’t take well enough. It was one of the lines during the Pope Francis scene. He said it a few ways, changing the inflection each time. He then did the closing scene and that was it.
He stated he had time for one last question. He called on someone, who asked, “I am here with my father visiting New York City. Where should we eat tonight?” He looked quite excited and enthused to answer this question. He said, “First of all, stay close” (referring to the weather). He then suggested the restaurant, Taboon. He said it was two blocks away on 52nd street, right down 10th avenue. He said it’s a great Israeli restaurant and he made a few food recommendations. Unfortunately, I don’t remember some of what he said, but I do remember him saying “the black iron shrimp,” so I got one! He also warned them that since it’s Monday night, they have live music (and imitated someone playing a guitar). “So, don’t expect to have an intimate conversation tonight,” he told them. HA!! I actually love this type of cuisine and often go to another restaurant in New York City with a similar menu, so I’m glad he recommended it to them! I want to try it now, myself! Thanks, Stephen! He thanked us all for coming and that was it!
Suffice to say, my friend Nicole had the time of her life! As we left the studio and started to walk down the block, she already started to plan how she wants to come back again in six months and watch the show every night from this point forward! HA!! Wonderful! I knew she was going to love it and I’m so glad she did!
So, another successful taping! I hope you enjoyed my Taping ReporT. Join me again in six months when I write my next one, because you know, I will be there!