Jon Stewart and I.

Christine! Is it me you're looking for? (To be sung to the tune of 'Hello' by Lionel Richie)

A couple of months ago I was cruising around the website of The Daily Show when I saw tickets were available for the filming of the June 13 show, conveniently the day I would be in New York.

Fast forward to the future! Which is now the past! But earlier today was the present!

WOOSH… (that’s the sound of time travel)

I arrive at the studios of The Daily Show around 3pm. The show is overbooked so you have to get there super early to ensure your seat. I get there super early. I ensure my seat.

I retire to the park across the road, manage a quick phone call with the parentals with whom I have not been able talk to since, you may recall, they spent the night on the run from quakes and shakes. (Update: they’re doing ok – were off to check the damage this morning.)

Around 5:30pm, we are led into the studios. There is a full briefing from Security about no cellphones, no cameras, no weapons (although you can check your weapons in and retrieve them after the show if you accidentally bring your flamethrower along, apparently, so long as you have photo id. I don’t even know if that’s a joke), no eating, no marriage proposals, no leaving for the toilet, no ‘personal agendas’. We go through security like it’s the airport, leaving our personal agendas at the door. This thing is a military operation.

I am seated in the back, left-hand corner of the studio. Paul Mecurio (not Paul Mecurio, although I could defo have gone some strictly ballroom) is the warm-up act and he does a great job getting the crowd laughing. In particular, he forms a warm rapport with a sassy 95 year old Jewish woman in the front row who gives as good as she gets (and starts pimping out her granddaughter and grandson as potential marriage material).

Once we are sufficiently warm and clappy, Paul brings in Jon Stewart. The crowd genuinely goes wild.

As is custom at the start of his shows, Jon takes a few Q & As before the cameras start rolling and the broadcast show starts proper.

A girl asks him his favourite place to go in NYC to eat (Murray’s bagels is good apparently). There’s the standard comment about topical issue Weiner-gate. Most questions get a quick one-liner in response.

I had earlier asked the advice of fellow Facebooksters about what question I should ask if the opportunity arise. The suggestions included:

Ask him why the hell Comedy Central took his show (and Colbert’s) off the air in NZ. Is he too high brow for us???

A good question Brenton but I didn’t think I could adequately convey the requisite three question marks.

Tell him I love him and he makes American politics bearable. I am actually too jealous for words.

Technically not a question Cat, but true all the same.

Ask him why his show isn’t daily… The Saturday to Monday stretch is an empty void in my life.

This question has a lot of merit Rachel.

I just died, you just killed me…Well if I was still alive, and somehow managed to get dailyshow.com on the one day when they actually had seats going, and managed to get close enough to him, I’d probly giggle like a teenager, ask him to shake my hand, and then never wash it again, so maybe just ask him his fave food cart in NYC, sounds less creepy… 

Not much less creepy, Ara… Also, Murray’s Bagels, apparently. Stalk him there…

Ask him how Colbert is in bed! Then if they would both like to join you after the show.

I’m staying on an airbed on the floor of a kitchen in a sublet in Brooklyn, Rose. Plus I’m more of an MFF kinda gal.

My opportunity arises. I ask him the following:

I’m from New Zealand. We have a general election later in the year. Do you have any observations or advice from America to offer us?

He didn’t offer advice as such but he asked questions of me, which I duly answered about our political system (Westminster-style Parliamentary democracy – is that right?), about the main parties, what the big issues were going to be in the election (can’t remember what I said – asset sales maybe? Lame.), what is the most amusing political party and why (zombie Don Brash back from the dead)…

We talked back and forth for awhile. You know, as you do.

And then it was over and it was time to film the show. The cameras start rolling and we’re away!

The show itself is pretty tightly scripted from what I can tell. The one exception to the pre-scripting is his opening monologue off the top, in which he traditionally makes reference to one of the questions from the pre-show.

And tonight it is mine!

I don’t know if it will make it to broadcast but it was pretty cool nonetheless.

[Update: turns out it did.]

The show was filmed very smoothly (only one re-take when they decided a bit wasn’t funny enough so they re-wrote the jokes) and was all over by 7pm.

After the cameras stopped rolling, Jon thanked the audience, referenced the NZ conversation once again and invited me back to let everyone know how the election worked out.

A good day.

——————-

Share with the class:

Have you ever been at a live filming of a TV show (yes – Son of a Gunn Show counts)? Tell me about your experiences!

What TV show would you love to see filmed?

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About maximumbrooks

Christine is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. She improvises regularly at venues around town and dabbles in other things that interest her. She likes mango sorbet, monkeys and, apparently, throwing caution to the wind.
This entry was posted in Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Jon Stewart and I.

  1. Charlotte says:

    I went to Friends and 3rd Rock from the Sun when they were both on TV. Also The Late Late Show back when it was Craig Kilborn, not Ferguson. Twice. My friend was an intern on that show and one show Andy Roddick was the guest. We went for the cookies in the green room at the same time and I told him to take it easy on the cookies he’d get fatl. Don’t think that went down very well.

  2. Ashley says:

    Good story A++ would read again.

  3. Robbie says:

    Made it to the web at least:
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-13-2011/intro—new-zealand-politics

    I’ve been to two TV studio tapings:
    – Face The Music (TV2) at TVNZ Hobson St (Auckland), 1992 or 1993. It was a cheesy music-based game show hosted by Simon Barnett in his post-What Now and pre-More FM Christchurch days. There was also an American keyboardist called Dwayne somebody-or-other, I think it turned out years later he was a paedophile.
    – Media7 (TVNZ 7) at The Classic (Auckland), 2008. I’ve been a podcast subscriber from the beginning, it’s a shame it may well not survive the demise of TVNZ 7. If I lived in Auckland I’d probably go to a lot more tapings, not least because there’s a bar tab.

    Radio is far less complicated by the way, no make-up or bollocks like that.

  4. Robbie says:

    Actually I add a third:
    – Some sugar-high show I didn’t recognise or catch the name of (Nickelodeon) at Universal Studios, Los Angeles, 1998. I found it hard to get excited, I was 13 and unimpressed with everything in the world. The hosts had way too much energy.

  5. Steven says:

    Awesome Brooks. Pure Awesome.
    So proud right now! 🙂

  6. Looks like you even made the news here. This isn’t meant to be offensive, but I don’t know how. Shows our small countryness.

    Anyways I went to the Letterman show when I was in NYC, completely random, got given tickets on the street. I was a bit excited, but it was one of the most staged events I have ever attended. We were in the second row, which were good seats, but there were so many do’s and don’ts, we ever saw someone get ejected for not laughing enough! Plus Letterman isn’t actually that funny. Daily Show would would been much better methinks.

  7. Hayley says:

    Back in 2000 I went to two filmings of Friends (a show I was obsessed with in a way that only teenagers can be). Both were episodes that Bruce Willis was in, and Meg Ryan was hanging about for some reason too. Because my friend had bad eyesight we got to sit in front of the bleachers, right on the floor in front of Central Perk.

    And then there was a school trip to Sale of the Century. We got to see a real life Steve Parr slide 😉

  8. Jens Dad says:

    I’ve been on Toy Voy too you know.

  9. Gemma says:

    Wow, awesome. George is very, very excited that you got to talk to Jon Stewart. We saw the clip before we knew it was you and thought it was cool then. And now? Time to celebrate at Phu Thai.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I like the way you express the whole journey including calls to crossing parks.

  11. Pingback: You have a choice. | maximumbrooks

  12. Turk says:

    Wait, I cannot fathom it being so strgaihftroward.

  13. wild birds says:

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    Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did,
    the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

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