Friday, January 9, 2009

Chunky B, Craig, and Santa Monica

Good news (so far) - I'm pretty sure there wasn't a shooting last night in our Santa Monica motel.

We made it from Santa Barbara (literally, "Saint Bobby") to Hollywood with time to kill before the show started, so we ate at a fine place on 3rd called Fiddlers Bistro (for the benefit of DAK, who knows way too much about the LA area) and watched some sweaty guys play basketball at some park or other. Our tickets said to show up no later than 3 PM, but didn't give a "no earlier than" time. 

We showed up at 2 and were told to come back at 2:30. At 2:30 we parked and were directed out to a line on the sidewalk - there were maybe 20 people ahead of us. And thus began our sojourn of 2 hours and 45 minutes to watch the taping of a 1 hour show. (Bad weather would have made this pretty miserable. It was quite nice though.)

2:30 - got in line on a sidewalk outside the CBS fence. 

2:45 - started in towards the building and had our "ID checked" - this check mostly involved you being willing to wave something colorful that might be a drivers license at a bored guy. I suspect if you looked too young they might actually look (you have to be 17 since there are a few bad words that get said and jokes that nice kids should not understand). We then stood there, waiting for our turn to go through security.

2:55 - we got our turn to walk through a metal detector. The Boy gave them some trouble with his crutches and knee brace, but it all worked out OK. They are extremely strict about no cell phones or cameras, and mentioned this maybe 50 times. (The pictures above were taken afterwards, in the parking lot, which still technically violated their rules. It was too late for them to throw us out though.)

3:00 - took our seats on the number 3 bench (still outside though). Just before we headed through security, some guy asked us if we are Craig fans. Duh. He then asks how many of us there are and writes the number 3 on all of our wrists. I believe he was sorting the perkier and prettier people from the scarier people - the couple in front of us ended up on the number 5 bench (the last one) and the number 1 bench seemed to have nicer, less threatening people. We were moderates I guess.

3:20 - people are still going through security and we are still sitting on the bench. We are told "Go to the bathroom now if you need to since you won't be able to later. And buy some souvenirs from the small gift shop sort of thing that's there. But make it quick, we are going in soon!" Sure.

3:35 - a pre warm-up guy comes to get us whipped into a frenzy. Going in soon!

3:50 - finally, we are going into the building! We had to climb up 5 (!) flights of stairs. This was probably to cull the weak from the herd. At the top of the stairs we form lines. Again.

4:00 - finally we are in the studio! It is very cold and a whole bunch smaller than it looks on TV. Chunky B, a comedian that wears an Elvis suit, warms us up and throws candy at us. He points out that we are not an audience, but "show enhancers." He also points out that all of the other shows like this have around 400 people in the audience, but Craig is limited to 113. So we need to sound like 400.

4:20 - Craig comes out! I had expected a bit of banter and such, but he pretty much just jumps right into the monologue. (If you watch the show, he does the puppet monkey thing actually after the monologue so that his set is arranged correctly. It is a small area he has to work with.)

5:15 - it's over and we are herded out.

The show was great and it was a lot of fun, but there was a lot of standing and sitting around. The show itself went really fast since they do not actually have to wait for commercials and such. Also, there was a "TV's Prince Charles" bit that had been pre-taped that we did not get to see.

In any case, we are at a motel called the Sea Shore Motel in Santa Monica. It seems pretty nice (other than not being on the sea shore) and we might try to stay an extra night here. It warmed up pretty nicely yesterday and is supposed to be warmer today.

Good fun!

That's it - move along...


mary ann said...

Great report, glad everything is working out so smoothly...

DAK said...

You're in Santa Monica? Drive to the Adamson House in Malibu to see tiles like you've never seen before in an amazing location. 20 minutes away. Sounds like you've already been to Venice to see the sweaty basketball players and weight lifters but go if you haven't been yet. 15 minutes the other way. Enjoy my old home town but only drive between midnight and 4am.

Photocrazy said...

I went to the Tonight Show twice in 1992 and 1993 when I was in LA visiting my cousin. The first time Jay was sub-hosting for Johnny and the next year when we went, it was the first day that Jay, who was now officially the host, taped on the remodeled set. When he took over they used a different sound stage until they remodeled the regular set. I was kinda disappointed that I never go to see Carson in person, but I do love Jay.

We had to leave her house by 5am to get to NBC to get in line by 6am, there were still people ahead of us. They opened the ticket box at 8am and we got our tickets and then went to do other thing until about 1pm. People were already lined up when we got there about 1pm. We stood in the hot August sun from 1:00 until about 3pm. Then we went into the building and had access to the store and restrooms then stand in line again. We were in our seats in time for the 4pm taping to start. When we attended the show, the commercials were run and we could see the national commercials on the monitors, the ads for the local stations were not shown but they still waited the time allotted for the commercials. It took the whole hour to do the show, it was just as it was when it played later that night.

This was a good sized studio, but even if you have tickets that does not guarantee you will get in. It depends on how many people are invited by the guests, that is why everyone lines up so early. I know one day we were toward the end of the line of people who were let into the area there were many who were not let in.

On our way to the first show we saw, Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing a radio interview as we were driving to get the tickets. I told my cousin, I wouldn't go across the street to see him. I guess you know what happened. We were talking to a lady in line who had a newspaper. She said let's see who we will get to see today on the show and of course the first guest was Arnold! How is that for irony? I don't remember who the other guest was but the musical guest was Itzhak Perlman, the great violinist.

The next year was the same except the guests were Clint Eastwood and the B52's.

Going to these shows is an all day event for the most part. The second year I was there was the last year that Cheers was taping. I again stood in line forever and 2 people before I got to the end of the line got the last of the tickets for Cheers. I had extended my stay just to go to the taping. I ended up going to see Different World, the spin off from The Cosby Show.

I found this site by Googling Chunky B, he was just on The Doctors and he has lost weight. I thought he was Craig's warm-up guy. I hope someday to get back down that way and see his show.