Confession: I love the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I am a major fan of all things entertainment, and since episode 1 of the show, I have been a fan of how Jimmy Fallon has completely reinvented the Tonight Show and brought it to a newer generation.
Back in May, my best friend and I took our senior trip to New York City. After weeks of hovering over Facebook and the Tonight Show website, I had scored us two tickets to the Wednesday, May 14th taping. That day has gone down as one of my favorite adventure memories.
We arrived at the NBC Experience Store around 2:30pm that afternoon and were escorted up the shiny staircase into an old cafe where we were about the 15th and 16th in line. We waited there for about an hour until we check in, got our awesome Tonight Show wrist bands, and then were escorted back into the beautiful lobby of Rockefeller Center. We were told to go to the bathroom and meet back at a different part of the building at a set time.
After spending the next hour or so at Starbucks (where else?), Dakota and I found our meeting location and waited with the other 20 or so people who shared our group letter. I’ve never felt so much tension and excitement in my life as we waited in the hallway to be let up the elevators into the studio. But…I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. After debating whether or not to try to risk my place in line, I finally sweet talked the security lady into letting me out of line and back into line. Once I was back, I was ready for the Tonight Show.
Promptly at about 4:45pm, they sent our group up the elevator and into another holding area and behind the doors was Studio 6B, the home of the Tonight Show. After another spill about absolutely no phones, photography, or recording, they opened the doors and let us in small groups down the newly built studio audience seats. An usher took Dakota and myself down the aisle…and down the aisle…and down the aisle until he pointed to our seats ON THE FRONT ROW.
We could barely contain our excitement as we took our seats on the squeaky red vinyl seats and waited for the rest of the audience to quickly fill in the remaining 300 or so seats. The studio was neat, it was cool, and was much smaller than I imagined. I took in every aspect of it. From the writers desk right in front of us, to the handwritten cue cards propped against the railing. After everyone was in, a rather crude comedian came out to warm up the audience. It was clear Dakota and I were the loudest and the rowdiest in the crowd (go figure!). After several jokes, the opening act welcomed the legendary Roots (Jimmy’s band) and they played a warm up show that was absolutely incredible. (Seriously–I was ready to buy their album after hearing it.)
After the Roots performed and took their places on the right of the stage, Steve Higgins, the Tonight Show announcer, came out to thunderous applause. It was time for the Tonight Show to official begin. The 10-second countdown started. The studio went dark. And the Roots kicked off.
“From Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center in the heart of New York City, It’s the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon..”
After the intro, from behind the blue curtain came the man, the legend, Jimmy Fallon. The next hour and 15 minutes was totally a blur as Jimmy interviewed Maya Rudolph and Lily Allen performed. Honestly, the commercial breaks were funnier than the show with Jimmy interacting with Maya and Dakota yelling “yeah Jimmy!,” being pointed at by Jimmy, and then being scolded by a studio worker. Throughout the whole time, I could not help but smile and enjoy every moment of watching The Tonight Show unfold live in front of me.
Just as quickly as it began, it seemed like it was time for it to end. Jimmy ran through the crowd for the closing credits, shook my hand, and then was gone. The comedian came back out as they took the studio audience out section by section. We were the last section to leave and as we ascended the staircase, I was so glad that I got the chance to be at a taping of the Tonight Show.