On President’s Day weekend I took a day trip to the Big Apple. However, this wasn’t your typical Fairfield student trip to the city. My roommate Erin and I had the amazing opportunity to attend a taping of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. You’re probably thinking, “oh wow, how could these two average Fairfield students get the chance to see Stephen Colbert live and in the flesh?” After watching countless YouTube clips of every late-night show imaginable, it only made sense to scavenge the internet to find out how we might get lucky enough to obtain a ticket to any late-night show taped in New York City. 

After the research Erin and I did, we were led to a website by the name of “1iota”. “1iota” provides users the opportunity to join waitlists for daytime talk shows, late-night shows, sitcoms and more! We put ourselves on every waitlist for tapings in New York and, lo and behold, we were chosen to go see Stephen’s show on Feb. 20! 

The taping of “The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert” was like nothing I could have ever imagined. Erin and I waited outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater, located slightly outside of Times Square, for 40 minutes where we obtained stylish red wristbands. We felt exclusive and very official. When we entered the building, we were greeted by hospitable staff and crew who led us to our seats. 

Before Mr. Colbert started his show, a comedian by the name of Paul Mecurio ran out to get the crowd hyped up! Following the hilarious comedy act, The Late Show Band serenaded us with upbeat songs that got us all jamming. Whilst the band got us moving and grooving, out of nowhere Stephen Colbert came running on and started dancing to the beat. It was truly a shocking moment to set eyes on him. Immediately, he started interacting with us, even letting the audience ask him questions! He was a very kind and welcoming host. 

The show taping was not as I expected. It started with Stephen Colbert’s cold open which was shown on the monitors. Following the cold open, the cameras cut right into Stephen’s monologue. Some insider info: he messed up a snippet of his monologue and restarted one part. He made us all chuckle by saying, “don’t put that on Twitter!” After his silly monologue, he wandered over to his desk where he and a producer chatted and wrote on his notecards while the band played. 

Stephen started the show with a bit between him and a writer which helped set the tone of the show. After the opening bit, the first guest entered. The highly anticipated guest of the evening was the one and only Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately, he was not wearing his mittens, but he and Stephen were loving each other nonetheless. Something that I learned about taping a late-night show is that they do the full interview first, followed by Stephen recording the outro to the commercial break twice, and then filming an intro to return from the commercial break. Stephen lets the guest talk for roughly fifteen uninterrupted minutes, longer than the segment would air on live TV. They film the commercial transitions after this longer segment, and edit them later in what they call “post-production”. Never would I have thought I would watch Stephen Colbert’s interview with Bernie Sanders, I can check that one off the bucket list!  

Taping of late-night shows usually consists of a musical guest, however, on this night they had pre-taped their musical guest a week in advance. Instead of watching an artist’s performance, Stephen brought out another guest by the name of Hank Azaria who is an actor in the Apple TV show, “Hello Tomorrow”. Since Frank’s interview wasn’t airing until Thursday night, the show taping ended right after his interview. Stephen bid us farewell and we all exited the theater grinning ear to ear.

This was truly an amazing experience! If you ever find yourself wanting to take a trip to NYC, put yourself on a waitlist on “1iota.” Make a day out of it with your friends, you will make lasting memories and have a great story to tell!

About The Author

Junior | Opinion Editor | Communication major and Digital Journalism minor

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