Yes, a lot of people opt for the touristy stuff when visiting New York—like climbing the Statue of Liberty, even sailing around the entire island—but something really cool that could land you on TV and in the eyeline of major celebrities—something really cool that makes your friends envious is being part of an exclusive NYC television audience.
Here’s the skinny on some of your favorite NYC shows:
Saturday Night Live
From Chris Rock to Tina Fey to Will Ferrell, Saturday Night Live continues to crank out insanely talented comedic actors. Attending a live taping is absolutely one of the coolest things you can do in New York next to seeing your ancestor’s signature on Ellis Island. In the halls of SNL you’ll see vintage photographs of actors in those magical moments that have become part of pop culture history. Standby tickets (one per person) are distributed at 7am on the day of the show at West 49th St. (entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza). Ask for a ticket to either the dress rehearsal (8pm) or the live show at 11:30pm. Requests for advance tickets (two per applicant) must be submitted by email only in August to snlticketsnbcuni.com. Recipients are determined by lottery. To attend the show you must be 16 or older.
Live! With Kelly (and now Michael too)
With an electric roster of guests that’s ranged from ping-pong champions to the Twilight Breaking Dawn cast—the demand is so hot that tickets can be mailed up to a year in advance. Tickets are available online around a month in advance and standby tickets become available weekdays at 7am in the ABC Studios on the Upper West Side (7 Lincoln Square, corner of W. 67th St. and Columbus Ave.) Call this number for more info: 212.456.3054
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon has done it all with his amazing talents as musician, singer, actor, comedian and gregarious talk show host. Plus, with his mega hot house band as the Roots, he’s got a steady rotation of Hollywood’s most elite in music, acting, and comedy. For tickets, try the Ticket Information Line for a max. of 4 tickets (about one month in advance). Single standby tickets are available on taping days—Monday thru Friday at West 49th Street on the side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (arrive before 9am). The ticket info line is: 212.664.3056, or check www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com
Good Morning America
Hosting the ever-popular early morning news and entertainment show are Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. And like a hit of espresso, they power you for the day with a glimpse of events around the world and a new way of looking at it all. GMA airs live, weekdays from 7-9am and ticket requests (online only) can be sent four to six months in advance. The show airs at 7 Times Square at W. 44th St. and Broadway in Midtown.
The Late Show with David Letterman
Known for his nutty top-10 lists and zany humor, Letterman has kept people laughing for more than 20 years. To request tickets in advance (max. of 2), you can submit an online request or fill out an application in person at the theater. For standby tickets, call 212.247.6497 starting at 11am on tape days which are Monday thru Thursday. Be aware—you may need to answer Letterman-type trivia to secure your ticket. The Ed Sullivan Theater is located at 1697 Broadway between 53rd and 54th Streets.