Heather Visits Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

OK – I can now officially die a happy woman.

On Thursday October 10th, I was able to cross another item off my pop culture bucket list by being an audience member for one of my favorite shows, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Even if you read the blog sporadically, it is hard to miss my infatuation with this show since I seem to work in multiple references a week to my pal Jimmy and The Roots. The show just makes me tremendously happy and I was ridiculously excited to get to see it live. This was actually my second attempt to see the show; I had tickets for July that a friend graciously was able to secure for me, but unfortunately work conflicts meant that I was unable to go. Having already used up that favor, this time I got tickets the old fashioned way and called repeatedly when tickets were announced to be available on Twitter. I was lucky that I had received preemptive approval from my boss to take off whatever day I got tickets. Have I mentioned that my boss is the best? I was so excited to go that I couldn’t sleep the night before – I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.

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Having gone to see The Daily Show earlier in the summer, I had some vague familiarity with the ticket process. You don’t actually get tickets for the show ahead of time, but receive them the day of the show after waiting in line. There is always a chance that you won’t get a ticket, as they give out more reservations than there are seats to ensure a full crowd. Every show does it differently, however, and there turned out to be a fairly different procedure for Late Night than I anticipated. The first major change was that we waited for our tickets inside; while I wound up sitting on a NYC sidewalk when I went to see The Daily Show, this time I was inside the NBC digital café and was shielded from the elements. This was much appreciated and kudos to the fans of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report that wait outside for hours in December and January. Because the line is inside, NBC has more control over it and they will not let a line form before they are ready. This I was unprepared for and I arrived early to make sure that I could get a good spot in line, so I had some time to kill waiting for the official waiting to begin. Thankfully, there was a big screen TV to watch in the café, so I spent some time kicking back and watching Days of Our Lives. Sadly, I discovered later that while I was watching the exploits of the residents of Salem, Paul McCartney was holding a free pop-up concert close by in Times Square. I was plenty disappointed – that would have been pretty awesome to see.

Around 2:30, they finally let us get into line. We were assured that everyone with a reservation would get a ticket, though I was a little bummed out by this process as it didn’t reward people who had gotten there early. Because the room was so small and had gotten so crowded, the line was really a well-organized mob. Though I had been there since around 1, I was toward the back of the line simply because the line started forming on the other side of the room and I happened to be in what turned out to be a bad position. It wasn’t the end of the world – it’s a small studio so any seat is really a fine seat – but I’ll know for next time that unlike The Daily Show, the early bird does not necessarily get the worm in this case. But even this potentially poor pole position wasn’t going to damper my mood – I was going to see Jimmy!!!!! I was so excited that I had to have them repeat the next steps for me; once I had the ticket in my hand I just couldn’t focus.

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Once I received my ticket, I had some time to kill before we could line up again to go into the studio. Since we only had a little over an hour before we needed to reassemble, I decided to explore Rockefeller Center. Shopping bags were not permitted in the studio so I couldn’t buy anything, but I had fun wandering around the nearby shops (you know that I spent some time in the LEGO store!). While I was strolling about, I noticed a camera crew filming in one of the elevators banks in 30 Rock. Curious, I decided to stick around to see what was going on – I thought there was a possibility that Jimmy was filming a bit for the show and perhaps I could catch a glimpse of him. I couldn’t really get a good angle to see what they were doing, but when the filming was done, it turned out to be none other than Vanilla Ice! I have no idea what they were filming, but it was truly a random celebrity sighting. I was embarrassed that I recognized him so quickly; that info really should have been purged from my brain in the 90s.

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At 4 pm it was finally time to line up to be taken to the studio; while we were waiting to go in, representatives from the show pulled a lot of young people out of line to ask them to fill in the band bench seats during the musical act. These are the people that you see standing on the sides of the stage during the performance; you are really close to the band, but the tradeoff is that you sit in the back of the audience for the show. The women in line around me were outraged that I wasn’t chosen for this since I was “young.” I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I was closer to their age than the people that they were pulling out of line. I honestly had no interest in being in the band seats; at this point of the day, my feet were in complete agony (knee high boots & NYC sidewalks are not a great match) and the thought of having to stand for any prolonged period of time was not at all appealing. I also didn’t care at all for the musical guests (Jeff Beck and Brian Wilson) so I don’t know how enthusiastic I could pretend to be. I was perfectly happy to not be picked, though it was flattering that people thought I should have been selected.

The fact that I went to the show by myself worked in my favor, as I still wound up with really great seats because they had to fill in the crowd. I lucked out that there was one empty seat in the second row, so despite the fact that I was one of the later “groups” to be seated, I still got some prime real estate. While we waited for everyone to be situated and for the show to start, we got to watch video of some of the sketches and bits from previous episodes. From the response of the crowd, it was easy to determine who in the audience watch the show regularly and who doesn’t. Those that had seen the sketches before merely chuckled, while to some this was obviously something that they were seeing for the first time based on how hard they were laughing. Taking a look around the crowd, it was far more diverse than I would have anticipated. There were people of all ages in the audience and a fair amount of racial diversity as well. Everyone loves Jimmy.

Comedian Seth Herzog came out to warm up the crowd; I recognized him as he is often featured in many of the sketches that the show does. This warm up was a lot different from The Daily Show, as he didn’t really tell many jokes and only gave us the most basic instructions on how to behave. When I went to see The Daily Show, they made us practice our response to make sure that we were loud and enthusiastic enough; at Late Night they were way more relaxed about the whole thing. We were encouraged to react to anything we found funny and to be energetic, but it wasn’t so regimented. Plus we didn’t get yelled at, unlike my experience at The Daily Show. Late Night doesn’t “juice” the audio for the show, but they do have an applause sign that they flash when they need a big reaction. Maybe because they have that to rely on they don’t stress out as much about it. After the basic procedures were outlined, two audience members were chosen to have a dance off, which was fun (mostly because I wasn’t chosen – that would have been a nightmare). Unlike The Daily Show, we were forbidden to take any photos of the set and Jimmy didn’t come out to see the crowd (boo to both). Our first time seeing him would be when he came out from behind the curtain.

The Roots, however, did come out early and did a little jam session for us to get us ready for the taping. They were fabulous, as expected, and it was really cool to get to see Questlove live and in person. I was unprepared for just how loud they were – since it was a small studio, it was very easy for them to overpower us. Higgins, Jimmy’s Ed McMahon, came out and said hello and cracked a few jokes and then we were ready for the show to begin! Hearing The Roots play the first notes of the theme song gave me goose bumps. We hooted and hollered as they went through the guests for the show (Katy Perry, Jessica Seinfeld and the aforementioned Beck and Wilson) and then it was time for the curtain to open and for Jimmy to come out……

…and suddenly, there he was! Jimmy Fallon and I were in the same room! It’s a miracle that I didn’t pass out.

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Because we were sitting so close, our row didn’t immediately realize that the rest of the audience was giving Jimmy a standing ovation, so we were a little late to the game. I wish we had been briefed that this was allowed or I would have been quicker to my feet. My slow response was of course not an indication of my excitement, but I still felt bad that we were a little behind the group.  Unbeknownst to us, there was a camera man shooting this from the back of the audience. I was able to find myself during the broadcast, so the back of my head was on national TV, which was exciting though being on TV has become old hat from Yankee games.

Jimmy told us all to sit down and launched into his monologue. I was sitting directly behind the guy holding the cue cards, so I was directly in Jimmy’s sight line. I knew that he didn’t actually see me and was reading the cue cards, but it still freaked me out a bit that he appeared to be staring at me. Prolonged eye contact makes me nervous. Several jokes in the monologue didn’t work very well – the first time Jimmy handed the cue card off to someone in the audience to commemorate the stinker. I was surprised to see that none of this made the broadcast – the monologue was edited to remove that entire section. I’ve seen jokes that bomb being left in before, but perhaps it was because this entire topic of jokes didn’t work they chose to remove it. Probably wouldn’t make for the best TV. This was the only rough patch in the monologue; the rest of the jokes went over very well. As a cat owner, I especially appreciated this one:

A new study found that dogs can actually feel genuine love for their owners. While cats just keep a journal of all the things they hate about you.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Since I was there on a Thursday, we got to see one of my favorite segments “Late Night Hashtags” where Jimmy reads some of the Tweets that people send on the topic he announced the day prior. I had toyed with the idea of participating that week since I knew I would be there when he read some of the Tweets, but decided against it in the million to one shot that he actually read my response while I was sitting in the audience. That would have just been too much for me to handle.

 

The first guest was Katy Perry, who was not performing but was there to promote her appearance on Saturday Night Live that weekend. The Roots played “Your Body is a Wonderland” when Perry entered, a nod to her boyfriend John Mayer. Perry came out in a weird school girl look that I didn’t think necessarily worked; she’s normally much prettier. I think it was the pigtails that were the problem.

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I was surprised to discover that Perry is a big fan of comedians. She listed Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Amy Sedaris as heroes of hers. I call B.S. on her assertion that she didn’t know what a box set is; Perry is about the same age as my brother and he’s heard of them.

 

Jimmy and Katy played a game in the second segment of the show and this time I was sad that I hadn’t been selected to participate. They played Taboo with two audience members, a game that I happen to be quite skilled in. Perry joked around a lot in this segment, pretending that the buzzer for the game was an electric razor. It was mildly amusing, but she probably shouldn’t quit her day job.

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This is the first time that I remember them playing Taboo on the show and it was a little rough around the edges. There was a lot of confusion as to when the contestants could start giving clues and for someone who said she played the game a lot, Perry seemed to not understand the basic rules of the game. The contestants from the audience weren’t that great at the game either – I guarantee that I could have gotten someone to guess ‘pop rocks’ if I was playing – but it was still fun and upbeat. During the “commercial break” Perry and Fallon taped some promos for larger markets. I’d never seen these promos before, as Albany is far from a large market.

Next up was a cooking segment with Jessica Seinfeld, wife of Jerry. She was frantically scanning the audience before the segment started, apparently because one of her kids had come out to watch the taping. I had to laugh over this – like anyone at NBC was going to lose a Seinfeld kid – but I guess that is a normal parental reaction. Not surprising, Jerry made an appearance during this segment; he’s been popping up at most of her appearances and though he wasn’t scheduled to be at Late Night, I was pretty sure that he would turn up. Let’s be honest – without the Seinfeld name attached to it, ain’t no one interested in this lady’s cookbooks. Jerry was awesome as always and certain livened up the interview. Cooking segments are tough, as the audience really can’t see what is happening, but Jerry is just so funny that this was easily my favorite part of the show. This was the second time that I saw Jerry in little over a week – perhaps Seinfeld is stalking me? My interest was piqued for his wife’s cookbook – it’s geared toward novice cooks and has instructional videos that you can play on your smart phone simply by taking a photo of the page. That’s something I might actually use.

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During the next “commercial” break, we were told to look under out seats for gloves. This made me a little nervous – why did we need gloves? It was definitely chilly in the studio, but the timing seemed weird. For half a second I was worried that they were going to be throwing something into the audience that we needed some protection from. My brain always goes to worst case scenario. I found my gloves and discovered that they had words on the palms: “Go” on the right and “USA” on the left.

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Ut oh. This smells vaguely Olympian. And you all know how I feel about the Olympics.

My instincts were right – Jimmy came out to tell us that we were filming a nationwide promo for the Winter Olympics on NBC. I was torn; it was very cool to be part of a segment that would be seen across the nation, but on the other side I felt like a sellout. It speaks to my love of Jimmy that I was able to swallow my pride and gleefully help promote a sporting event that I don’t particularly like. I’m convinced at this point that Jimmy could talk me into anything. Every time Jimmy said “Go” or “USA” we had to chant along with him and raise the corresponding hand. I have no idea if they will actually use the footage or when it will air, but I’m probably pretty visible given my perch in the second row. If anyone sees the promo, let me know.

It was now time for the musical act – as all the people from the back of the audience were moved to the band bench, we were cautioned not to spook Brian Wilson by yelling anything out. Wilson has a history of mental health issues and apparently can only perform under very controlled circumstances. I don’t know how smart it is for him to be out on the road given these problems, but more power to him for overcoming adversity. I honestly didn’t dig Wilson and Beck; the performance seemed very disjointed and the two of them didn’t really complement each other well. Wilson was joined on stage by former ex-Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks. I was more impressed with Jeff Beck, but the whole thing just wasn’t my cup of tea.

 

I would have rather seen THIS Brian Wilson:

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And with that, the show was over. Jimmy ran through the crowd to shake hands with people, but I was nowhere near the aisle and just had to watch other people get to touch him. Sadly, sitting on the aisle is luck of the draw and the luck wasn’t with me on that front. We discovered that Jimmy’s mom and dad had been in our audience, a fact that was kept quiet so they wouldn’t be bothered.  I was part of quite the celebrity audience: Ma and Pa Fallon and a Seinfeld offspring. Not too shabby.

Overall, the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon taping was much less structured and looser than The Daily Show. That’s probably partially due to their very different subject matters, but is also probably a result of Fallon’s background in sketch comedy on Saturday Night Live. There was more of a feeling of flying by the seat of their pants on Late Night, which was a little messier but also made the taping a little more relaxed. I would absolutely go to see Late Night again in a heartbeat; seeing the show live only served to further solidify my devotion to the show. I probably won’t make my way back to 30 Rock anytime soon, so I bought myself a little souvenir to tide me over until my next visit.

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Such an incredibly awesome day; if you get the chance to go to a taping you should absolutely take it – and invite me along!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Almost the Oscars edition

We’re in the home stretch – the Academy Awards are this Sunday. All I have left in my quest to see all of the Oscar nominated films are some foreign films and some documentaries. If everything goes according to plan, I think I am going to come up two movies short of my goal. It’s proven to be impossible to find the foreign film No and the documentary The Guardians. The closest that either film is playing is NYC and unless I want to take the day off to make the trip downstate (which I did actually consider), I think the dream may be dead. But still – I’ll come pretty darn close!

As I frantically try to find some Oscar screeners, enjoy your biweekly roundup of pop culture stories you may have missed:

  • A happy belated 75th birthday to author Judy Blume!
  • In honor of the season three finale (what did everyone think??), here’s the cast of Downton Abbey performing One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”

 

  • Maybe they were jealous of the attention that Jeopardy! has been receiving lately, but Wheel of Fortune decided to up their game with a dog on a scooter.

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  • The 2013 Bonnaroo line-up was announced yesterday. I want to go!
  • I hate Monopoly – it takes way too long and just isn’t much fun – but I might change my mind if I played this Breaking Bad version.
  • Check out Leonardo DiCaprio’s foreign ad for Jim Beam:

 

  • This is hilarious – Guy Fieri didn’t secure the full URL for his restaurant’s website, so someone else bought it and posted a parody menu. Well played.
  • Josh Duhamel and Fergie are expecting their first child; the singer announced the news on Twitter, using the hashtag #mylovelybabybump (which I have to admit is pretty cute).
  • The movie Lincoln inspired the state of Mississippi to finally ratify the 13th Amendment. They somehow hadn’t managed to get around to that yet. Who says pop culture can’t make a difference?
  • Listen to Mariah Carey’s new song from the upcoming film Oz the Great and Powerful (I’m not a fan – she sounds weird)

 

  • I don’t know that it was in doubt, but It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will be back for a ninth season.

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  • So, is everyone else watching The Following and kind of getting obsessed with it? Intellectually I have a ton of problems with the show, but damn it if it doesn’t manage to drag me in every Monday night.
  • SNL continues to be dreadful; I only made it about halfway through last week’s episode with Christoph Waltz. I did, however, really enjoy this digital short:
  • Whoo-boy. Things are not going well for Renee Zellweger. Lifetime just passed on her pilot Cinnamon Girl. Let that sink in for a moment. The network that gave us Liz & Dick passed on a pilot featuring an Oscar winner. I think we may have just found rock bottom.
  • The great Andre Braugher has joined Andy Samberg’s new police comedy pilot on Fox. The likelihood that I will tune in to this show if it goes to series just jumped to 100%.
  • It’s been a good couple of weeks for me – another one of my favorites joined a pilot. Josh Holloway (aka Sawyer on Lost) will star in the CBS drama Intelligence.
  • The New York Times Magazine has a long profile of blog favorite Connie Britton.
  • Sarah Michelle Geller will be starring opposite Robin Williams in a new sitcom.
  • Don’t cry for the B in Apt. 23 – Krysten Ritter landed a role in a pilot for NBC. Let’s hope James Van Der Beek has as smooth a transition.
  • PBS is trying to become the first nonprofit organization to reach one billion views on YouTube.

 

  • HBO may have pulled the plug on Luck, but it lives on in blog form. Added bonus – no horses can die online.
  • I guess they had a lot of fun filming Silver Linings Playbook; Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are reuniting with director David O. Russell on his next film (and holy hell – this film has an amazing cast!).
  • TV Land had become the go-to network for 90s sitcom stars. They have ordered a new comedy starring Kirstie Alley, Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards.
  • NBC’s new drama Hannibal will debut on Thursday April 4th.

 

  • Jerry Seinfeld stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman to do some stand-up:

 

  • Dean Norris (Hank to Breaking Bad fans) has been cast in the upcoming Stephen King miniseries, Under the Dome.
  • As an unabashed fan of The Golden Girls, I couldn’t pass up this collection of the 10 best musical numbers from the series.
  • The Strokes are back with a new song:

 

  • TV Duck has an infograph of 15 things you didn’t know about The Walking Dead.
  • My baseball husband Mark Teixiera made his Broadway debut in Rock of Ages. Check out video here.
  • The Discovery Channel is launching two new documentary series that focus on marijuana. The are calling the block of programming “Weed Wednesdays.”
  • And finally, a 60 second, live action version of the wonderful Wreck it Ralph:

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Blog’s Birthday Edition

It’s hard to believe it, but tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of As Heather’s World Turns. Time flies when you’ve having fun. In some ways I feel like I’ve been blogging forever, yet it also doesn’t feel like I’ve chronicled a year of my pop culture consumption.

To kick off the second year of As Heather’s World Turns, I’ve added some additional ways that you can keep up with the blog. The blog now has its own Twitter account (@AsHeathersWorldTurns) that you can follow and I’ve created a Facebook page for the blog. Both are a work in progress, but I’ll post and tweet all my new blog posts from these accounts as well as any interesting pop culture stories that I find throughout the week. So please feel free to follow and like respectively.

Now on to the pop culture stories you may have missed in the last two weeks:

  • ABC has pulled Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 from the schedule and there are no immediate plans to air the remaining episodes. Though there is no official word from the network, James Van der Beek tweeted that the show has “basically been cancelled.” ABC will air two episodes of Happy Endings on Tuesday nights until Dancing with the Stars begins in March.
  • I have discovered the website www.Citizenbrick.com that has customized Lego figures that bear a striking resemblance to some of my pop culture favorites. I’m guessing Omar Little and Walter White will find their way to my desk sometime soon.
  • A “lost” episode of Dexter’s Lab has been released; the episode never aired because of the excessive swearing (though it is all bleeped), so it’s NSFW and not especially kid friendly:

 

  • I thought this was cute – two fans of the show 30 Rock sat outside of Silvercup Studios to see if they could get members of the cast to high five them:

 

  • A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, centered around Klaus and the Originals, is in development. I will totally watch this.
  • In honor of the 25th anniversary of Die Hard, Fox Studies is unveiling a giant mural on their lot. Die Hard 5 (A Good Day to Die Hard) will be released February 14th.
  • I tuned in Monday night to watch Kevin Bacon’s new serial killer themed drama, The Following. I wasn’t completely bowled over – it was a bit clichéd, they really hit you over the head with the Edgar Allen Poe references and some of the supporting cast isn’t very good – but there was enough there that I’ll tune in for a while to see where it goes.
  • Kris Kross is reuniting. That makes me want to jump, jump.
  • Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, featured on the program Ace of Cakes, made a pretty cool cake for President Obama’s inauguration.
  • I was also sad to hear that Conrad Bain, Mr. Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes, passed away.
  • Jerry Seinfeld and the rapper Wale will collaborate. I don’t get it either, but I’m intrigued.

Tina Fey takes you on a tour of Liz Lemon’s office.

 

  • Proving why he is awesome, Michael J. Fox admits that he wouldn’t be thrilled if his son dated Taylor Swift. Apparently Fox later apologized to Swift because she said he reached out to her and thanked her fans for “having her back” – against a fifty year old man with Parkinson’s. Taylor Swift is the worst; thanks for nothing Kanye. You created this monster.
  • In other TNT news, they have picked up a Rebecca Romjin PI drama and a pilot for a Geena Davis bounty hunter show.
  • My pal Michael K. Williams will play Ol’ Dirty Bastard in an upcoming film. Check out his skills on Brooklyn Zoo at a recent benefit show (NSFW). I wasn’t impressed.

 

  • My prediction about what would happen on American Horror Story: Asylum came true.
  • I love Jennifer Lawrence, but last week’s episode of SNL wasn’t good.
  • You can check out a very cool version of the script for Moonrise Kingdom here.
  • I was pleasantly surprised with the new Jim Jefferies comedy, Legit. It was mostly material from his stand-up, so I’m curious what the show will be like once it features more original material.
  • Marcia Gay Harden will replace Rosemarie DeWitt on The Newsroom.
  • And finally…..enjoy this Toy Story recreation with real toys.