Monday, June 22, 2009

My day in Studio City

Or is that "Television City"? One of those. Anyhow, here's a rundown of the day:

3:30 AM: Alarm goes off. It's a clock radio and the tuner isn't actually on a station, so I wake up to static and some kind of mariachi music. I smack the snooze bar, doze for another 8 minutes, then get up and get dressed: jeans, my "PLINKO 1983" shirt Penny made for me, and a sweatshirt.

3:50 AM: Get in line. Penny and Cheryl show up about 3 minutes later and we settle in to wait until 6 when they're supposed to hand out the early arrival passes.

3:50 - 6 AM: We wait. Around us are two sets of twins (two 38-year-old guys from the LA area and two women from Maryland), a bunch of people with "Drew Zoo" shirts, and a woman and her father from Bermuda. Or maybe Barbados. One of those "B" islands. At some point in there I went to the mini-mart across the street to get a bottle of water, and around 6 Penny went and got the first of three bagels I would eat today: Cinnamon Raisin, plain.

6:15ish AM: They finally hand out the early arrival pass things that will land us our spot in line, and tell us to come back at 8. Wait...8? The paperwork all says 10! I was expecting a 3 hour nap! WTF???? No, it's 8. Crap.

6:30 AM: I collapse back in bed, alarm re-set for 7:30. I doze for an hour or so.

7:30 AM: Back up, shower, try to wake up, get dressed again, head back over to CBS for "processing".

8:00 AM: We find out why we had to show up 2 hours early: Today they're taping the first shows of the 38th season, and they've brought in an event photography company to take our pictures in front of a green screen. Hmm...wonder if it's the same color as my green shirt? No, not quite. They line us up by line number (47-49), Erin the Page writes out our name tags, and we sit down to wait.

8:45ish AM: We move in to the line to get our photos taken. I chose the PLINKO background to go with my PLINKO shirt, and end up looking like a tool. Not that that's a stretch, mind you...I'll post the picture to show my tool-ness as soon as I find it on the web site.

9:00 - 11:00 AM: We slide down to Bob Barker Parkway or Pavilion or something else that starts with "P", sit on yet another bleacher, and fill out some paperwork - a number card that identifies us, and a small bio card. We then get interviewed by a show producer, get our head-shots taken, and somewhere behind the scenes they decide who gets to COME ON DOWN!!! Spoiler alert: it's none of us. Oh, and somewhere in here I get my second bagel of the day (Cinnamon Raisin again, this time with cream cheese).

11:15 - 12:15 or so: We move around the corner after our interview and sit on the third bleacher of the day, this one right up against a wall. Easier on the back, but no room to slouch. And I'm a sloucher. So not the most comfortable seat. We are repeatedly reminded that once we're in the studio there will be NO BATHROOMS, so we'd better get our business done now. Which I do, having the old "pre-game bladder" action going on.

12:15ish: We finally get to climb the stairs to the studio to ooh and ah at the new set while dancing to disco music. Studio announcer Rich Fields comes out, grabs 8 people out of the crowd to dance on stage to get us more riled up, and then it's show time.

12:45ish - 2:15: The show tapes. Some things you should know:
  1. It's really loud in the studio. To the point where there's no way in heck you'll hear Rich call out your name. So you have to watch the two cue-card guys on stage with the cards with your name. I watch, and they don't have my name.
  2. If you look at the back operator ends of the cameras, they've got a map of the audience with the locations of the players marked out. From this you can get a fairly good idea if you're going to be called down or not.
  3. Sitting in the middle down close is cool, 'cause you end up in a lot of the shots. But it's less cool, 'cause the contestants block many of the prizes and games.
  4. If I HAD been called down, and if I HAD won the chance to win the first car (an Impala, I think, or maybe a Charger) in the "Lucky 7" game, I would have won it. Because dude, I was 4 for 4 picking numbers. You can ask anybody.
  5. If the prize involves a computer, and you ask for clarification on what the computer is, and they then tell you the wrong brand, you win the whole dang prize. A guy was bidding on a desk, chair, and PC. They said it was a Dell and he blew it in the "push over" game by like $4,000. Turns out it was actually an HP, so he won the whole prize, worth about $9,000. Naturally, the money was all in the desk and chair, since I can't imagine an HP is that much more expensive than a Dell with similar components.
  6. Yelling and clapping over and over for that long is tiring. Especially when it's done on little or no sleep.
2:15 or so: Show's over and we head out. I check at the ticket booth to find out when I should come back to line up for tonight's Late Late Show taping and find out I've got about 30 minutes to change and eat. So it's back to the Rodeway, in to my slacks and dress shirt, stop at the Bagel Broker for bagel #3 (whole wheat, cream cheese, turkey and lettuce) and a large diet coke, then it's back to CBS to stand in more lines. This one is shorter, and less giddy. I go in, get put in line 1, and park it on another bleacher.

3:15 - 4:15: I sit on said bleacher, with occasional breaks to buy schwag (TPIR and Late Late Show mugs) and pee. Because again, there are no restrooms inside CBS. Apparently everyone has to leave the building to take a leak.

4:15ish: The audience wrangler comes down and tells us what to expect: We're at a comedy TV show, not a comedy club, so laugh but don't mouth off...don't whoop over your city, college, etc...cheer loud, laugh loud, and don't be an idiot. Shortly after that the head audience wrangler "Chunky D" (a white guy) comes down, tells a couple jokes, and we head up stairs.

4:30ish: We make our way up two flights of stairs (that, thanks to the height of the studios, is really more like 3 or 4 flights) and in to the small studio where the Late Late Show is taped. I end up sitting in the front row, far stage right, next to a woman and her daughters. They're from Baltimore. The youngest daughter (didn't get an age...I'd guess 16 or 17) is named Paisley Somethingorother. Given her age, and the fact that I'm sitting by her mom, I don't make any comment about the fact that she's got a stripper name. Paisley is blonde, which comes in to play in about 15 minutes.

4:45 PM: Chunky D comes out to warm us up. He's fairly funny - not funny enough to turn pro, but funny enough to get people who are there to laugh laughing. He runs us through the "Laugh like hell" signs he'll give us during the taping, then proceeds to test it out with some bad jokes. Many of these are blonde jokes, which Chunky then explains carefully to Paisley to make sure she got them.

5:00 PM: It's time to make television! Things kick off with a montage video from the show, then Craig comes out and does his monologue. It, as always, is hilarious and my stomach starts to hurt. From there they do a couple of the e-mail bits (one for tonight, one for Thursday), then out comes Marion Cotillard, French actress and babe extraordinaire, out to plug her new movie with Johnny Dep. She's beautiful, she's got a delightful accent, and she mispronounces "focus" so it sounds like "fuckus". Craig doesn't let that one go. Next up is Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto, who talks about gossip columnism in the world of the Internets.

6:00 PM: Show's over, my gut hurts like hell, and it's time for dinner. No more bagels, now it's time for real food: Subway veggie sub and a lemonade. Then hang on the bed, make some calls, and surf the net before passing out for the night. Whew!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

T minus 5 hours or so

Until I'm supposed to wake up, that is. 3:30 the alarm goes off. Then I head across the street to CBS studios to wait in a line to get a pass to wait in another line to maybe be picked to sit in on a taping of The Price Is Right. Apparently the key is to be excited and energetic...not sure I can pull that off on the 2 hours of sleep I'll probably have, because let's face it, my body clock is now adapted to the 1 AM - 8 AM sleep pattern, not the 10 PM - 3:30 AM sleep pattern.

Then again, maybe if I actually shut down the computer and turned off the TV I'd fall asleep...I suppose it's worth a try, right? Right!

And yes, I'll file a full report tomorrow night after it's all over.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy birthday, Logan!

The last birthday before the teens has come and gone. The cake is eaten (well, a quarter of it anyway), WeSki has been played, now all that's left is to wait for Friday when the annual Funtasia + Slumber Party occurs. We'll see how late the boys stay up this year...will they match the record of 5 AM set two years ago? Or will things peter out at midnight or so like last year? I'm thinking somewhere inbetween, although one never knows...

Anyhoo, here's the latest update to the photo string!