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Hubster Victoria has sent us this wonderful “Event ReporT” of her trip to the August 10th, 2012 taping of “StePhest Colbchella ‘012 - Rocktaugustfest” aboard the USS Intrepid Air and Space Museum in New York.
Hi! Here is my reporT from the Stephest Colbchella. As I stated in my recap, there aren’t any real spoilers in there since I know some will want to watch it with limited beforehand knowledge. My recap is as follows…
On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the ‘Stephest Colbchella Rocktaugestfest ‘012’. I won the ticket through the Twitter contest online and since I was unable to obtain any others, I had planned to go by myself, which was fine with me. I figured I would meet some people there, which is exactly what happened. I arrived at 3:30pm, even though the ticket explicitly said not to arrive before 4:00pm. But I figured I would get there early to check out the scene. When I arrived, there were some obvious concert-goers there, gathered around the barricade. I stood close to them, figuring when it was time to start forming the line, I should just follow them. Around 4:00pm, they opened up the barricades and away we went! It was great! There were only a handful of people in front of me and even though I knew I had a long wait ahead of me, it was going to be worth it. I ended up standing next to a college student that attends Columbia University, a co-worker of hers that joined us a bit later in the line and a male that just finished graduate school and lives in Virginia. Before the night was over, we ended up exchanging Facebook accounts! Ha! Funny and ironic story. The girl from Columbia attended ‘The Colbert Report’ taping the same night I went two Thursdays ago! Isn’t that crazy? Right behind us, on the line, arrived a very large group of ‘Flaming Lips’ fans. They were the nicest group of people and they went on to tell us how they follow the group around the country. They were all from different areas in the country, but they had a whole network setup so they could follow the group from venue to venue. Now that’s dedication! They were a very lively, animated group, decked out in glitter and rainbow paint. Some guy wore an elephant costume. He almost was not allowed to take the costume through security, so he put it through first to prove it was safe. We get through security and on the other side waiting for us are our bracelets, tickets for a free drink and FREE Americone Dream ice cream! As we waited, some of the hard-core Flaming Lips fans started bouncing around an oversized yellow balloon that said “LSD” on it! Ha! It went through the large crowd and it gave us something to do while we waited … waited to be brought around the building and do more waiting for another two hours. Suffice to say, we waited a long time. But actually, I had a good time. Everyone was laughing, telling stories, but as the wait got longer, you can tell people started to get punchy and the most absurd things became hilarious! Either that or that balloon was really laced with LSD! Ha! We kept watching cars drive right up to the ship and let VIPs in and we kept thinking, “Where are we going to be standing now? I hope we aren’t too far back. We’ve been waiting all this time.” Sometime after 7:30pm, a large group of people get out of an SUV. It was Stephen’s wife and children and what appeared to be a few of his daughter’s friends. They got in an elevator and headed up to the ship. I was hoping this was a sign that we were going to be going in soon. Well, perhaps it was, because shortly after, we were let on the ship. It was like cattle rushing the fields. They finally let us lose and we could not be tamed! I managed to stick with my newly formed group and when we arrived on the deck of the ship, I noticed there was a roped off area towards the back, with tables and chairs. I figured that’s where the VIPs were going to be. And then I look over … there’s the stage. We jetted over there and claimed our spot right up against the barricade! WOW! The stage was so close, I could touch it (I didn’t try, of course). All that extra waiting paid off and we were front row, center! Next to the stage on the right was a huge screen, so everyone would be able to see what was happening.
In the rest of this recap, I won’t give away specifics about the show itself since some of you may want to wait till it airs to see those details. But I guarantee you, it was AWESOME!
Grandmaster Flash did a great job all night spinning his records and he kept the crowd going. He pumped us up with music until the show started. The start of the show was like attending a ‘Colbert Report’ taping. Start with the Warm-up comedian, directions on when to cheer in the beginning, etc. They informed us that they were taping all four shows tonight, so we had to go through four openings and “good-night” segments (more on the “good-night” segments later). Finally, it was time to start the show. The opening theme begins and Stephen comes rolling out. He was right in front of us! I could not believe it! I won’t give anything else away at this point so I don’t spoil it for anyone. But you will love it! They finish taping the scene and Stephen announces they are going to tape the Tuesday opening now. He mentioned that he did the interviews earlier in the day with each band, so we will be seeing all of that on the show. He continued to do each opening for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Every time he would finish with one day, he would stop and say, “Ok! Now, Wednesday!” And excitedly run to the back to get ready for the next day’s opening. And after each segment was finished, he always made sure to sincerely tell us how “great” we were.
The first band to appear was Fun! They did a great job and they had everyone singing along. Once their set was over (3 songs), they had to set up for the next band, Grizzly Bear. The setup took a while in between all the bands, so this is when we had Grandmaster Flash playing his music … and Stephen jumping back and forth from backstage to ON stage! At times, he came out on stage to interact with the crew members; and many times to interact with the audience. He did many things, but here are some of the highlights I can remember:
Some of the goodies we got to experience during the band-setups …
1. Stephen asked if there was any questions. One of ‘The Flaming Lips’ fans asked if he could sing Happy Birthday to her friend. He not only obliged, but he sang it in Latin!
2. During Santigold’s set, there were some technical difficulties, so she asked the audience if anyone knew any jokes. Stephen was standing on the stage and I swear, when he heard the word “joke,” he perked up. Someone in the front row told a joke…a silly one. Stephen, of course, went up next to Santigold and told a similar type of joke. Of course, it was cute when he said it!
3. At one point, he made a comment that “someone in the audience must have a conduit to God because it was supposed to be pouring rain tonight.” He was right, hence why I came packing with every type of rain protection available all stuffed in my purse! I figured since I was so prepared, I’m the one who prevented the rain. If I had not come with even a measly jacket, it would have stormed. Ha! 4.) We did make eye contact a few times as he was smiling. Hey … that was a big deal to me!
5. He sang the Star Spangled Banner because someone asked him to! Everyone started to sing along!
6. My favorite … Grandmaster Flash was playing “We Found Love,” by Rhianna. About a minute into the song, Stephen comes bouncing out on the stage, dancing like he was in a club! It was incredible! This elicited so many ear-piercing screams! And the best part … he was directly in front of us! I can still picture it! I see a video was posted, but it was only the last 12 seconds. He was out there dancing for much longer than that. He even did his trademark spin! It was fantastic! As a matter of fact, Stephen popped out on stage a few times, bouncing to the music. When “Moves Like Jagger” was playing, he came out mouthing those lyrics and proceeded to do the Mick Jagger trademark dance!
The production crew and people associated with the show were all set up on stage right, tucked off to the side. Sometimes, Stephen would be standing there in between takes and while the bands were playing. A couple of times, you can see the hairdresser fixing his hair. At one point (I can’t remember if it was during Grizzly Bear or Santigold’s set), they had to stop midway through the song due to technical difficulties. Both bands had to redo two of their songs each due to sound issues. It was during one of these times, at first you can see Stephen’s head, as he casually walked behind the stage to go somewhere. When they had to stop the band, seconds later, you see Stephen’s head again, this time moving at a much faster pace and heading back onto the stage. It was so funny but it was great watching him work, for he is so on top of everything.
I know someone mentioned in the comments section she liked the picture of him without his glasses, while he was introducing Grizzly Bear. This was actually the first take. This was one of the times they had to redo their whole song, so they had Stephen come back out again to redo his introduction. But time, he had on his glasses again. It will be interesting to see which take they use.
They showed an interview Stephen taped on The Intrepid earlier in the week. Very funny. They are going to show it on the air so I won’t give anything away.
A couple of comments … He did shake every band member’s hand after their sets were over. You can tell he really enjoyed everyone’s set, but after the Flaming Lips played, he came out on stage with this aghast, “Wow” look on his face. You can tell he was very impressed with them.
Now … the “good-night” segments! All I can say is WOW!! When Santigold was going to go on, some piece of equipment had to be fixed (can’t remember, sorry), so he said to the audience, “We need to tape the “good-night” segments, so while we wait, we are going to do a couple now. I think I’ll do the first one in the audience. Just help me off the stage.”(It was high). Now, he is on stage, right in front of us. He points towards our area and says, “I’ll do it right there!” WHAT??? Seriously! Everyone around us in the area started screaming.
He jumps off the stage and now he is standing right next to us. Suffice it to say, we were very excited … noticeably excited! I’ve never heard so many ear-piercing, high-pitched screams. And this was not just from the females!! We were jumping up and down like we had an itch we could not scratch! He was right next to us, up against the barricade when the crew says, “We can’t lift this barricade. They are hooked together! You will have to do it somewhere else.” Noooo!!!! Just then, simultaneously, everyone grabbed the barricade by the hooks and started to yell, “Wait! We can take it apart! Wait!! Nooooo!” We were reeking of hormonal desperation, let me tell you! But alas, Stephen said, “No, I’ll just go around the other side over there towards the back.” No!!!!!!!!!!!! So close! So close to having Stephen tape a segment directly next to us. We would have been literally standing next to him. And when you see the segment, you will see really HOW close he was to everyone! Oh! Even though we were so frustrated by those turn of events, we did understand how difficult it would have been to start unhooking everything. And of course, we were so close to him and the bands all night, so that certainly helped. But still … so close!!!! Ha! He taped another “good-night” from the other side of the audience, one with Grandmaster Flash and then … as all of you have seen, in the bubble!
The bubble!! Wow!! That was beyond incredible. At first, we had no idea what was going on, but it became clear when we saw Stephen and Wayne get into their bubbles and watched them quickly inflate. They sat on the ground in the deflated bubble and this red pump started to inflate the bubble. Next thing you know, they are standing on stage encompassed in their bubbles. Once again, Stephen was right in front of us, so when they started to move, Stephen rolled out right onto our hands. What a rush! And no, it was not the pot I kept smelling all night! It was seeing Stephen rolling over my head in a bubble, knowing that we are holding him up and assisting to role him forward. It was hilarious! He was rolling around in that bubble, laughing and having a great time. At one point, his bubble got stuck and wouldn’t role forward. You can see him cracking up! Both Stephen and Wayne made their way around the whole crowd so everyone got to be in contact with the both of them. I snapped a quick picture when he was right next to us and even looking at it now (and the other bubble pictures that have surfaced), I am so grateful I got to be their experience it firsthand.
When it was all over and they made it back on stage and out of his bubble, he said his good-bye’s and thanked us again! I was thinking, “No, thank you!” This event exceeded my expectations. I knew it was going to be great, but this was beyond great!
At the end, they brought back out Colbchella beach balls (Oh yeah! There were Colbchella beach balls that were bounced around earlier in the evening before Stephen came out). My new friend from Columbia grabbed one, asked the crew if she can take it home and they said yes. If you were lucky to get one, it was yours. Then someone came around with Wriststrong bracelets and handed them to everyone that was in and around the front. So, while I narrowly missed catching one two weeks ago, I was able to get one that night! Also, right after it ended, you can tell that everyone connected to this event was beyond thrilled with the results. They worked hard and they pulled it off. Many came running down and high-fiving all of us in the front row.
So, that was my recap. All of you are probably becoming accustomed to my dissertation-like recaps. Once again, I hope you enjoyed it. And if you didn’t, just like my previous recaps, continue to pretend you did!
TWoP member violetion was lucky enough to attend the taping where the question on everybodies mind was finally answered - just when is that Daily Show globe going to be fixed?
Jon came out and did his Q&A. My God, he is just so charming, beautiful and charismatic in person. His appeal from TV is just magnified times 100 in person. We found out that Jon’s favourite episode of Seinfeld is The Marine Biologist. Someone asked if they would ever get the wrong way spinning globe fixed and Jon said he found out it would cost $7500 to fix it to spin the right way and he said that he now tells people it spins in the wrong direction “ironically.” Another person also asked what they do in the case of last minute cancellations, obviously in reference to Marco Rubio the night before. Jon said “first person we call is Brian Williams, because that motherf***er is such a camera whore.” I’m kicking myself for not being able to remember everything that people asked, but someone also asked him about the worst heckling he ever got. He said it was when he started stand up in 1987 and he was put in the 1am slot, which he said was “for people who sucked,” and when he got heckled his response was just “nuh-uh” and that was it.
For those of you wondering how the cities are chosen for the globe, National Geographic talked to director Chuck O’Neil who came up with the idea in 2007 when the new set was unveiled.
For a complete list of featured cities check out this blog post.
Hubster Victoria sent us this wonderful “Taping ReporT” of her trip to the August 2nd, 2012 taping of “The Colbert Report”.
On Thursday, August 2, 2012, I had the pleasure of attending my 2nd Colbert Report live taping. My first one was 6 months ago back in January. Like last time, I went with my parents. However, this time, our friend Bob also attended with us. Last time, not knowing, we arrived around 5:20pm and made it in by the skin of our teeth. We were literally the last 3 tickets to be given out and about 10 people behind us got turned away. So this time, I made sure to arrive early. We got on the line around 3:30pm and there were 4 people ahead of us. Yes! We are definitely getting in! There was also already a large standby line and in the end, there were about 15 people on the list. But from what I can tell inside the studio, nobody from the list made it in. Bob had only seen a couple of clips of the show courtesy of me, so I had to give him a Readers Digest version of what to expect, what the show is about and to remember…he is playing a character! This, at least, made the time go by faster while waiting on-line. They let us in at 5:30pm and they had the typical video playing. But still, always fun to watch.
At 7:00pm, they let us into the studio and we ended up in the 4th row center. We had a perfect view of the desk and I was ready to go! Who am I kidding? I was ready at 6:00am that morning! I had every intention of asking him a question. I had a few in mind and I kept rehearsing how I was going to ask it. More on that later. Shortly after, our warm-up guy comes out and he was hysterical. He picked on a family I was talking to while we were waiting in the other room. He also went after a number of young couples…well, at least he thought they were couples. Turned out they were all friends. He had plenty to say about that. Then…he went after my father! He asked him if that was his wife sitting next to him, which it was. He wanted to know where they were from (NYC, born and raised), what he did for a living and how long they have been married. He picked on him for a while and then he hypothesized that he’s a “cool guy and must go home and smoke pot!” Cool guy, yes. Pot, no, sorry. But it was still funny! He said he assumed all the kids were grown and on their own, but my parents pointed down the aisle to me (Bob was sitting in between me and my parents). “Ok, here we go,” I thought! And I was right! He asked me my name, age and what I did for a living. I told him that I’m a Graduate student and immediately following that, he looked at Bob and started in on him. “You can’t be with her, right…because you’re too old! You are probably the creepy neighbor on the cul-de-sac named Jim!” Luckily, Bob has a great sense of humor and had fun with it. According to us, Bob’s new name is now Jim! He then asked the young guy behind me if he was single and proceeded to try to make a love connection. “You should meet up with her (me). She’s a Graduate student! When she’s done, you will never have to work again!” And with that last comment, it was time to start the show! He was great and we really enjoyed getting “picked on.”
As usual, the music starts to play and Stephen comes running out, around the table, high-fiving the production staff and everyone in the front row. And we begin the “Stephen chant.”(One of the things I taught Bob earlier). Stephen looks adorable as usual and it was so exciting being there in person again. He thanks everyone for coming, gives his “humanize me” mantra and the question and answer session begins.
1. What Olympic sport would you like to create?
2. What inspired you to become a comedic actor as a kid?
Answer: Stephen went on to explain how he had no aspirations to be an actor, but actually wanted to be a Marine Biologist. But due to his ear surgery, he couldn’t. He said, pointing to the ear, “this is just a prop. Water goes in and never comes out. It just stays in their swishing around so I wouldn’t be able to stay underneath water for too long.” Then he showed his ear trick!
3. What guest have you had on that didn’t understand you are playing a character and became very upset.
Answer: I’m so sorry, but I cannot remember his name. It was a man and it was early on in The Colbert Report. He said they were at the table doing the interview, Stephen said something and the man began to yell and scold him! He totally did not understand what was happening. If I ever do find out what guest it was, I will let you know .
4. Who was the baby that was underneath the desk the other night?
Answer: It was an actor baby. The mother was with the baby under the desk and the father was backstage. When Stephen handed the baby over to “The Norquist,” everyone in the audience was laughing and clapping. After it was over, he jokingly said to the audience that he loved how everyone was so happy he was handing over a baby to be eaten by The Norquist. It was very funny!
5. How did you meet Jon Stewart?
Answer: He said that Evie had known him first when she acted in NY. When Stephen and Evie saw that Jon was taking over The Daily Show, Evie stated, “But he’s not funny!” She remembered him back in NY, sitting in the corner at the bar, alone, quiet, nursing his beer. So she had no idea he could be funny. When the promotion began for The Daily Show, there was going to be a party, but none of the cast was going to be there. Stephen thought this was odd, so he essentially went anyway and crashed the party!
Then…the show began. Now, remember I said I wanted to ask a question? Every time he would say, “Anyone else?,” I would freeze! Even when he looked in my direction, I couldn’t do it! I didn’t want it to sound like, “RYKMALIQPOMDFUGD!!!!” So, I said to myself, “Next time!”
The ladies touched up his makeup and hair. He played with her hair, as usual. And as they were doing this, he sang along with “Fell in Love with a Girl.” He was mouthing some of the lyrics and bouncing up and down. Then he started to fling the WristStrong bracelets. He picked up the first one, looked directly in my direction with this huge smile on his face and flung it. It landed right behind me! Damn! Oh well! Next time! He flung a bunch of them and ended with the prospective knife flinging. He decided against it and put it away! HA!
He stated that there was going to be no Table of Contents tonight. Because there were too many jokes, they don’t want to cut out the jokes, so they cut out the Table of Contents. He didn’t do the Table of Contents last time and I was hoping I would get to see it this time. But, to no avail. Next time! The show begins, the cheering starts and the studio is filled with “Stephen Stephen Stephen” chants! Once again, I taught Bob well! I must say right up front … Stephen was absolutely perfect! No character breaks at all. They didn’t have to redo anything. Last time I attended, there were also no character breaks, but they had to redo a scene a few times because Mike D of the Beastie Boys kept flubbing his lines. But this time, there were no issues at all! When he did his beer endorsement and threw it over his shoulder, there was a large mattress on the floor behind him. Hence, why it didn’t shatter and splatter into a million pieces. When the whole scene was over and they went to commercial, someone came from backstage and dragged the mattress away. This is what they probably used last time when Stephen threw all of his Apple gadgets over his shoulder. It was a complete joy watching Stephen watch his Better Know a District segment. I decided to watch him the entire time since I knew I would be watching the show anyway later. Stephen was hilarious! He totally cracked himself up at times and as he would say certain lines in the video, Stephen would mouth them to himself as he was watching, such as, “Are you a Congressman or a Corngressman?” He did this a few times. Other times, he just sat there, watching intensely, but with a little smirk on his face! That alone was worth standing on-line for 3 and a half hours! During the first break, it only lasted a couple of minutes. They looked over their papers and it was over. However, for the second break, right before the interview, they were looking over everything for a while. Let’s put it this way, we got to hear 2 long songs played. But I enjoyed the wait, because it was fascinating seeing him and the cast work. At one point, Stephen took his glasses off for a couple of minutes as he was talking to everyone around him. He kept pretending to hold something up with his hand and was making this pouty-lip, big eyed look, moving his head from side to side. Then he would stop, say something to them and then, do it again. Then he would laugh! Lots of laughing! This was after the Thought for Food segment and to me, it looked like he discussing when he was holding the carrot and saying to it, “What’s that carrot … ?” That whole scene. Am I positive? Nope! But that’s the only thing that resembled anything that happened that night. So, let’s go with that! HA! Another thing I can add is that he does take out his water bottle consistently to drink. During the breaks, when he was watching PETOP segment on the tv monitor, etc. It’s nothing of any real significance, but hey, if Stephen does it, it needs to be mentioned! The interview with Chris Hayes was great to watch live. They had a great time together and after it was over, Stephen leaned in and spoke with him for about a minute. For his closing, as they were counting him in, Stephen got the carrot out in advance, so you knew the carrot was making another appearance. And it was over. Stephen got up from his desk, took his Lime Beer, came around the desk and took a slug of the beer. He then stated, “I actually like this!” He said he would take one last question for the evening … beer in hand! “What are the books on the shelf?” Answer: He hadn’t looked at them in a long time and
actually wasn’t sure what was over there. So he went over to the books and started to read the “non-fiction” section and then, the “fiction” section, which included “The Origin of Species,” by Charles Darwin. Again, he thanked everyone for coming, said his goodbyes, and that was it! Once again, another magical experience, courtesy of Stephen Colbert. And it wasn’t over yet for me …
We all go outside and I had already forewarned my parents I wanted to wait after the show. Last time, we didn’t wait, but then I heard that he was great about giving autographs and pictures (if he wasn’t pressed for time), so I needed to at least attempt this. I had met Stephen back in May at the book signing. That was my first and only time. You may remember my recap. I was the one who asked my mother every 2 seconds if “the camera was ready,” got my 2 books signed, somehow got the words “Happy Birthday” coherently out of mouth and then continued to run down the staircase gigging uncontrollably and almost knock over a pen display with my elbow. Almost! Luckily, this was downstairs and Stephen wasn’t there to see that. Pheeew! So, as you can see, this was another reason why I ended up not asking a question. I become a nervous, starry-eyed mess. But I promised myself I would not allow this to happen if I was able to see him after the show. There was another young guy and girl waiting, as well (Were they a couple? Who knows? Where was the warm-up guy when you needed him)? We were not standing next to them, so we never even had a chance to converse. We planted ourselves right by the stairs to the offices and waited. About 10 minutes later, one of the security comes up to us and tells us that Stephen was going to be a while and that when he did finally come out, he was going to have to run because he needed to be somewhere. He also added that his aides were upstairs helping him. I asked approximately how long it would be, if he knew. He said he had no idea, for it changes every night. But he just wanted to warn us just in case Stephen didn’t have a chance to stop to say hello, since he was in a rush. As he put it, “he didn’t want us to feel hurt.” We totally understood and appreciated letting us know. My father and Bob were ready to go, but I wanted to wait a while longer. I told them they didn’t have to wait and they could go walk home. My mother, on the other hand, knew she was going to be the “picture-taker” so her leaving was out of the question! Ha! She, though, didn’t mind the wait. And the wait only turned out to be another 20 minutes or so. Next thing we see, the security guards poking their heads out of the door and flashing their flashlights to let the driver know Stephen was coming! The driver pulled out of the spot and double parked right in front of the building. And with that … here came Stephen, surrounded by 2 security guards! They came down the stairs and Stephen came right over to me and my mother. He said “Hi” to us and I replied with such a witty response … “Hi Stephen!” Oh yeah! He put out his hand to shake mine and once that occurred, I made a mental note to never wash or apply anti-bacterial gel to my right hand again! I told him it was a pleasure to meet him and he reciprocated the gesture. I also added that the show was great tonight and I really enjoyed it. He thanked me and said he really appreciated it. He then shook my mother’s hand and also said it was pleasure to meet him. The entire time, he was smiling, friendly and gave us his undivided attention. It was wonderful. He then went over to the other couple waiting for him. My mother was trying to get a picture of him, but was only able to get the back of him, surrounded by the 2 security guards, shaking the girl’s hand. She had this big smile on her face and I wish I knew who she was, for I would send her the picture. Also, there was a 3rd security guard on the landing next to the door, watching all of us like a hawk. I’ll tell you one thing, they really look after Stephen! When he was done, he said good-bye and thanked us all again for coming. He got in the back seat of the car and they drove off. Oh yes, he was wearing a striped blue and white button-down shirt and khakis.
And that was it. I have no idea where he was heading to, but the fact that I knew he was going somewhere, I was hesitant to ask for a picture. But the fact that he came right over to us and he initiated the hand shake and brief conversation, totally made my night! Plus, at the book signing, my mother got a great picture of him handing me my book, smiling right at me. And one of the professional photographers got a picture of him signing my book. In both pictures you can see the back of me, looking right at him. So technically, I did have my
picture taken with him and certainly cannot complain!
So, that’s my reporT. As expected, this turned into a novel, so I hope you enjoyed it. If not, you can just pretend you did. I won the Twitter contest to attend the concert on Friday, so I now have that to look forward to! It’s going to be great!
Hubster Page sent us this wonderful “Taping ReporT” of her trip to the January 24th, 2012 taping of “The Colbert Report”.
My friends J.D., Devon, and I arrived at the Colbert Report studio a little past 3pm and were still the first ones in line. Very soon after that more people started to line up. It was a nice mix, people coming from all over the country and the world, some specifically just to see him. And once again, ladies made up at least 60% of the audience. Ladies love Colbert; this is a FACT (never mind the distinct lack of lady sized Daily Show/Colbert Report T-shirts, to which I will continue to grumble about to my grave).
An hour later, the audience staff brought out free bottles of water. It’s nice that they didn’t want us to die from heat exhaustion. We asked one of the staff to whom I’d give the book and I was directed to security when we finally went into the studio proper. The lead security guy remembered me from the last time I attended a taping, which was pretty cool. I handed off the book to him, he made sure my contact information was in it, and that was it. The physical representation of three years of my artistic life was finally out of my hands and hopefully on its way to Stephen’s.
After the customary ‘laugh out loud, not silently to yourself’ warm up lecture from the staff, we were lead onto the set and to our seats. We also FINALLY noticed a little bit of their system on how they place you in your seats. Parties of three, chances are you’re going to be on the sides. Parties of four, probably in the center, parties of one to two, you’re anywhere. Let me stress, all the seats are great, side or center, wherever. But if you really have your heart set on dead center, you’ll increase your odds if you travel in a group of four.
Warm up comic Pete Dominic was as funny as ever. New jokes mixed with some older stuff I remembered, as well as playful ribbing of the audience. He also talked a little bit about his job over at CNN and how some of the ‘expert commentators’ are rushed in front of the camera not even knowing what they’re talking about half the time.
Since I’ve been on a serious Avengers kick for the summer, I must admit I was distracted more that usual by Captain America’s shield hanging mere feet away from me on the wall. I contemplated how many steps I’d make it to the shield before security smeared me into floor. The answer? Probably two.
Then Stephen bounced out and did his lap around the desk, slapping the hands of the people sitting on the bottom row. The out of character Q&A began. A handy trick from one of my friends for remembering the questions and answers? If you’re lucky enough to come with a couple people, everyone just remember a keyword from each question instead of trying to remember the whole thing. Your memory will fill in the gaps.) Here’s what I was able to remember:
* Someone asked about learning to play the bassoon he played in that YouTube video of him and Paul Dinello playing ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ in the last Stella show in NYC years ago. He said they rented it about three hours before they actually went up so, there wasn’t much “learning” involved. He then went into a story about how he took his baritone horn with him on his first date with the woman who would become his wife.
* Another guy told him his white house correspondence dinner speech inspired him to become politically active, and then asked should they actually make ‘Ghostbusters 3’, what part would he like to play in it/if he could cameo in it, would he? Stephen smiled and said that was perhaps the most unique question ever. He talked about how back when he was in Second City, Harold Ramis, who played Egon, was a role model to him and didn’t necessarily want to play his parts, but be as talented as him. He settled on saying he wouldn’t mind playing a young Egon. (Note- Honestly, while they were talking about this topic, my brain went on vacation because I was suddenly confronted with Stephen talking about my all time favorite movie and one of my all time favorite characters EVER. My friends had to tell me the details later because all I could hear in my head was “Oh my god, oh my god, Stephen’s talking about Egon and Ghostbusters and Harold Ramis, oh my god…”)
* Someone who works for Twitter wanted to know who mans the @StephenAtHome account. Stephen admitted it was a group effort, sometimes it’s him, sometimes it’s other members of the staff, and it’s usually determined by the topics/jokes of the day/week.
* Someone asked who was the worst guest he’d ever had and was it ‘Papa Bear’? Stephen laughed, said he wasn’t the worst, but he was definitely a “tool”. Good ol’ Papa Bear apparently insulted Colbert’s writers and came off like a complete jerk during the interview. They had to cut around the worst of it to make him not seem like such a jerk on air and that didn’t leave them much to work with.
Stephen then took his place at his desk, shot Wriststrong bracelets into the crowd and for the first time not only did I CATCH ONE FINALLY, at the end of his throwing spree, Stephen usually takes out a huge knife from under his desk as if that’s the next thing he’s going to throw into the audience. And this time, he was aiming right at us. I don’t know what’s crazier, the fact that I immediately got into it, acting right along with him, motioning for him to go ahead and throw or the fact that I’d be perfectly OK attempting to catch a knife to the face if thrown by Stephen.
The whole show went smoothly, Stephen bounced in his chair and sang along to the songs between takes. And such a solid episode too. It took all of my restraint to not scream “YES!” when I realized he was about to talk about the Chick-Fil-A facebook fake lady. Stephen didn’t flub any of his lines until the very end when he was talking about the newborn babies and called his ‘fake’ TV lawyer, “Trevor”. *Snicker* So what aired was take two.
All in all, this was a great way to spend my birthday again. Handing over a copy of the comic also gave me the chance to put into words why this show’s still so important to me. I’ll end this taping report with a transcript of the letter I included with the comic that I wrote on the train ride into NYC:
This is a printed copy of a web comic I did for three years called Fake News Rumble. It was a celebration of all things nerd and geeky combined with my two favorite late night shows. Over the years it gained a loyal following and I figured it’d be appropriate to give you guys one of two existing prints of the comic. But more than that, I wanted to give thanks. During the course of making the comic, I found out I have Lupus and it decided to let me know I have Lupus by landing me in the hospital for weeks, not once but twice, as my immune system decided to go on break without telling me. Both times I fought off Pericarditis and both times I was told if I’d waited a day later to come in I’d probably be dead. Your show coming through the tiny box TV above my hospital bed helped me. It kept me sane while the doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong with me. It gave me something to take my mind off of things as I recovered. The Rally in DC a month later gave me hope for the first time since finding out what I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life. And your show produced a tight knit community of fellow fans that helped me out in my time of need with my skyrocketing medical bills. So this book is my small way of saying thank you.
This is a printed copy of a web comic I did for three years called Fake News Rumble. It was a celebration of all things nerd and geeky combined with my two favorite late night shows. Over the years it gained a loyal following and I figured it’d be appropriate to give you guys one of two existing prints of the comic.
But more than that, I wanted to give thanks. During the course of making the comic, I found out I have Lupus and it decided to let me know I have Lupus by landing me in the hospital for weeks, not once but twice, as my immune system decided to go on break without telling me. Both times I fought off Pericarditis and both times I was told if I’d waited a day later to come in I’d probably be dead.
Your show coming through the tiny box TV above my hospital bed helped me. It kept me sane while the doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong with me. It gave me something to take my mind off of things as I recovered. The Rally in DC a month later gave me hope for the first time since finding out what I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life. And your show produced a tight knit community of fellow fans that helped me out in my time of need with my skyrocketing medical bills.
So this book is my small way of saying thank you.
Today we take a look back at this vintage taping report by The Zen all way back in 2007, when Stephen was the substitute teacher of a Sunday School Class, with a little help from his daughter Madeleine.
Please visit The Zen and The Damaged for the full Taping ReporT.
He did the thing where he raises his hands to get us to cheer, lowers them for us to stop, and then conducts shorter and shorter bursts of cheering. Oh, mob mentality. It was hilarious. And then, “Do any of you have questions, to humanize me before I start saying all these horrible things in-character?”
I didn’t get to ask any of my questions, but I paid close attention to the ones that were asked, because there are few things more frustrating than “Oh, Stephen said this hilarious thing during the Q&A — I don’t remember what it was, but it was really funny!”
So here they are:
“Why do you take so many vacations?”
He got this adorably shocked/mock-hurt look on his face. “I do 168 shows a year!”
“How did you get a TV show, and when did you know you wanted one?”
“They had half an hour to fill, and they said, ‘Hey, you, over there, on the motorcycle … ’ I don’t know why I have a motorcycle in that fantasy. I was thinking of the least likely thing … .I’ve wanted to be a comedian since I was a little kid. Is that an answer? Kinda? Sorta?”
“As a Presidential candidate, would you accept these?” [I couldn’t see what she was holding out.]
“… Not from a bear!” [Maybe she was in costume? I couldn’t tell.]
“What would be your first executive order?”
“Uh … be kind to each other?”
And then he told a story.
He didn’t teach Sunday school last year, because he was too busy with the show; but he substituted, and he was subbing on the last day before summer vacation — when the kids didn’t really want to learn anything. And Pope Benedict had just been elected, so they decided to hold a mini papal election.
He and his daughter made a paper-maché miter, with a glitter cross, and then he “very seriously” locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and told the kids, “Okay, nobody leaves here until we elect a Pope.”
They started by making a list of qualities that you should have to be a Pope: ‘knows the Bible’, ‘good person’, etcetera. “And nobody said ‘must be a man’, which made me happy.” Then it came time to vote, but one kid said “Hey, I’m gonna vote for me,” and another said, “I’m gonna vote for me!”, and it looked like trouble.
(Colbert digressed at this point to speculate that all the cardinals probably do this on the first round. “Hey, might as well, who knows, there could be a groundswell…”)
Daughter to the rescue: “Dad, make everyone vote twice.” That way they would all vote for themselves and someone else. The winner was a kid named Gregory (and his daughter had predicted “It’s gonna be Gregory, because he always knows all the answers in class.” Stephen’s daughter sounds like a cool kid).
So they brought Gregory up to the front, put the miter on his head and the cloth over his shoulder, and said, “Now that you’re the Pope, you need to pick a name; what name are you going to have?”
And the kid goes, “Urban III.” (“He really knows his stuff!”)
What will be his first papal injunction? Gregory holds up his hands (here Colbert holds up his own for a moment, to demonstrate, and then brings the mic back to his mouth), and says, “Be kind to each other.”
At which Colbert went, “All right, that’s it, we’re done, everybody go home!”
Hubster Anais0509 sent us this wonderful “Taping ReporT” of her trip to the April, 4th, 2012 taping of “The Colbert Report”.
Hello, everyone! As some of you may or may not know, I attended my very first TCR taping last year in July, and since then I’ve been hungry for another chance to go back and see Stephen again. When I checked my weekly schedule for that first week in April, I was surprised, but also a little thrilled, to find that I didn’t have work on Wednesday, nor did I have anything really pressing that needed to be done. So I thought, what could possibly be a better way of spending a rare day off in the middle of the week with no urgent obligations to fulfill than to attend a taping, especially when my 6-month wait period was long past? In my job, I have to be prepared to work any day of the week, and it’s rare that I get a day off during the week (especially the days when TDS and TCR are taped). I knew that if I didn’t take this opportunity, I’d regret it, since there’s often no telling when I’ll have another day off on an appropriate taping day in the future.
Between the two guests that day, I decided that Stephen’s sounded more interesting than Jon’s. Then I set about trying to get a ticket last minute. Even though I’m still not really a Twitter fiend (Twitterhead? Tweeter? I have no idea what the official term is … if there’s one at all), I’m forever grateful for now being able to have immediate access to around-the-clock taping ticket release announcements courtesy of @DailyTix. So early Tuesday afternoon while at work, in between answering phone calls and checking my Twitter feed, I saw that 2 TCR tickets for 4/4 had been released. I then quickly switched from the Twitter window to the CN ticket page window, feverishly filled out the form for 1 ticket, clicked SEND (while holding my breath), then, once I got the reservation e-mail, confirmed my reservation (while exhaling), and I was all set. I’m still a little amazed at how lucky I was. Preparing ahead of time and being in ready mode is key when you want a ticket very much. And so, Wednesday awaited.
Just like last time, I was so excited and anxious that I went to bed too late and got up too early, but I trusted that the enthusiasm of the TCR taping audience would be enough to energize me. I left my Queens apartment at around 11:45am and took the subway into Manhattan, where after having some lunch and walking around a bit, I started making my way to the TCR studio. At this time it was almost 1:30pm. I was heading there early because I was determined to be first in line. As I drew closer to my destination, I could feel the anticipation and excitement building, but there was also a touch of nervousness mixed in. I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect, along with the looming novelty of seeing Stephen again, which is always cause for any fangirl to get butterflies. But fortunately it didn’t last long; once I saw that signature blue awning with white lettering in the distance, all those feelings evaporated away and a squee rose up from my chest, accompanied with a voluminous smile. It was like seeing an old friend again after a long absence, a most wonderful feeling to have.
When I arrived at the studio, something else made me really happy: I was the very 1st person, exactly as I had hoped. No one else around. Of course, the waiting area was locked up since it was still early, so I just settled down near the waiting area and started the laborious, but ultimately rewarding, process of waiting. About 15 minutes later, an Indian woman came along who was there for the taping too, and, after exchanging a few words, I promised to hold her spot in line while she went off to get something to eat. Then a janitor came to open up the waiting area, swept up the place a bit and then left, at which point I got up and took my place in line.
The Indian woman soon came back with munchies, took her spot next to me as audience Member #2 (since she did get there after me and before everyone else who was just started to arrive), and we started chatting with each other. I learned that her name was Trijya, she was a statistics professor at a small Syracuse college who’d done her undergrad work and masters in India but got her Ph-D at Texas A&M before moving to Syracuse, and had come all the way to Manhattan just for Stephen. She was super excited as this was her first TCR taping (a friend of hers introduced her to the show right around the time it started, and she’s been a fan ever since), and we had a grand time talking about Stephen and his/Jon’s influence and Stephen and the stupidity of politics and media and Stephen and getting to know each other and Stephen. But we also interacted with the other audience members in line; we tried to solve a crossword puzzle, compared other taping experiences, or even just chatted. This batch of audience members was friendlier than last time, which was a nice change.
It was pretty low-key from then on, with the only downsides being the lack of comfortable seating and cold blustery winds that my flimsy outfit was no match for. At about 4pm, 2 interns came and started checking people’s names on the list. I felt a huge sense of pride to be the very first one checked off the list, knowing that I was now officially FIRST IN LINE. Hopefully that meant good things for me. We waited for a long time, and we were also trying to stay warm against the relentlessly chilly wind. The only exciting thing that happened the whole time was at 5:20pm, when I had a Paul Dinello sighting. He was walking in the opposite direction of the studio, and he turned around briefly while still walking and I saw that he was on his cell phone. I guessed maybe he was on a last minute errand or something. But apart from that, nothing much.
Finally, at 5:45pm, a girl came along and started giving us numbered cards according to where we were in line. And here is proof that I was #1(!!!):
We started being let in at this time, finally. When I entered through the side door, I saw the bald and perpetually serious-looking bodyguard who always waits outside every night after the show for Stephen standing behind the table where he checks your bag before you go through the full-body metal detector. To be honest, I’ve always been a little scared of him, because he always looks so serious. But this time, he smiled at me. Not a big one, but he definitely smiled at me, which took me aback but appreciated all the same and helped put me more at ease. I don’t think he remembers me from last time, if he ever took notice of me at all, so I think the very possible reason he smiled at me was because he saw my Barnes and Noble Stephen Colbert tote bag and guessed that I was a fangirl. Hey, if it’ll put me in better favour with him, then great. He asked if he could check my bag and I told him to go right ahead while I took off my belt and made sure I had no metals anywhere else on me. Then I walked through the metal detector and he gave me back my bag. I looked around, feeling happier by the minute that I was back.
While the rest of the audience filed in and got checked over, Trijya and I freshened up and then I obligingly took pictures of her for her in front of the (fake) fireplace. It’s nice
to feel like a veteran and to watch first-timers have such a giddy, great time. Of course, the “Best of TCR” DVD was turned on and, as the waiting area filled up, we all started
watching the DVD. I knew from the get-go that most people there were it-getters and that it was going to be a fantastic audience. They were positively guffawing at Stephen’s antics, some even going red in the face. They laughed at everything from Barney Frank to the first WORDs ever done to the Decembrists.
At some point the DVD was muted and Enthusiastic Girl climbed on top of the table and perkily gave us the spiel on how to be a great audience, what not to do etc, then we continued watching the DVD after she was done. By this time it was 7:15pm, when we were supposed to be filing into the studio 15 minutes before, and we were still waiting. Trijya, the poor girl, was exhausted because she’d spent a lot of time walking around and exploring Manhattan before coming to the studio and waiting around was not making it easier, so she was leaning against a wall with her eyes closed. I emphasized with her, remembering how tired I was last time. But it wasn’t last time. It was now. And I was ready to go. Although I did wonder again why Stephen was taking so long.
But finally, the audience coordinator came out and told us that Stephen was finally done rehearsing and he thanked us for being so patient and waiting so long. Then he said that Stephen would be doing the intro credits that night, then went back inside and a boy came up and told us that they would let VIPs in first, in order of card colour (red and white), which they did, and finally in numerical number depending on what number card we got, “starting with…number 1!” To which I flicked my wrist upwards, proudly showing off my card. Some people laughed, which was sort of the effect I was going for. I gave my card to the boy, squared my shoulders back, and jumped down the rabbit hole.
Within a few short seconds, I was standing in the studio, and it was exactly as I remembered it. Right behind me, I could hear Trijya exclaiming in excitement, which made me smile, again reminding me of how I was when I attended my first taping. I felt a bit sad that we weren’t going to sit together, but I hoped that we’d somehow catch each other after the taping. At that point, that’s when the next best thing happened, apart from being first. The Serious-But-Nice Bodyguard (I’m sorry, I don’t know his name, if anyone does please let me know so that I can replace the nicknames I keep coming up with for him!) came up to me and asked me how many were there in my party, and I replied that it was just me. I wondered for a split second where I was going to be seated; I had a pretty good seat last time when I was #7, so there was no telling where I’d be at #1. He looked around the studio for a moment, then he turned back to me and asked, “Would you like to sit in the front row?” I stared back at him for a second, because my brain hadn’t quite processed what he’d just said just yet. Then it did, and my face split wide open into a huge grin and I replied “SURE!” He pointed to a single seat left at the end of the front row on the left side (facing the desk, I mean) where a young couple was sitting and told me that I could sit there next to them. I went over and sat down, and immediately went into freak-out mode. I was sitting in the front row. At the very end, but in the front row. I couldn’t believe it. And I inwardly blessed my decision and determination to get to the studio earlier that day, since it certainly paid off.
As more people filed in and were seated, I contented myself with looking around, and I noted the decoration of the studio that night. Last time it was filled with smoke and star-shaped lights touching every orifice of the studio. This time, every screen around the studio was programmed to show a backdrop of schools of fish swimming in a blue ocean, with blue wave-like lights softly pulsing on the ceiling, giving off an underwater effect. I naively wondered what was up with the ocean theme, then I remembered that Robert Ballard was the guest that night (of course), so it was a nice touch. I like how they decorate the studio before each taping as the audience is filing in. I made small talk with the couple next to me, who were friendlier than the couple I had sat next to last time. It occurred to me that my 2nd taping experience had many parallels to my 1st taping experience, with some minor differences. It was also during this experience that I witnessed 3 odd things, which will be pointed out in this reporT one by one. I looked around to try and find Trijya, and I saw that she’d been seated in the second row at the end of the center. We managed to make eye contact and smiled and waved at each other before going back to observing our surroundings.
At some point, Stephen’s bodyguard started talking to the people in the front row one group at a time. I had a feeling I knew what he was talking about, but, wanting to play along, pretended to feign indifference until he came to me and the couple. He told us how Stephen always comes out to high-five people sitting in the front row, and that he would do that with us, and he told us to keep our hands out but to not step out so that he won’t trip and fall. My anticipation went into overdrive at the very thought of being able to somehow touch Stephen, even for a few precious seconds. I once again blessed my good fortune.
Finally, after yet even more waiting, and when everyone was seated, the stand up act of the night (this time it was Pete Dominic) walked up and started warming us up for Stephen. I enjoyed Pete, but I like Paul Mercurio better. In no particular order, here’s how it went as best as I can remember:
A group of people all dressed up in suits who were from the National Defense University (they jokingly said that they were from a “war college”, which Pete went to town with).
Pete asked if anyone came from overseas to attend the taping, and it was a very international night with people from all over which included a guy from Dublin…Connecticut (he faked an Irish accent for a while before revealing his prank), a guy from Singapore who’s studying law (he talked about Singapore’s very strict policies and penalties, with him and Pete talking about the case of a boy who got caned for graffitti), a guy from Canada (whom Pete passed over) a woman who grew up in Rwanda (Pete made fun of her whenever he said something offensive and she looked upset, saying because she’s “seen it all” in Rwanda), a guy from Switzerland (he and Pete bonded on how Pete met his wife in Switzerland on top of a waterfall, with him crowing “Beat that! You can’t beat that!”), and, of course, my friend Trijya from India (Pete talked about Indians being stereotypically doctors or other intellectual figures, and, as if his point was made, he made a face when Trijya replied that she’s a college professor).
Finally, at long last, Pete got word that Stephen was ready to come out for the Q&A, and thus the joy machine went into motion: first the theme from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was played over the speakers, and Pete started getting us pumped up, standing up and cheering and clapping. Right at the peak of our clamour, he called out for Stephen, and out from the interview guest entrance came bursting out Stephen, who took Pete’s microphone and ran around his desk whooping, before beginning the tradition of hi-fiving people. As usual, he started by high-fiving staff on the sides before getting to the people in the front row. I was all set and ready with my hand out just waiting to be high-five him … but … I missed him. The boyfriend of the couple managed to touch Stephen’s hand, but the girlfriend and I both missed him as he went straight from the boyfriend to his staff standing next to us, thus completing his semi-circle. You can see how sitting on the very far end of any row, even the front row, can be a drawback. But my disappointment was tempered by the fact that Stephen still came so close to me, closer than he’s ever been before, and that was good enough for me. Then the music segued into “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Tricks, and Stephen bounded into the middle and flipped his microphone into the air and caught it (just barely), to thunderous applause and cheers. Then he took a deep bow and gave us one of his beautiful smiles before motioning us to sit down. He’s just as handsome and lovely as ever. I love this man so much. Seeing him in the flesh again made my body seize up with pleasure and my heart runneth over with joy.
Stephen began by thanking us vehemently and sincerely for being so patient and waiting so long. We’d heard that many times from many people that day already, but we still never know why. Fortunately, we no longer had to wait to find out why. Stephen explained to us that the reason that we had to wait so long and why we were starting the Q&A and taping later than usual was because…he was in jury duty that day. That’s right. Jury duty. No joke. I guess even celebrities have to perform their own civic duties to society, no matter how tedious. He went on to tell us how he was stuck there all day until right around the time of the 7th duty, then, when the clock struck on the hour, the judge or prosecutor (I don’t remember whom) came over and asked if they could speak to him on the side, which they did. He was asked on why on Question #26 on his questionnaire, he wrote down that he thought that the US Security Department was done very poorly? And he said that “he reads a lot about it and thinks that it’s screwed up” (I don’t think he said that verbatim to the prosecutor). Then he was asked something along the lines of if he’d ever want to sit in the place of the prosecutor during jury duty, and he replied with a very vehement “NO!”, saying because of how his character on his show thinks about the whole judicial process in general. He ended his sordid tale with a wry smile and stating how he may have to come back next week for the next 2-3 weeks (I don’t know if that or anything that I said made any sense at all; I was having a hard time following what he was saying, and not because I was overcome by his presence. I apologize). Well, that certainly explained why he was running a little late which then pushed everything else back.
After his completely excusable reason for the delay, he began the Q&A, starting with the innocuous statement of “Does anyone want to ask me something before I say these terrible things on the air?”. Immediately several hands shot up in the air. Just like last time, I didn’t ask him a question, partly because there wasn’t anything burning that I was dying to ask him about, and also because I was shy as usual. I was just content to sit back and listen (while also feverishly trying to memorize everything that I was seeing and hearing). It was a shorter Q&A from last time, most likely because Stephen had kept us waiting so long and he wanted to get to the taping soon, but at least he was still gracious enough to take a handful of questions. Here they are in order:
1. One guy asked him what the people of Wheat Thins thought about “[his] segment” (the Wheat Thins Sponsortunity segment he did a couple months ago, which was a work of genius), and Stephen went on to explain how 4 times a year, he promises to promote a certain product on his show segments, however way he can incorporate them (usually with the goal of getting out the subliminal message of “Eat this!”), and he kept getting very detailed instructions from the Wheat Thins people on the “Wheat Thins lifestyle”, and he couldn’t think of anything more
hilarious for a segment than their e-mails. When he was doing the segment, he was reading through the paper thoroughly making sure that he got out the main points of the e-mails (which were undoubtedly the most hilarious). And what was their reaction? They LOVED it. And now they hope that more products will be promoted the same way, to which Stephen answered with a very ironic look on his face that he hopes not because “that would be a bad idea”.
2. My friend Trijya was picked next. She’d been agonizing over whether to ask Stephen a question or not (because her friends kept pestering her – they knew that she was attending the taping and she was keeping them up to date via text up until we entered the studio), so I was pleased to see her raise her hand. First she congratulated Stephen on his Peabody award, to which Stephen thanked her graciously accompanied with applause from us (they mentioned to us to ask or congratulate Stephen on the Peabody, and she was the only person during the Q&A with the courtesy to do so, as the other questions were more self-serving). Then she asked him her question which was: If you had to choose, would you be the Pope or the President, and what would be the 1st thing that you would do? Stephen said that was a good question and he spent a few moments walking around with a thoughtful look on his face muttering over and over again into his microphone “Pope or President … Pope or President …” Finally he answered that he would be the Pope, because 1) you can’t be “un-Poped”, meaning you can’t be ousted from your position unless you die, become incapacitated (like by illness) or abdicate, unlike the President (but the 3rd option still applies), and 2) the President doesn’t make the rules and can’t really do anything himself, but the Pope can do anything he wants and decree anything he wants, like he (Stephen) would call for “gay marriage for everyone!” or “ice cream for breakfast!” (he said a 3rd decree but I didn’t hear it).
3. Another guy asked him how he deals with getting stomach hair stuck in his belt. For some reason I thought that was a weird question to ask. Stephen replied “I don’t. I shave from the neck down. So from the neck down, I’m like an eel.” That elicited many fangirl squeals.
4. Yet another guy stood up and asked him what was the last song he downloaded on his iPod. Stephen also spent a bit of time racking his brains trying to remember, before finally remembering that the last thing he downloaded was Regina Spektor, because (spoiler alert!) they’re going to have her on the show and he wanted to make sure that he “wanted it” (liked it), which he does.
5. One last guy was picked (he’d been trying to get Stephen’s attention the whole time), and he stood up and said that he was from Teterboro, NJ. What followed was a long, overblown attempt to coerce Stephen into doing something. Here’s what I understood at best: the man explained that there were 58 registered delegates in Teterboro, and that if Stephen came down to the town and convinced them to vote, he could stay there for 30 days and he could legally change the name of the town to Colbert, NJ. I don’t know if that made any sense at all. It didn’t to me. Maybe he was referring to Colbert Super PAC, but again this flew way over my head. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one, which I’m grateful for; Stephen himself seemed a bit baffled trying to wrap that idea around his head, though I think he got it faster than I did. The man kept up his pitch but finally Stephen firmly said no, definitely not, because it didn’t sound legal and he felt like he would be violating something, but he commented that that was interesting that something like that could be allowed to happen.
At that point, he got a sign from someone on the side and he said “Are we ready? Are you ready to do the show (he said this to us)? All right, let’s go!” Then he flipped his microphone towards Mark who was sitting in the center audience section on the steps (who caught it), and he bounded up to the eagle’s nest. Once he got to his desk and sat down, staff members started getting themselves and their cameras into position. And, right on cue, the 3 women who always touch up Stephen before the taping begins walked up to the desk, where Stephen stood up and promptly took off his glasses. One woman touched up his face powder, another adjusted his microphone on his tie, and the third gave his hair the Romney treatment. During the touch-up, Stephen lip-synced to the music that was playing in the background. When the hair lady was doing her job after the other 2 had finished and left, he stopped lip-syncing and looked up at her with an adoring expression on his face, and, right on cue as it always is every night, as she sprayed and patted his hair into place, he reached up and touched her hair back in turn. A few people laughed when he did that, while some fangirls (myself included) looked on in mild envy. After that, he settled into his desk and looked over his script a bit, while also resuming his lip-syncing and also began grooving to the music. Mark walked up to him and started grooving with him also, which was funny to watch. I love how they find fun in every part of the process of putting on the show. They also got serious and talked to each other while occasionally gesturing to the script. When they were done with that, Stephen reached underneath his desk, pulled out a WristStrong bracelet, slipped it on and twirled it around his wrist before pulling it off and flicking it into the audience. He then took out more WristStrong bracelets and flicked them into the audience. Again, I didn’t get one (:(), no matter how rigorously I waved my hand. The BF caught one, but instead of giving it to his GF, he slipped it onto his own wrist.
Finally, everything was all set. Stephen got into position, and Mark started counting down. It’s always so intriguing to see the slow transformation from Stephen to “Stephen” right in front of your eyes. When Mark got down to one, Stephen launched into the intro. It was so cool to see the intro from the inside, when he turns to different cameras and gives out the bullet points for that night’s show. At the conclusion, when he almost broke character at the part when he’s talking about the NFL’s new uniforms, I thought he’d redo the intro again, but he left it alone and sallied forth toward the start of the theme song. As the theme song played, I could feel the anticipation of the whole crowd, especially when we were watching Mark holding up his rolled up newspaper at the ready. Before the eagle cry even rang out, Mark twirled his baton, and we stood up and cheered and clapped as hard as we could, while Stephen drank in our madness. And with that, the taping began.
Shameless plug here: you can actually see me for a few seconds(!!!!!). Depending on what video you watch (if you watch the full episode, the time slot is from 0:53-0:55; if you catch just the clip, it’s from 0:00-0:01), I’m the blurry figure at the end of the front row on the left facing the desk, with a blue top (actually a blue-and-white gingham pattern, but obviously you can’t see that on screen), jeans and my arms and hands up over my head clapping furiously (if someone could make a screencap of that, I will love you forever). Not bad for my first (sort-of-maybe-not-really) TV appearance/debut, huh?
Our cheering was a little off. About two-thirds of the audience were chanting one way, and the other third (my section) was chanting at a different time beat, but soon the larger section chanting beat my section. Right after we were done cheering and clapping and had sat down at Stephen’s request, that’s when he made the shout-out to “all of his friends in Teterboro, New Jewsey” (and now you understand the inside joke). Of course, we laughed and cheered for the mention of the inside joke, though we also cracked up that he said “New Jewsey” instead of “New Jersey” (guess the word got caught up in his mouth, although to be fair they both sound similar at least in the beginning syllable), while he smiled and winked and repeated the word again as if he was aware of the error that he made, but just like the intro, he left that little mistake in the final edit.
Onto the Peabody segment. Now here he DID have a character break, which was great for the audience to see but bad for the late night viewers since that part was re-done. It was right after he announced his Peabody award, brought it out and showed it off accompanied with our deafening cheers. He was saying the part which was “I’m so happy to finally get a second one”; it came out as “I’m so happy to make- s***!”, and he bent his head down to his desk while letting out his sounds-like-he’s-exhaling-audibly laugh, then sitting back up and covering his mouth with his fist while trying to stop laughing. We, of course, made no effort to stop our laughter. When he was done, he just put on a faux-helpless look on his face, threw his hands open and said, “This is the first time we’ve ever made a mistake! We don’t know what to do!” He told Mark that they’d redo that bit again, right around the part when the Peabody announcement clip was played before he brings out his Peabody and shows it off. He told us, “Let’s see how well you can fake being excited a second time!” Fortunately we met that challenge, and more. Now…I found it a bit strange (or at least absent) that he DID NOT say the speech on not re-blogging any mistake that goes on behind the scenes. It just felt, at least to me, like it’s such an integral part of the TCR taping experience (when he says that every time he makes the 1st mistake of the night) that for it not to be done is like losing a single piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Maybe spending the whole day in jury duty had fried Stephen’s brain so he wasn’t thinking about his usual statements to say. But I let it slide, though I marked that as Odd Thing #1 in my mental books. So Stephen redid that bit from the part that I just mentioned, and the rest of the segment went great. I felt so proud to be witness to yet another great achievement on Stephen’s and his staff’s part. They wholeheartedly deserve this Peabody award for all the great work they’ve done on Colbert Super PAC (I wonder if Trevor Potter gets to share the award…).
After the 1st part of the show was done, Mark and 3 other men walked up to the desk and started talking to Stephen about the next segment. One of the men I recognized as Dave Javerbaum, but the other two did not stick out to me. That’s when I noticed Odd Thing #2: no Paul Dinello. Remembering my sighting from earlier, I guessed that maybe tonight was an off night, as long as everything was okay with him and his family. But again, it’s just such an integral part of the taping experience to see Paul come out and converse with Stephen that it still felt a bit strange to feel his non-presence. By the way, even though I’d missed out on hi-fiving Stephen, I LOVED my seat; it had SUCH a great view. I could peek at Stephen through the gaps of the men standing around the desk and watch him preparing for the next bit. He didn’t look tired or stressed or anything; just fully focused on his job but able to put in a light-hearted joke or smile once in a while (at least that’s what I interpreted from his body language). They spent an especially long time consulting the script. Finally they finished conversing and went on to the next bit.
I really enjoyed the Quaker Oats Guy’s Makeover/Wilford Brimley Phone Call Segment. I remember reading about the QOG’s “facelift” and briefly wondered if Stephen would talk about it (I always love when I read about something and Stephen then covers it on his show because you already know what it’s about and can’t wait to see what Stephen will do with it), and he did not disappoint. The whole bit went off perfectly with no mistakes. The best part was watching Stephen during the Wilford phone call. While he was watching the video playing on the TV monitors with us, he was laughing and grinning widely the whole time. I was so torn between wanting to watch/listen to the Stephen and Wilford exchange and wanting to watch Stephen’s reaction to the video. It was just such a beautiful sight to behold, especially with that heart-melting smile of his. I’ll say that I did like 60% watching Stephen and 40% watching/listening to the clip, knowing that I’d be watching that bit again later. Either way, it was still great fun.
After the second segment was done, Mark and the 3 men came up to the desk yet again, and the audience relaxed and talked amongst themselves. Me? I went back to my mission of feverishly remembering all that I had seen and heard so far as best as I can, punctuated with occasional adoring glances at Stephen through the gaps of the man group around him. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long. Soon Mr. Ballard was escorted out of the interviewee entrance and was seated at the interview table. A few people clapped for him, but we mostly just waited contentedly for the interview to begin. Before Mark began counting down for the cameras to begin rolling again for the interview, Stephen, alone up in his desk, managed to catch Robert’s eye, and they miled and waved at each other, which I thought was really cute.
The interview…oh, the interview…if only you could have been there to hear it live and in person way before the rest of the Colbert Nation. It went off without a hitch, and it was just as interesting as I had hoped it would be. I think Stephen found it really interesting too, knowing his fondness for anything historical. It was just like what you all saw later when it was broadcast that night…except for one thing. A big chunk of it was cut out of the final editing, probably for screening constraints, but maybe also because of its lip-biting intimacy. The part that got cut out was between when Ballard said that when he visited 24 remaining survivors around the time when he found the Titanic and they told him that the Titanic should be treated respectfully because it is the graveyard of their parents and when Stephen said that it was amazing how things stay preserved in an oxygen-starved environment ( down in the deep ocean). What was cut out was a story that Ballard told Stephen (and us) of how on the night of the tragedy, those who weren’t fortunate to get into the lifeboats (or, in some cases, sacrificed their spot in the boat for others), they most likely froze to death within 30 minutes of being in the below-zero waters. They then sank down to the bottom of the ocean floor with the Titanic, so that when the Titanic hit the ocean floor and lay in its eternal position, there were bodies scattered all around the ocean liner. Then, as time went by, every part of their being disintegrated little by little: first their flesh, then their bones, then their clothes, until finally what would be left would be their shoes. Somehow their shoes withstood the salinity of the ocean and were perfectly preserved, and they would be the only remnants and proof that there was once a living being in those shoes. And when Ballard and his team went down to find the Titanic, he found something that had an impact on him: a pair of shoes that once belonged to a mother, and right beside those…was a pair of baby shoes. And he said to Stephen (and to us), “Would you want to take away those last remains of a human being in its final resting place just so that you could have a souvenir or put it in a museum? No, you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. Nobody should.” Everyone in the room was dead silent. I think we were all horrified at the thought, but also maybe because it really sank in for us just how real that tragedy was. It chills me just remembering. And looking at Stephen, he was probably feeling the same way as us. The whole time he was just very focused and absorbed with what Ballard was saying. The concentration was palpable. That was the story that Ballard recounted to exemplify his mission to preserve the Titanic and what it meant to the victims’ families; that’s also what Stephen meant when he made the comment about things being perfectly preserved down there. Fortunately Stephen was able to bring the conversation around and end it on a light note, which was surely the right thing to do after hearing that story.
After the interview ended, we clapped for Ballard at Stephen’s request to thank him for coming and doing the interview/show with us. Stephen shook his hand and thanked him again, Ballard left the studio through the entrance where we came in, and Stephen went back to his desk for the sign-off.
Usually Stephen doesn’t take too long to prepare for the sign-off, but that night this exchange happened which delayed it a bit: While he was at the desk, a woman with long brown hair and wearing a jeans jacket, a flower-patterned dress and long black boots walked up to the desk from the sidelines where I was sitting. When Stephen caught sight of her, he looked both really surprised but really happy to see her. He got up from the desk, walked around it towards her and gave her a long and enthusiastic hug, the kind that any fangirl would wish for or dream of (I know I do). Unless my ears were failing on me, it sounded like he said something of the likes of “How are you? It’s been so long!”, with the woman replying in kind to his question. When they were done hugging, the woman started telling him about something, with Mark and Javerbaum walking up to the desk at the same time and standing around listening. Again couldn’t really hear, their voice levels were too low for my ears to catch on, but from the body language that I observed, it seemed like a conflict of some sorts. Stephen, while listening to the woman as she kept talking, at first looked confused (he made a “What?” facial expression/grimace at some point), and then he didn’t look very happy (he kept frowning from then on). When she was done, he shook his head while speaking at the same time like he was denying whatever she said, and he sat down on the desk while still talking to her (she sat down too) as if he was trying to clarify/explain something. He seemed very adamant about it. Every so often Mark and Javerbaum would chime in with their own thoughts. It made my chest constrict to see him not smiling and thought that something was wrong. Soon, however, Stephen made a final resolve or his final point, and the woman nodded, turned around and walked away from the desk, and vanished into the sidelines. Stephen no longer looked confused or concerned; he looked quite relieved, like whatever trouble they were discussing had been resolved, and he went back to preparing for the sign-off. I stole a quick glance at the audience, and saw some people exchanging looks or conversing quietly with each other. I wondered if, just like me, they were wondering what the exchange had been all about and what had made Stephen a little tense. But since we couldn’t hear anything, we can’t speculate. And as long as some form of solution is brought about, not our problem, not our business.
The sign-off went off perfectly, and when the cameras were turned off, Stephen got up, walked to the front of his desk and leaned against it on the edge. He looked at his Peabody award with a great sense of pride and touched it affectionately. Then, whilestill touching it, he turned back to us and said, “The best thing about a Peabody, apart from the fact that it’s better than an Emmy, is that everyone wins, everyone shares it.” And he thanked his writers and staff sincerely for all they do to make the show happen. My heart swelled up with happiness and pride, not only to see how happy and thankful Stephen was for the very deserved win, but at how he never fails to always thank his staff for everything they do, because they really do a fantastic job, and he’s a great boss for always acknowledging their competence, skill and hard work and making them feel that what they do, for all the grueling hours they spend for weeks on end, is worth it. I saw a few look back at him with thankful, appreciative smiles on their faces, which nearly made my heart burst.
After that plug, he took one more question before leaving for the night (I swear … does his generosity know no bounds?). A blond boy was the lucky pick, and this was his question: Did you create the Super PAC to educate people on how it works? And Stephen’s reply was: “I created it to educate me. I wanted to learn more about, and it’s screwed up.” He continued on saying that he couldn’t believe that they’ve been covering the issue and making jokes about it for 13 months now, and he finished by saying however the Super PAC issue speaks to us is not up to him; “If it interests you, if it educates you, if you are educated by it, it’s all up to you.” And with that, he said good night and walked off while waving to us, as we cheered and clapped once more. We didn’t get up just yet, because the staff wanted to make sure that Stephen was completely out of sight first; he shook hands with a few people standing on the side where we entered in from the waiting area, then truly disappeared, and the 2nd bodyguard kept looking in that direction for a few moments before making a sign and a nod to Mark that Stephen was truly gone. With that, we all began got up and started leaving.
Walking alongside the slow-moving crowd, I ended up passing by Serious Bodyguard who was standing in front of the desk, right when he denied a guy’s request to take a picture of him at the desk. As I passed by him, I smiled and thanked him, with that thank wordlessly encompassing not just the fact that he unwittingly allowed me to see that there was some humanity in him after all, but also for giving me such an awesome seat, and he smiled back at me and said I was welcome. I’m glad to say that I will never be afraid of him again. We were herded out of the studio pretty quickly, and very soon I was back out of the rabbit hole.
By luck, I saw Trijya standing outside making sure that she had her things with her, and I joined her and we started walking up the street together. She was very happy with her first taping experience and was ecstatic that she got to ask Stephen a question and that she actually spoke to him; she confided that she was shaking the whole time. I myself was very happy for her that she’d had a great time and that it went well for her. Soon it was time for us to part ways. She had to take a bus back to Secaucus where she was staying with friends for the night, and her poor feet were so tired from first walking around all day then standing around all day, so I helped her to flag down a cab to take her to her designated bus station and saw her off until I’d made sure that she was on her way. And then I was alone.
Standing all by myself on the street corner, I could slowly feel the euphoric, magical high that I’d been feeling all night starting to fade away, and I wasn’t ready to leave yet. I turned around to look at the studio just one more time, and as I did, the high continued to sink, just like the Titanic, into the frigid waters of reality. That’s when I noticed Odd Thing #3: not a single soul was around. Nobody was waiting for Stephen after the taping at all. The only person around was Serious Bodyguard, waiting for Stephen as usual. You hear of so many accounts of fangirls getting their Stephen experience by waiting for him after the taping that to see no one waiting for him was strange. I’m sure it happens, if rarely, but it’s so surreal when you actually witness it firsthand. If any night would have been a good night for me to try and stay behind to wait for Stephen, it would have been that night. But as I’ve stated before, I don’t feel comfortable or brave enough waiting around for Stephen by myself without any support (like having a friend or two with me). And besides, it was much too cold and windy for my liking that night to stand around and wait (probably why everyone left right away), and I wasn’t too keen to stand there any longer at that point. Still, it took me great effort to make myself turn around and start walking away without looking back, with little success. And on my walk to the nearest subway station that’d get me back to Queens the fastest, it was hard to tell if my suddenly sniffling nose and watering eyes were due to the un-relenting wind, or my own inner sadness at having to leave that wonderful place once again until who-knows-when. I say it was the former…although the latter may have been a smidgen true by a long margin.
I had a really great time at my 2nd taping, as I knew I would, and am at least satiated until the next time. If any of you are confused or have questions about anything I wrote, feel free to ask away in the comments section and I’ll answer them as best as possible! I hope you all enjoyed reading this despite the long length (and sorry if you found this too long) and I look forward to attending another taping and writing another taping reporT again in the future!
Hubster lockhart43 sent us this wonderful “Taping ReporT” of her trip to the May 8th, 2012 taping of “The Colbert Report”.
I’m going to assume most of you have read a taping reporT before, so I won’t spend time on what happened before the taping started. But I will get to the awesomeness that happened after.
Pete Dominick was the stand-up comic, and he was very funny. This is worth mentioning because he talked to a member of the audience who said he was a “cousin” of Stephen’s from South Carolina (the man is probably telling the truth, but I still feel the need to use quotations), and was there to ask Stephen about his SuperPac money. The man said that South Carolina was thinking of seceding again and Pete very cleverly said something along the lines of, “You guys can go ahead. I think America can really do without South Carolina.” Ha!
Stephen came out to greet us, peppy and joyous as always and right away began to take a few audience questions. The ones I remember:
- The girl sitting directly in the row ahead of me asked Stephen what person (Stephen had her clarify that she meant what race so he could give a specific answer) from LOTR he would be, and he said a man. Then he went into a long, adorable spiel about why he wouldn’t be anything else, but I don’t remember it. Just know that it was nerdy and wonderful. He asked her what she would be and she said an elf/hobbit hybrid and Stephen laughed and said it sounded impossible because “What elf would do a hobbit?”
- A guy asked him about his experience doing “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Stephen said “So I did Whose Line…” and then stopped talking like he was done. Then he said that he has a background in improv theatre, but when he thinks of improv, he doesn’t think of it in terms of improv games, which is what they do on “Whose Line.” When he said that he would do the show, he told them he would only do it under one condition: he didn’t have to rap, because a white guy rapping was the “lowest form of comedy,” which got applause. So he told them that one condition, “And they f***ing made me rap!”
- Stephen’s “cousin” that Pete had talked to earlier asked Stephen to use some of his SuperPac money to run for some sort of office in South Carolina. I can’t for the life of me remember his response, but in finding out that the man was from South Carolina, Stephen asked, “Are we related?” and the man said yes, so Stephen then said, “Ever since it got out that the SuperPac has 1.3 million dollars, I suddenly have a lot of cousins.”
- A guy asked him if when he gave his SuperPAC to Jon Stewart, if he gave him any threats not to spend any of the money. Stephen then explained that he couldn’t just give it to Jon because it would have been illegal. Jon had to offer to take it from him so that it wouldn’t be considered coordinating. He said with a wry smile, “If you think there is such a thing as federal election law, you are soooo, so wrong.”
The show went very smoothly; they only had one redo. It was during the joke about Karl Rove getting monetary donations from unknown sources and receiving them through a glory hole – first of all, Stephen about cracked up, which was hilarious. But the graphic popped up too late, so Stephen wanted to redo it, and then said to us, ”If we’re going to do a joke about Karl Rove getting money donated through a glory hole… I want to get it right.” He stifled a giggle and then said, “Karl’s a friend.” Also, before the cut to the video, Stephen practiced the emphasis-implying hand gesture (which he used immediately after) while he was watching the clip, which I loved, because it shows how seriously he takes every second of that show.
I want to tell you that I paid attention during the interview with Senator McCaskill, but I did not. I cheered and laughed when I was supposed to, but throughout the show I basically spent as much time as I possibly could watching Stephen, his reactions to things, and the way he interacted with Tom Purcell and Paul Dinello during the commercial breaks. The taping goes by so fast, so you really want to soak in every second you can. During the break before the Michelle Alexander interview, Paul and Purcell were talking with Stephen and they must have been talking about something very funny because Stephen started laughing and then began to mime a parachute landing. He also pet the Hair and Makeup woman’s hair just before the show, as always.
I wanted to take a minute to give you my own background on Maurice Sendak before I talk about that segment. Unfortunately, the only Sendak book that I have read has been Where The Wild Things Are. But that book was such an enormous part of my childhood. I’ve said this before, but my childhood can be summed up with three things: the television show “Rugrats,” any book by Shel Silverstein, and Where The Wild Things Are. It so perfectly captures the absolute joy, but also the absolute pain and uncertainty of childhood. When I saw the film that they adapted from the book, I didn’t get five minutes into it without bawling my eyes out. So I was incredibly sad to hear of his passing this morning. In my opinion, Sendak was absolutely spot-on in saying how painful life can be as a child sometimes and how you shouldn’t shield your children from knowing that that pain is possible. I tell you this because during that segment, Stephen was watching it very intently on the monitor in his desk, and he was smiling and laughing right along with us. His reaction at Sendak’s remark about how one should raise their kids seemed to reflect that he really appreciated what he said. It was very sweet and a big moment in the show for me, and if I hadn’t been so amped to be there, I would have started crying.
During the sign-off, Stephen was trying to figure out how to sit in his chair while reading I Am A Pole, and after talking it over with Mark, the stage manager, he settled on kicking his feet up on the desk.
After the taping, Stephen asked if there were any more questions. Because I thought of this question during the Alexander interview, I shot my hand up right away. I asked, “I noticed you’ve been having a lot of musical guests on the show, and more and more you’ve been singing with them. Is there a reason why that’s happened or are you just getting more comfortable singing with them?” He said he did it very early on in the show, and he’s been doing it a lot now, and that there have just been more opportunities to sing with them. I nodded and then said, “I enjoy it, is what I’m saying.” Some women in the audience cheered and Stephen smiled and said thank you very graciously.
Stephen said he could take one more question, so a guy from Michigan State (I come to New York City and I still find people from my home state) said he started a Spartans For Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Stephen wished them the best of luck. He then said that even though he has no control over the PACs starting up at all of the colleges, he really does hope that they start to “f**k things up.” In other words, Stephen’s really hoping the college PACs start to bring to light all of the issues with our current federal election laws and that they start to make it very difficult for the laws to continue. I really love that he said that. Stephen also asked the guy if he was looking for the treasure and hinted that it would be complicated to find.
After the taping, my friend and I walked outside and I met up with the two girls who I had stood next to and talked with in line. One of the interns had given them a swag bag and they were very excited about it; they also had been given VIP seats during the taping and were sitting right in the front row where Paul Dinello had been standing. I asked them if they knew that that was him, and they didn’t until I told them he was Geoffrey Jellineck on Strangers With Candy. They were all excited after finding that out, so I asked them if they planned on waiting for a bit to try to meet Stephen. They said they hadn’t, but they were totally up for it. To be honest, I hadn’t planned on it either (since I met him at the taping I was at two years ago), but they seemed like big fans of the show like me and I sort of wanted to wait around with them and help them if I could. Well, it totally worked. About five-to-ten minutes later, Paul Dinello walked out! As soon as I saw him, I said, “Hi Paul Dinello! How are you?” He smiled and asked if we had been to the show and asked if we liked it. He then very graciously posed for pictures, chatted with us for a bit and could not have been nicer. He seemed tickled that we recognized him.
Then, as if the night wasn’t wonderful enough, about twenty minutes after that, Stephen walked out. I noticed that his wife Evie was with him, which made me a bit nervous because that probably meant that he was in a hurry and I didn’t want to bother him. So as he came closer (with an adorable smile on his face), I said “Hi, Stephen” and asked him as politely and kindly as I possibly could if we could get a picture and again, he could not have been nicer. Seriously. There’s the nicest guy on the planet, and then there’s Stephen. Most people would just say they’re too busy and be on their way. Not Stephen. And I cannot thank him enough for that. Evie was also very, very nice and even offered to take his umbrella for him so that we could all squeeze in the picture (he was in a hurry after all, and couldn’t take pictures with each of us).
Well, there you have it! I may or may not have written the majority of this on my iPod on the subway back to our hotel rather scatterbrained-like to remember as much as I could, so I apologize if this has been way too long and a bit of a read. I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did typing it and reliving it!
Iâm fresh from a taping and ready with a ReporT! Itâs going to take the place of an episode guide, as I have quite a bit to say.
This was my second time at TCR, so I pretty much knew the drill. I arrived around 3:30 and was #22 on line. I had a great time chatting with the folks near me, who were real bibliophiles and fans, so the time passed quickly. Once we were allowed to enter Stephenâs pearly gates , the staff seemed even more ebullient than I remember, and from the response of everyone there, it was pretty clear that this was going to be a really enthusiastic audience. I also have to say that watching those clips in the anteroom never gets old. (Eleanor Holmes Norton â yea! Green Screen Challenge: Fantastic!)
Because I was by myself, I got a nice third-row center seat, a little blocked by the camera, but otherwise excellent. I’m going to skip all the stuff about the warm-up comic (who was very good) and go straight to the heart of the matter, when Stephen bounded out, ran around his desk several times and high-fived the first row. Promptly after his high-speed studio dash, he announced that he was sick, and had been ever since the middle of his boat trip. (Too bad for everyone who touched him!) Then he started taking questionsâquite a few this evening, one of which was mine. But more on that later.
The first questionâasked by my one of my friendly neighbors from the lineâconcerned a trick Stephen can play with his ear, and whether he would do it for us. And he did, folding his lobe inside out; then, when he said âhelloâ to a female member of the audience, he winked and it popped out. (See this Letterman clip where he does it.). Someone then wondered why Stephen had chosen particularly to participate in charities that combat autism. Stephen responded that Robert Smigelâs son was autistic and he wanted to help. The questioner thanked him and said that he had an autistic brother, and Stephen said something about being happy to help him, too.
Another one of my neighbors from the line got the next question in, asking whether Stephen would recommend Second City or another comedy troupe from New York (sorry, I forgot the name) to someone beginning her training. Stephen asked her where she lived, and joked that it would be a long commute to Chicago. But more seriously, he went on to say that Second City was the best place to learn improv, rather than traditional stand-up, and Chicago the best place to succeed with this type of comedy. âIf you canât make it there, you canât make it anywhere,â he stated.
Next upâ¦ME. I mentioned that I had seen Old Times, and more recently Company, and asked him if there were any theater, or any roles he dreamed of doing. Interestingly, he answered no, because TCR allows him to do anything he wantsâespecially as heâs the Executive Producer! He went on to talk about his start as a serious actor and the black turtlenecks and how he had given that up. (I thought about saying he might reconsider the turtlenecks because he really looks good in them, but resisted the temptation.) So, in spite of the fact that he enjoyed working with Stephen Sondheim, heâs just not looking for more. So that’s good news for fans of the Report, a little disappointing to us who would like to see more of him on stage. I have to say, though, when Stephen speaks to you, even in that audience, he really speaks to YOU. You get full attention. Wow.
The last two questions before the show began (he did answer one more at the end, but I donât recall what it was) concerned South Carolina and the recent Charleston/Bermuda race. Someone asked him what he really thought of South Carolina and he said âitâs the most beautiful place on earth.â He would happily do the show from there, if he could, given that both his and his wifeâs families are from there. (Stephen did admit New York is pretty darn good, since working from SC isnât possible.) And finally: a woman asked him how many Swizzles heâd drunk at the end of the race. (Recipe for Bermuda Rum Swizzles here.) Stephen responded by saying heâd had âDark and Stormysââmany of them, starting at 8:30 in the morning and continuing for 36 hours! (Recipe for THAT, here.)
Then Stephen finally headed to his seat, the hairdresser played with his hairâand he smiled at her and played with hers back. The show was ready to begin. Wellâ¦ not so fast. Know how Stephen doesnât mess up too much? Remember that heâs sick? In any case, he blew it almost immediately on the âTable of Contents,â bursting into laughter when he went into the âmountains into molehills out of mountainsâ line. He had to re-record the entire opening! And that was only the start of the fun. You saw two smaller character breaksâone with Jay the intern and I believe one with the chocolate Emmy. But there were four. He also had a problem with the large Emmy posters with attached DVDs that were not easily manipulable. So he had another do-over with the pulling out of the disc. And by the way, as Iâve heard heâs done on other occasions, he did say that no one had to know about the mistakes thanks to the magic of postproductionâ¦as long as there werenât any bloggers. Oops. Sorry, Stephen. My sincerest apologies, but too good not to share.
In between segments, Stephen was surrounded by four people, and they seemed to be discussing the script or the direction. One of those men was the very handsome, very talented Paul Dinello. It was fun to see him and just gaze. Also in the breaks: a sneezing and wheezing Stephen. I hope that man gets lots of cold medicine and rest.
I thought Stephenâs bit on Anthony Weiner was pretty funny, although as a supporter of Weinerâs Iâm a little upset about all this and the fact that it could diminish the good work heâs doing. (Anthony Weinerâs very good friend Jon did a fine job with that topic last night, too…though Donald and the pizza really had me in stitches. I heartily recommend that.) And he and Jay the Intern were pretty adorable pressed together cheek-to-cheek. But will BFF Jimmy Fallon have anything to say about Stephenâs coattail accusations? I hope so. Theyâre so cute when they feud. And the Jon Emmy win and the bitter chocolate? Ha! But I hope that doesn’t prove prescient. We love you Jon, but didn’t you learn in preschool how to share? It’s Stephen’s turn to play!
During the last break before the interview, Robert Kennedy Jr. came in to take his place at the table and many people in the audience applauded even before the on-air introduction. That hadnât happened the last time I saw a taping. Have any of you who attended tapings experienced this? I enjoyed the interview very much and fully sympathize with Kennedyâs cause. I also got a little choked up when he spoke about his father.
And speaking of whichâ¦I just remembered the last question! After the strong applause for Kennedy (Stephen briefly left with him), and the sign-off, Stephen took that one final query: ”Who was your favorite guest?” And it was Andrew Youngâ”because he knew my father.” I’m sure that was on his mind after Kennedy’s comments. On that touching note, I shall end this ReporT, with many thanks to Stephen for soldiering through, for answering my and many other audience members question, and oh wellâ¦for just being Stephen.
Cheers, all. What did you think of the episode? Which segment was your favorite? Let me know!