My retired mother spends her time watching talk shows, especially one of her favorites, Live with Kelly Ripa. She has tried for years to get tickets and finally the day comes when she snags a pair of tickets to Live with Kelly. As her only child living in New York City, I was roped into going. Mom called it a “mothers day gift” while I called it cruel and unusual torture. Mom’s luck didn’t end with Kelly Ripa. As a fluke she put in for Late Night with David Letterman tickets, and just my luck she got them. It was two days in two different studio audiences for me–this is not going to turn out well.
The Letterman show was first up and by far the worse talk show experience out of the two. We had to pick up our tickets at 2:30pm, then come back 30 minutes later to stand in line for one and a half hours before the taping began. While we were in line, we received multiple lectures on how to clap, laugh and react by at least three different people.
One of Letterman’s pages told us he was very impressed that “Dave never used a laugh track” then went on to instruct us to laugh even if we didn’t think the joke was funny. I didn’t want to bust the page boy’s bubble, but basically the audience was a human laugh track–so don’t be so easily impressed page-boy.
Why laugh at un-funny jokes? The page’s theory was that if we went home and discussed the jokes with someone else we would discover the jokes were actually funny. I think he was telling me, “you’re an idiot and can’t get Dave’s ‘highbrow’ sense of humor” [a questionable way to warm up an audience].
To warm us up even more we got a threat! If we didn’t laugh properly Dave will get upset, lose his energy and the writers will pull the good jokes for another night. Great! I’m already two hours into this nightmare, and now you’re telling me if the audience doesn’t laugh I’m going to get crappy jokes? The audience must have sucked because the jokes weren’t that funny.
After two hours we were finally let in to the studio only to be greeted by a video narrated by Alec Baldwin on how to be a good audience member. I guess Dave really thinks his audiences are morons–It’s at least the 4th or 5th time we been told how to act.
Dave came out for about a minute prior to the show to interact with the audience. Not even once during the commercial breaks does Dave interact with the audience. When it’s over he says “thank you” and leaves the stage. I have wasted three hours and don’t even get a little bonus time with Dave–that’s pathetic.
I have to say Live with Kelly Ripa was a bit better. First off, we didn’t have to get there three hours prior to taping but rather only an hour and fifteen minute before air time. Instead of the endless speeches about laughing, her people were trying hock us Kelly Ripa merchandise – a bit tacky. The pitch was the Live with Kelly merch is “limited edition” because Kelly would eventually pick a co-host. Meanwhile the Live with Regis and Kelly merch was 50% off. I don’t think Kelly’s merch is a very good investment. I might be better off with the Facebook stock instead since I don’t think its lost 50% of its value yet.
If you’re thirsty don’t worry. The only beverage you could bring into the studio was, of course, the Live with Kelly water. It was quite special water and I think it was her actual pee triple filtered like a fine vodka. I passed since I really wanted some Live with Kelly coffee. I knew I would need it since her first guest was Billy Bob Thornton who prattled on about his phobias–all I really wanted to hear about was how it was his strange marriage to Angelina Jolie, naturally in daytime TV that wasn’t discussed.
Just like Letterman we received detailed instructions on how to react, but luckily it was only once. The show’s very metro-sexual producer Michael Gelman gave us instructions on how to respond to Kelly. In rehearsal (yes, we had to rehearse) the audience responded incorrectly and Gelman snidely remarked, “some audiences are smart, some audiences are pretty and today we have a very good-looking group.” I was there and the crowd wasn’t particularly that attractive, so it was just an overt way of calling us morons. Do you see the pattern developing yet?
Unlike Letterman, Kelly was a chatter box during the commercial breaks. She grabbed a microphone and practically did another show off the camera. One bit I caught on tape was Kelly talking about her son who has dyslexia. Billy Bob also has dyslexia so Kelly wanted to share a story of how her son was able to sound out the word “shit” he saw on a building. It was a cute story that I caught the end of on the iPhone and Kelly does say the S word:
Kelly did have one pretty good guest – Giant’s Quarterback Eli Manning. The conversation was pretty much fluff and barely memorable. But her co-host Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor and a big Dallas Cowboys fan, seemed uninterested to have Manning on the show. I can’t imagine any football fan who wouldn’t be creaming in their pants to meet a two-time Super Bowl champ. After Harrison chatted with Manning for a bit he thought Manning was good guy and insisted on hugging it out. Manning begrudgingly hugged him, but the expression on his face was “who is this guy” and “I could care less if he likes me.” Something tells me Harrison worked that stunt out in his head to make himself look more self-important. It was pretty lame.
After Manning walked off the set the hottest girl in the audience got ushered back to get her picture with Manning, meanwhile the hausfrau from New Jersey holding a football and a pen was begging Gelmen to get Manning’s autograph for her but to no avail.
In case you were wondering what the lady looked like who got her picture with Manning, I didn’t get a picture of her, but I did get a picture of her shoes. You can probably piece together Manning’s type by taking a looking at them:
Now Chris Harrison, a much smaller star than Eli Manning and Kelly Ripa, could only pose for one picture with an audience member, the pregnant lady who sat in front of us. Her friend also asked to get a picture with him, but he said “I can’t, I have to go.” Again, pretty lame. If I was Kelly I wouldn’t pick him as my co-host–the guy can’t even pose for two lousy pictures.
All in all Kelly was very cool, so if you had to see one show, Kelly is probably your best bet. But be prepared to stay longer than 10 am. After the show is done they cut promos, and segments for when they are vacation. We probably didn’t leave there until 11am. However you weren’t locked in, I did see a few people leave. Mom wanted to stay–so we stayed!!!