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I have been a fan of talk show host Wendy Williams for a few years now.
I mainly watch The Wendy Williams Show for the hot topics segment. Considering it feels like the state of the world is constantly about to implode (just watch 10 minutes of CNN and you’ll get what I mean), celebrity culture feels more trivial than ever, but it’s Wendy that can make a story about a random reality television star I know nothing about actually interesting. Wendy’s funny and real, which makes her show so much fun to watch.
The show films in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.
Now, I only did two television tapings during my time in Los Angeles. The first was a sitcom taping that ran WAY too long, but the reason I wanted to attend that sitcom taping was because the legendary Rita Moreno was in it. The 5+ hours was worth it though, since I got to meet Rita, chat with her briefly, and even get an autograph.
The other television taping was Jimmy Kimmel Live and that was also a good time – plus Jimmy is very nice as well.
FYI, unless you have a time machine to attend an I Love Lucy, Seinfeld or Friends taping, go catch a talk show instead. They are only several hours of your time, as opposed to the ridiculously long sitcom tapings.
Obviously, New York is full of amazing shows for you to be in the audience of. There’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, and The View.
What sets Wendy’s show apart is how much her audience is included in the show – she even calls her studio audience her co-hosts. Originally, I had planned to go for my birthday, but since it would be during summer hiatus, I figured I better go as soon as possible.
I got my free tickets online via www.wendyshow.com. They gave specific clothing directions, which can best be summarized by ‘dress to impress’. Her audience is featured on-camera quite a bit, so yeah, it’s a great excuse to dress up!
We had to be in line outside the studio in Chelsea by 8:00 a.m. for the Thursday taping. Thankfully the weather was great, but if you are attending show tapings in the winter, be mindful to dress warm.
Once we got our paper ticket with a seating section, we went inside to the holding area. Before heading into the building though, everyone is required to go through security, so smaller purses are best.
In the holding area, we each wrote down a question to ask Wendy herself if picked for her Ask Wendy segment. Personally, I was hoping not be picked. I had three hours of sleep the night before after staying up late writing, so having a close up on camera for an extended amount of time was not on my to-do list. Truth be told, I had no interesting question anyway. I wasn’t picked. Thank God.
We were then brought into the studio itself. We went backstage and were given seating assignments by Wendy staffers. I actually ended up getting a great spot, and the good news is you can keep your purse with you – just make sure to turn off your cell phone though. As we were entering the studio, there was an incredible DJ playing an awesome set of 90s/early 2000s hip hop and r & b, creating a really fun club vibe in the studio. I have to stay, starting off with some fantastic throwback music is a great way to get the audience pumped up.
Once everyone was seated, the Wendy Show hype guy, Marco Glorious, came out and warmed up the crowd.
Normally at these TV tapings, it’s a mid-level comedian that comes out and tells some jokes. Meh. Whatever. But Marco was incredible! He didn’t do a stand-up set but instead got everyone excited by having us participate in the warm-up action. We were dancing, saying hello to our neighbors, and just having a fun party together. I hope other TV shows take note. THAT’S how you warm up a studio audience!
Right before we went to air Wendy producer and frequent on-camera personality Suzanne came out to say hello. I love Suzanne. She’s great and it was awesome to hear from her as well. 10 a.m. arrived and out came Wendy. I think I had been waiting all my life for that “how you doing?” moment.
The taping of the show went by really quickly, which was nice considering I was still operating on that 3 hours of sleep.
Wendy came up in the audience quite a bit actually, either between breaks or during taped segments. At one point she was standing right next to me. Afterward, she thanked us all for coming, and it was really nice to hear from her.
You can really tell that she appreciates her audience, and I think that is one of her best qualities.
Her entire staff was also SUPER NICE. I mean it. Every single person was fun, welcoming, and kind to us all. Lord knows I’ve encountered staffers who treat audience members like they are idiots (understandably some do act like that but not everyone). The Wendy Show crew though was hands down one of the nicest groups of people in entertainment. I made sure to thank them for that because it really does make a difference.
I will leave you with this:
If you are visiting New York City and want to attend a television taping – especially if you can only do one – go see the Wendy Williams Show. It is FUN. I promise you will have a great time.
HOW YOU DOING?
Jill Zwarensteyn is a television producer, writer, and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, TruTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com