Letterman and SNL in New York
February 8, 2008 8:50 PM   Subscribe

I've recently moved to NY and I'd like to go see David Letterman and SNL live. What's the easiest way to get tickets?
posted by falameufilho to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can only submit a request for tickets every August by email for SNL. Your best bet is to try and get standby tickets - show up damn early (at least 6am) at the NBC sign on the 50th street entrance to 30 Rock. Only 1 ticket per person in line, and you're not guaranteed a seat, and they either be to the dress rehearsal or the real show. Lines of course get crazier early on for the shows with bigger headline names.

Letterman I've never tried, although when my parents were in town they were just walking by the studio and got asked if they'd like to sit in for the taping. Maybe try here.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:01 PM on February 8, 2008

Oh and for guaranteed tix to SNL check out Craigslist. They're a rare find on there and usually not cheap, but I have seen them.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:02 PM on February 8, 2008

SNL info here: http://www.nbc.com/Footer/Tickets/

SNL is obviously not taping now because of the WGA strike, but in the past you had to enter into a raffle in August and tickets would be distributed throughout the season. The alternative is waiting a very long time in line the morning of (or even night before) the show for a chance at Stand-By tix.

Letterman info here: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/show_info/tickets/

Most the late night talk shows allow you to request tickets in advance or wait in line for Stand-By as well.
posted by aswego at 9:03 PM on February 8, 2008

We applied for Letterman tix online a few months ahead of time. They took a while to get back to us, and I thought we were too late submitting our dates. They'll call you and you have to answer a really easy trivia question about the show and you are in.
posted by starman at 9:06 PM on February 8, 2008

There was also this NY Times article from last year about the experience of trying to attend all the late-night shows in the area. The reporter goes into some detail about how easy or miserable the experience can be.
posted by aswego at 9:07 PM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

I once saw a staffer outside the Letterman Theater giving away tickets to people who could answer a simple question about the show (she asked one guy who the stage manager was). Unfortunately I was leaving town before the taping. That is maybe the easiest way to get tickets, but I don't imagine they're out there every day.
posted by booth at 5:48 AM on February 9, 2008

20 years ago (whew), I made friends with a page at the Letterman Show (was it NBC then?). He was doing his job, which seemed to be mostly turning people away in a nice way. For some reason we hit it off and I got invited back later for a private tour of the studio and then tickets for the show that night--pretty great, and no sexual favors involved.

I'm guessing he just had the power to use some of those stand-by tickets as he saw fit. So, no guarantee obviously, but you could do worse than to befriend the lowly page.
posted by largecorp at 7:40 AM on February 9, 2008

Just last year, we went to NY and hung out at Times Square, and we were waiting for half-price tickets for a broadway show when we were approached TWICE right there, once to see Carson Daily (who sucked) and once to see David Letterman (who naturally rocked). The guys who approached us zeroed in on us because my husband was very "Wow, NY is great!" starry-eyed. They apparently like enthusiastic couples, as pretty much all of the others they asked fit the same bill. Also, it helps if you are not dressed too casually--I saw lots of women in black dresses, nicely accessorized, or dark pantsuits, and lots of men in suits with boisterous personalities (the kind of people who walk right up and ask you where you are from and how are you liking New York and have you ever been here before and then regale you with their own anecdotes).

We had tried to get Letterman tickets, by the way, online, and were unsuccessful because we didn't apply early enough, so naturally we were thrilled!
posted by misha at 11:31 AM on February 9, 2008

Seconding booth and misha, there are often David Letterman staffers/interns giving tickets away the day of the taping during the late morning and early afternoon. I used to work in the building caddy corner across from Ed Sullivan Theatre, and would see these folks out with some frequency. Usually a youngish woman with a clip board and a laminated badge on a lanyard. They wouldn't be directly in front of the theater, but one or two blocks away on the corner. You do have to answer a trivia question... but they helped me a lot when I messed up and was desperate to see David Bowie who was that nights guest. Oh, and the taping is around 5pm in the afternoon.
posted by kimdog at 5:43 PM on February 9, 2008

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