We’re still out here on our monthly-long California hiatus from cold Colorado that we take every year and we wanted to do something we hadn’t done in the past – attend a live taping of a show. Why not? It’s fun, it’s free, and it turned out to be a total blast. Yesterday we saw Chelsea Lately whose guest was Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child and at the round table was the real star of the show Ross Mathews who I was most excited to see. He killed it like always and was the funniest person on the whole show. Including Chelsea.
We got there by 12:30 as we were instructed and stood in this waiting area (shown below) where we were placed in 4 separate lines. We were in the first ‘priority’ line because we reserved our tickets in advance while those who just showed up to see if they could get in (most did) were in the last few lines. We transitioned after about 40 minutes from that line into another one where we waited to be seated in the studio hot-or-not style. See, your party is called forward and looked over by someone who places you in the audience according to (I believe) how you look and what you’re wearing. Single blondes in the front row, guys peppered in throughout so they aren’t too concentrated, one side with the better looking people where the camera went most, and the VIP’s (Kelly Rowland’s friends etc.) prominently placed in another front row but where the cameras don’t frequent. Now of course this is just my observation, but if you watch the show you know that the audience is shown quite a bit so getting it to look a certain way would be more of a calculated decision rather than just luck.
Now we’re finally sitting in the (freezing) studio which is surprisingly small sitting third row back where the less attractive people sat because of Mike’s penis and my pregnancy. There was another dude ahead of us in line who was sat with his wife on the good looking, camera-grabbing side of the tracks so the guy quota was full for that area, and pregnant chicks (though now chic thanks to Beyoncé, Victoria Beckham and the like) are still not the makings of a hip audience. We still had a killer view with our padded folding chairs so close to the tiny stage, just feet away – I mean I’ve been to high school plays with bigger stages so the intimate nature of the whole thing was pretty cool, I’m glad it wasn’t bigger.
Our warm up guy did his ‘hey where ya from’ bit for a few minutes, but he was really there to spell out the sign language he’d be tossing up throughout the show to let us know when to laugh, clap (including how loudly to clap at different times), and the all important laugh/clap combo which we practiced several times. ‘No, that was just a laugh – not a clap. Let’s try it again.’ No shit, this went on for about 30 minutes. He even told an intentionally crappy joke instructing us to give a loud laugh/clap afterward just to get that awkward feeling of cheering at something really lame out of the way. Mike dropped the ball and forgot to clap and was promptly called out by the warm up guy, ‘sir, you aren’t clapping.’ Turns out these tickets weren’t free, there’s a price. And that price is your undivided attention, claps, and LOL’s for 40 minutes to keep the show lively. It’s also why the studio is freezing cold, to keep your ass wide awake.
So the round table guests come out, (Ross gets the biggest applause of course) followed by Chuy and then Chelsea. She does her quick monologue then heads to the table with the guys. Up close you can see her visible annoyance when someone says something that isn’t funny, they all have their responses to the topics written ahead of time which they reviewed on breaks. You could see that Ross’ hands were literally shaking but there were no nerves in his delivery – although he has been on TV a zillion times (on much grander shows, natch) his nervousness was sweet and made me love him even more.
There were 3 breaks that lasted from 30 seconds to just a few minutes where the warm up guy would have us clap to loud pop music – like blaring loud – while Chelsea gets her makeup touched-up, pretends to read things and ignores everyone. There is no, ‘hey, how is everyone’ type interaction from her during the break or even afterward, for whatever reason she’s simply not interested in that type of thing so the music creates a wall where it would otherwise be awkward given the audience’s close proximity to the stage. It’s too intimate to simply ignore a small group of people sitting so closely to you so this is a perfect way to go about it without many people noticing what’s really going on. Her lack of interaction (coldness?) was what we liked the least. She could’ve taken the time to make us feel like we were part of the show, but instead we were simply lined up, coached, frozen (seriously), and molded into props – a real-life laugh track and really nothing more. One cool thing that deserves a mention- if you brought in one of her books she personally signed it for you. They were collected when you walked in, signed with a message that included your name, and returned to you when you walked out.
After the show Chuy threw a few squishy balls out into the audience that read ‘I caught one of Chuy’s balls!’ And Mike caught one (yay!) Check it out.
It was cool to see and worth checking out especially if you like her and her show.
Now for the fun part.
We were told that Chuy would be available for a meet and greet right after if anyone wanted to stay. Hell ya! About 10 minutes later, he motored out in his scooter and signed personalized notecards using a signature stamp. He seemed to really like interacting with the crowd – he was nice, appreciative, warm, and genuine. He didn’t rush people through and honored all requests like for instance stamping (and squishing his head against) women’s breasts. No really, a girl posing for a photo with him grabbed his head – which was conveniently boob-height – and pressed it into her huge new rack that she was very proud of. ‘Just got em!’ she proudly proclaimed for all to hear. Others were more subtle in their approach asking him to stamp their cleavage which gave me the idea of him stamping my 6-month pregnant belly. I immediately started to think about how appropriate the request was and how much I’d have to expose in the name of fun that I started second guessing the idea as soon as I said it out loud to Mike. Whatever, I went for it.
Here’s the brief video Mike took of Chuy stamping my bump. I believe I asked ‘will you stamp my baby?’ I liken the footage to when Demi Moore posed pregnant for Vanity Fair but without all that glamour. And bronzer. And dignity. But, like, pretty similar otherwise.
Now a photo all covered up: me, Chuy, and Mike.
I’ll spare you the photo of my stamped, pale belly that was all lined from my BeBand and jeans digging into me. It was smudged anyway, but totally worth it and really random.
Here’s the clip from Kelly Rowland’s appearance where she talks about her ab workout vid that we all got a copy of. Yay! I was just thinking about how unruly my abs have been lately. I’ll get right on that.
Next time you’re in L.A., check out a live taping! You can find tickets to Chelsea’s show and many others right HERE.