Sometimes I forget I live in the city of New York. I’ll be home or sitting at a cafe and wishing I could go do something awesome, but then I always remember. So while I contemplated ordering a desk from IKEA, I also decided that I was going to wait in line for SNL standby tickets.
The rules stated that at 7 AM, day of show, standby tickets would be distributed. Once you had your ticket, either for the 8 PM dress rehearsal or 1130 PM show, you were to come back about an hour before and see if you get in. Now, I knew there was probably going to be a lot of people in line for the handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but I took my chances and set my alarm for 530 AM.
The sun was still rising as I walked toward Rockefeller Center at 630 AM, and as I surveyed the line underneath the NBC RAINBOW ROOM marquee I thought I had a good chance of scoring a winning ticket. When I got to the back of the line, however, I was told that this was merely the first line; the second line was a block away.
I passed through The Today Show square where they were setting up for the day’s broadcast and finally found the second, longer line that weaved and ebbed on one city block of sidewalk. The sun climbed. I waited.
The friendly Rockefeller Center security guard kept the crowd in high spirits as people began to roll up their sleeping bags and portable chairs. Apparently, the line beginning under the NBC RAINBOW ROOM marquee had started to form at noon that Thursday. It was like camping out for a KU basketball game against Mizzou. Finally my turn came to walk back over to Rock Center and my friend showed just in time to collect our tickets. “Dress or Live?” the NBC page asked us. “Dress!” we said. We figured there’d be more content because that’s when they decide what skits to cut, etc.
12 hours later we found ourselves inside NBC’s RC and we were told to line up by the number on our ticket. Now, the tickets we held were in the 190s, but there were chances that groups of people wouldn’t show. We made acquaintances, I awkwardly held a conversation with a woman who disliked black people (awkward because she couldn’t tell I was black), and hoped we would make the cut.
They cut the line in the 160s and sadly, we were turned away. So instead we hit SoHo, had ourselves some drinks and called it a night.
Next time I’ll know to bring a sleeping bag ;D