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"The Colbert Report"

August 10, 2006 - by Laura

"This has nothing to do with the show...and yet, everything to do with the show."

I drove southward to Rockland County, picked up Rachael, my fellow fangirl, and we parked in NJ to take a bus into the city. We split up for an hour, and as I emerged from the subway to go to the studio, there it was...pouring rain. I got thoroughly soaked, and then it stopped raining shortly before I reached the studio where there's shelter and stuff. Figures.

I arrived at the studio, soaked, around 4:00 to discover that the other members of my party were toward the front of the line--maybe 15th? We discovered that our third person, Natasha, got there before they did and was a few spaces ahead in line, so we moved up to join her.

Our fourth person dropped out at the last minute, since the taping didn't get out as early as he needed it to. We just let it go, figuring someone on standby would get lucky. When it got close to entry time, Rachael was chatting with the people at the head of the line. As it turns out, they were short one ticket...so in exchange for ours, they let us in the front of the line with them. This meant that we had tickets #1, 2, and 3. Woo!

On some level, this probably makes us bad people. I prefer to say "resourceful."

We went in the studio and through security, staying in the holding room for a little while. The staff came out and told us the ground rules--no photos, etc. They explained that it's important for us to be pumped up and excited because Stephen feeds off the audience's energy. "He's like Tinkerbell?" I asked Rachael.

The VIPs went in, and then we were first. We were steered to sit....in the front row, in front of the desk. My reaction was along the lines of "HOLY SHIT!" I was suprised at how tiny the studio is and how close we were to the desk and to the cameras. I think it was about fifteen feet from me to the desk.

In the end, they weren't the best seats since the second act of the show was "Better Know a District" and on the green screen, and then there was the interview segment, which you can't see as well from that half of the audience. Great for the desk segments, though.

I did notice that the lit-up banner along the bottom of the desk is held on with duct tape in at least one spot. That amused me.

The warm-up comic came out and mostly cracked jokes about where people were from. I thought he was all right. The real stage manager guy came out (not Bobby, heh) and gave us instructions for how to act during the table of contents, since we're not supposed to clap at all until it's over.

Finally Stephen came out to the strains of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" theme music. He ran around, high-fived all of us in the front rows, and then took questions. One person had brought him a present--a painting. Stephen took the canvas and started laughing... "It's a Power Ranger punching out Hitler!" And indeed it was. "This has nothing to do with the show...yet it has everything to do with the show," said Stephen.

I think the second question was someone who wrote a haiku for him--I hate haiku, so I don't remember anything about it. Stephen counted the syllables out on his fingers while she read it--it was apparently very important to him that it be 5-7-5. No defective haikus for Dr. Colbert.

Then the show started--he danced his way to the desk, and he jumped in the air and clicked his heels twice. he got quite airborne.

Camera 1 was right in front of us--I was far enough over that I could still see okay, but Rachael wasn't so lucky and had to lean way over. We ran through the table of contents, the liquids, the Word (I don't know if it came across on the show, but we absolutely lost it at the "whites on top" bullet.)

They set up the green screen for Better Know a District, but there was a problem with the light board and Stephen came over to us and took more questions. The guy who was first in line and had let us in in exchange for a ticket for his brother was picked, and he said that considering Stephen's search for a new black friend, he wanted to apply to be his new Hispanic friend. "I even have a pen!" he said, holding the pen out. Stephen checked with the staff, and indicated for him to come over to the green screen so they could do "the picture." And they did!

So when if they use the picture of him with his Hispanic friend, wearing a suit with a red tie and pointing at a goateed guy in a white shirt...that was taken on Thursday before Better Know a District. He then took a question from a teacher about his advice for teaching fifth graders--I don't remember what that was.

Then the show was back! I was mystified about what the steering wheel on a frame was all about, so when we finally saw the "car" on the monitors, I think we all laughed and drowned out the theme music on the "radio." Better Know a District was great. I was momentarily confused when only the green screen showed on the monitors. Everything made sense once Stephen started his crazy lightsaber dance.

I don't remember what happened between that and the interview, the ending wasn't very exciting. As the credits played, he stood over by the left-hand bookshelf playing with a ukulele--not sure if they were filming that. He turned around and asked "Does anyone know if you tune a ukulele like a guitar?" I'm not sure who he was asking. Finally, he thanked us and left, leaving us to wander out into a dark, rainy Manhattan.

For another perspective on the show, here's an entry by the girl who wrote the haiku (and stuck around to meet Stephen...I had more than three hours of driving ahead of me and I am far too shy, so I didn't stay with her.)

...Oo the pictures! I didn't really photograph anything good, since you can't take pictures inside the studio. We did take pictures of ourselves with our tickets. We were bored--100 people crammed into a room the size of my living room, and nothing to do.

Approaching the studio...

Walking up to the Colbert Report studio

My companion Rachael. There's a picture of both of us in the same spot, but it's on her camera and I may never get it.

Girl under the Colbert Report studio canopy

Rachael with her ticket in the holding room. I love how the guy behind her (who is in the previous picture too) is looking at me like "what is she doing?" When I was at another taping four months later, the same guy was there. It was very strange.

Girl with Ticket

Me with my ticket, looking like a crazed drowned rat.


Better view of my ticket. They use the same ones every day, so they're laminated and you don't get them until you walk in the door.

Colbert Report ticket


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