How to see Jon Stewart Before he Departs, and Other Must-See Live Tapings in New York

With news of Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show, and the imminent retirement of David Letterman from The Late Show, I have decided that us New Yorkers have to take advantage of the many live tapings in this city before they disappear. Besides, show tapings are one of the best activities in New York. It takes a little work to get tickets for some of them, and lines get pretty long, but #1 – it’s free (costs NO MONEY), and #2 – it’s super entertaining and a great conversation starter.

I’ve been to The Colbert Report (R.I.P.), The Late Show with David Letterman and So You Think You Can Dance tapings. Every time, it’s a special experience that starts with training the audience how to be enthusiastic, a bunch of celebrities and an overall fun day. Here are some shows that frequently offer free tickets to live tapings and how to get them:

Colbert Report

The Daily Show

First step: obtain a virtual ticket, QUICK, before Jon’s official last day. This can be done on the ShowClix website. This unfortunately doesn’t give you a confirmed entry. Each person has to obtain a physical ticket at the studio on the day of the show, starting at 2:30 pm. That said, there are a few tricks to get you through the door:

  1. Twitter is a wonderful tool. The @DailyTix handle sends out tweets when tickets are available for The Daily Show. Follow it and get notifications to your phone. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to find a day with available tickets.
  2. People will be arriving to the show taping for their physical ticket WAY before 2:30. Be prepared to arrive earlier than that (maybe noon, depending on the popularity of the guest) with some food and sit in line for a bit so you’re guaranteed entry.

The Late Show with David Letterman

Good ol’ Dave is retiring soon, so this is one to put on your priority list as well. The good thing about his show is that when you get to the theater, you’re guaranteed entry. Go to his page on the CBS website and request up to three dates you are available to see the show. Afterward, the producer will call you and ask you a trivia question about the show. YES I KNOW, SO SCARYYYYY. My question was about Paul Shaffer – what identifiable item does he wear for each show? His glasses. That then guarantees you two tickets – one for you, one for a guest.

Two things about the theater when you get in – it’s FREEZING, and his band is awesome. They really keep up the energy! Dave of course is awesome too. We saw the show with Bill Murray as Peter Pan last year. Here’s some embarrassing proof:

David Letterman Bill Murray
Yes, that is me in the audience catching fairy dust from Bill Murray dressed as Peter Pan

So You Think You Can Dance

On Camera Audiences gives away the show tickets for So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol. We saw the hit dance show a couple of weeks ago in NYC. I signed up for the newsletter to alert me when they tape in New York, and got tickets right away. It was super easy – we got to the Manhattan Center on time, and while there was a huge line, we still got in and saw the live auditions with hosts Nigel Lythgoe, Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo (Jasoooon Deruullooooo). It was so cool to see the inner workings of the show, and the hilariously bad dancers mixed with great ones.

So you think you can dance

Other obtainable and fun-to-see shows on my bucket list:

  • The View (just kidding, no one wants to see this show)

Overall, be proactive to get tickets, be prepared to wait in long lines and have fun!

Have you seen any NYC show tapings that are worth going to? @maryinmanhattan

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