This gets its own post. Just because it was that cool. When I first came to New York I signed up for most of the TV shows that are taped here, because, well, I can go to them. Whenever I want. So I figured if I was picked for one or two shows, then great. I got tickets for The Daily Show, which is second in my mind only to Saturday Night Live in terms of "shows I think would be really cool to see live." So even though I stood in line outside for 2 hours to see it, oh man, it was well worth it. I think the most interesting part for me was just to see the "behind the scenes" of how a show is filmed. Before the show another guy, Paul Mecurio came out and warmed up the audience. He was pretty friggin funny, if entirely over-the-top and completely inappropriate. He basically picked out people in the audience and heckled them to no end. It was hysterical.
Then Jon came out a little before they taped the show, talked to the audience, took questions, etc. And he just struck me as such a "chill" and candid person. Very real. And even during the show when they would be playing the segments that didn't involve him, I would watch him watching the segments, and he just seemed so... normal. Laughing hysterically like the rest of us, not really self-conscious or trying to "appear"a certain way. It was pretty cool.
What was even cooler was that his guest was Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yussef. The guy came up with the idea of microfinance, which has been an incredibly simple but extremely effective way of countering poverty. Please read about it if you don't know about it, it's truly remarkable. He wrote a book too, called Banker to the Poor. I bought it today.
And you know what else? I have always wondered whether tv shows that don't tape live actually take a "break" for commercials or if they just cut the camera and then start back up shortly thereafter. Well, now I know. They actually take the break for commercials. That too was rather amusing for me to observe. They just hung out on "stage" and played music. And then one dude cued everyone up and they started again.
It was also pretty cool to see the interactions between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert prior to Stephen's little bit on the show. They were just chatting (through their respective cameras in their respective studios) about being ready for Thanksgiving vacation, about eating pizza together, etc. Plus, I have a special place in my heart for Colbert ever since he was at Penn for Spring Fling.
But I think my coworker Darren put it best when he said, "You know what, the energy in that place is just infectious. You can't help but laugh constantly and loudly. It's great."