Day Ten: Almost not getting into Fallon, but then getting in and being kinda weirded out

Nine days without Internet in my room.

We’re past the halfway mark – redwine, success!

I’m beginning to think I may just make it out of this alive. But I don’t want to jinx it.

Today’s post isn’t so much about not having Internet in my room as it is about what I did today because I don’t have Internet in my room. I decided today to actually do something instead of whining to myself, so I went to see Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.


It was a long process.

First, I had to get my “stand-by” ticket. What they do is issue these tickets the day of the show, so that they can ensure a full audience if people who reserved tickets in advance (you have to call about a month before, but who plans to go see Fallon a month out?). “Stand-by” tickets do not guarantee admission to the show. Whatever, they’re free, so I figured it was worth a shot. I wasn’t doing anything today, anyway. So the website says to arrive “no later than 9 a.m.” for stand-by tickets, but I got there around 8. Good thing, too. I ended up 10th in line. The line wasn’t super long by 9 a.m., but remember not everyone with a SB ticket gets in, so the lower the number, the better.

Anyway, once I got my ticket the page (who I can’t decide if she was cute, or just cute because she was an NBC page, you know?) told me to come back to 30 Rock at 3:45 to check in. So I went to work and distractedly edited a chemistry workbook for three and a half hours. Then I got lunch, and killed some time in the NYPL (easily my favorite place in Manhattan by now) on the Internet. Ah, thanks to the NYPL, I can almost get my day’s fill of Internet without it in my room. Amazing. I thank the NYPL for keeping me alive. One day, when I’m rich, I’ll donate millions of dollars to that place. They’ll rename the WIFI reading room the “Ben Cosman Experience Room.” That’s my new life goal: to get that room named after me.

I go back to 30 Rock around 3:20 and check in with the employee. She takes my ticket number down and tells me to line-up somewhere inside the GE building at 4:15. So I have to wait another 45 minutes. To kill time, I sat in Rockefeller center and watched people. Toward the end I was swarmed and surrounded by about a thousand old Asian tourists. They were super polite and didn’t ask me to move, but I wish they had. I didn’t particularly feel comfortable with these sexagenarians sitting on either side of me. I’ll tell you one thing, though. I’ve never seen someone fake a smile like an Asian tourist. They’ll go from stone-faced somber to fucking Mickey Mouse happy in no time. It’s almost terrifying. But I’ve gotta hand it to them, it’s impressive.

So I go inside the GE building at 4:00 and people are already lined-up. Thankfully the line is by number, so I get to cut right in at the front. There seems to be some sort of camaraderie established with the people around me in line because as soon as I get there a conversation starts up discussing our chances of getting in. I figured with a top-ten number I was sure to get in. But the nice Canadian couple behind me in line informed me that they were there yesterday and there were no stand-by tickets admitted. Fuck that.

At about 4:35 three NBC pages (including maybe-cute girl from 9 a.m.) come out and inform us that they’re taking 22 stand-by audience members. So I made it, right? Wrong. They then brought us up stairs and had us wait in yet another line. After about ten minutes or so they inform us that they definitely have room for seven people, and they’ll check back in a half hour with the rest of us.

This was especially frustrating because even though I was ticket ten, two people before me didn’t show up, so I was the eighth person in line. Which means I was the first to not make the cut of seven. If I wasn’t going to get in, I was gonna find Fallon myself and punch him in the dick.

But the lovely NBC pages were true to their word and came back after thirty minutes and told us they were bringing us downstairs where they’d get their final numbers and find out for sure who can get in. So we wait downstairs for about ten minutes watching the real audience go through the metal detector and up the elevators to the studio, and then my by-now favorite page from this morning comes and tell us that, yay! all of us are getting in. I bolt past her to security, walk through the metal detector, and wait while the ham-fisted security guard rummages through my backpack making sure I’m not bringing anything dangerous in. He didn’t find my box cutter though, which I was a little worried was going to get me barred from entering.

The studio was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It wasn’t disappointing though. I kind of liked it. Felt intimate.

What was disappointing was the hack of a comic they had warming up the audience. I swear I recognize him from somewhere, but I sincerely hope he isn’t famous cause he sucked. And someone find me a worse look than t-shirt and blazer. Fucking slob.

And then the show started. I don’t know how I feel about it, to be honest. It was strange, being an avid television fanatic, seeing the other side of things. I knew it was going to be very “fake” and rehearsed, but getting run-throughs of how to applaud and cheer when Fallon comes out was a little off-putting. There were a bunch of stop and starts, redos, and everything else you’d expert from a pre-taped show. Edie Falco was all right. Jim Gaffigan was really good. It’s neat to actually hear the f-bombs he dropped knowing full well anyone watching on TV would get the bleeps.

I had more thoughts on Fallon, but I don’t remember them all now. I plan on doing this every Wednesday while I’m in Manhattan, so maybe I’ll write something up in the future. Who knows.

At the end of the show, Fallon came into the crowd. Remember I had an aisle seat, so he came right by me.

I got to shake his hand. It was pretty awesome.

And I’m pretty confident I’ll be on TV during the credits. So watch for that, because I can’t.

-Ben Cosman