Every time I blog on Rice Whine, I always have the urge to start with a greeting. I think it’s cause of my lack of consistency blogging here (something that I should work on). Every time I blog, it’s like I’m introducing myself to the world again. Like hullo friends, it’s me…again…like that Adele song but less eloquent.
So, all that to say.
A little over a month ago, I had the once (or maybe more than once WHO KNOWS) in a lifetime opportunity of seeing Saturday Night Live…LIVE. In this post I’ll go through the process of getting the tickets and my experience at Saturday Night Live. A little sneak preview…let’s just say my last name is now Baldwin. Just Kidding!
How does one get SNL tickets?
I am currently aware of 3 ways to cop some SNL tickets.
- Lottery system
- Stand-by line
- Know people who works at SNL or know the celebrity host/musical act
My method of entry was the lottery system. Every year during the month of August the lottery system for SNL opens. All you need to do is e-mail Snltickets@nbcuni.com why you would like to be a part of their studio audience. You must be 16 or older to enter and if you win they’ll give you 2 tickets for a random show and date. Note that you can only submit during that window of time. So when August comes along please check the following website to make sure that the instructions for that year are still the same:
I’m honestly not too sure if they read your reason or not or whether they just pick randomly based on people who have entered. Regardless, here is a direct copy paste of my e-mail to them. Please ignore the bad grammar…I was in a rush writing this I SWEAR.
Hi SNL tickets,
I would like to be in the audience of SNL because I have a great laugh that would definitely increase the views for SNL. Just kidding! I love SNL. Even though I’m not from New York something about SNL just makes me feel at home, maybe it’s because of how long it’s been on air, maybe it’s because I just feel like all the cast members are my best friends even though they don’t know me. Regardless the reason I would be honoured to win some tickets.
Thank you so much,
So there you have it folks a winning SNL lottery entry.
Moving onto the other methods, I’ve never done the stand-by line but basically they’ll give tickets out at 7AM that Saturday. Based on my internet research, a lot of people start lining up the night before depending on who the act is. According to the NBC website, getting a stand-by ticket does not guarantee admission. So fingers crossed for all of you going with this method.
Lastly, knowing somebody. Well it’s as simple as that go schmooze with some peeps and get yourself tickets.
How did I find out I won the lottery?
I received an e-mail January 31, 2019 telling me I had won tickets. I was shocked of course. According to Reddit the chances of winning is 1/10,000. Honestly, not sure where that number came from cause I could not find another source for it but I definitely felt special. I audited the e-mail URL and all that jazz to make sure I wasn’t being scammed by a Nigerian Prince. They were legit! I got 2 tickets to see the February 16, 2019 show. At this point we had no idea who the host and musical guest was, but I mean it’s SNL how bad can it get. (We got Don Cheadle and Gary Clark Jr…not bad not bad.)
After a bit of pondering aka looking at flight and hotel prices. With a discounted ticket price through a layover, my boyfriend and I booked out trip so I could fulfill my dream of watching SNL.
What happens the day of the show?
Depending on what showing you’re going to you have to get there at different times. One can get tickets to the live show and the dress rehearsal. We got live show tickets and had to show up no later than 10:15PM. We got there at about 9:45 and let me tell you I don’t know what sort of manifestation I did that day but we got there at the perfect time. cliffhanger moment.
When we got to NBC studios, we asked for “Jen’s Line”. There were two lines waiting for tickets. I presume this is the line for those who have tickets through the lottery system. Once we got to the ticketing table. They handed us our yellow SNL tickets along with a purple bracelet.
This purple bracelet is key to my cliffhanger moment. Once you’ve got your ticket you go through security. I noticed that there were pictures of banned individual taped to the metal detector. I asked the security how you get your face up there, he said, “probably stalkers.” That makes sense…that makes a lot of sense. After all that security, you land in a waiting room with screens showing past acts and stars who have been on the show.
When time comes, you’re called by your bracelet colour. We were the first colour to be called. We took the elevator up and it ends up we got STUDIO FLOOR TICKETS. Most people end up on the balcony watching the sets below but we were on the floor with the sets. I don’t know where Mercury was that day or what my third eye saw that got me this, but I am eternally grateful to the universe and all its spiritual forces. If we came at any other time we probably wouldn’t have gotten lucky with these seats.
As you’re waiting there, the staff starts to give you instructions:
- PEE NOW, you will not be able to leave the studio once you enter. I mean you will be allowed to leave, but you probably won’t be able to come back in.
- NO PICTURES. Beyond this point, the minute we started to wait in line, we were barred from taking pics.
Let me tell you a lot happened while we were in line. By a lot I mean our line was next to Alec Baldwin’s changing room, so we were literally standing like 5 meters away from him. I couldn’t exactly smell him, but his presence was really felt.
Finally the clock struck 11. We were let into the studio. Before the actual live show starts, to warm the audience up, the audience gets two little shows. One is Kenan Thompson singing with the SNL gals. The other is Michael Che doing a bit of standup. Quite a funny guy. My bae got picked on during this set. Che asked who came from far away and my boyfriend raised his hand and yelled, “Toronto!” Che replied, “that’s not far, you take the D train past the Bronx and you get to Toronto.” lolled.
Once 11:30 hit the show went live, Alec Baldwin descended on stage as Donald Trump and the magic began.
Notable memories from the show:
- It felt like a football game with the constant yelling of, “STANDBY 40 SECONDS” and everyone scrambling around.
- Cast members and the host are lint rolled to the last second.
- There were people that grabbed onto the cast/host between scenes so that they could run out of there to change.
- ScarJo was there supporting her boo Colin Jost. I turned around in my seat and made eye contact with her, then I turned around after like 10 seconds cause, “celebrities are humans too.”
- At one point, I had to get out of my seat and stand on the side because the cameraman had to use that space. During this time I was standing next to Alec Baldwin but with space for Jesus between us.
- There was a handsome cue card holder holding all the lines on physical boards. This guy definitely is trying to break into modelling because he was too tall, dark, and handsome. It was fun watching him read the lines as the cast were saying them and then flipping the cards on time.
- Lorne Michaels.
I even made it on TV!
The night was filled with emotional tears of joy and laughter, and it ended with me buying memorabilia aka an SNL pillow.
So this coming August, make sure to enter into the lottery. You may not win, but just keep doing it. When you get it, drop everything and GO. Watching it now on TV, I have such a greater understanding of the hard work that goes into the show and it’s really deepened my appreciation for the cast, the writers, and how great they are at their craft.
Hopefully next time I go to the studio it’s as a cast member, a writer, a host, a musical guest, or a cue card holder. Till then, I’ll always have these memories. (*′☉.̫☉)