If you are ever planning to visit New York City, the one thing you really should do is get tickets to "Late Night with David Letterman." These tickets are free (adults only) and it is a great experience.
My husband and I were at a recent taping and I ordered tickets a few weeks in advance. To get tickets I simply Googled "Letterman tickets" or something -- it won't be hard to find online. Then I just filled out a form. It states that someone will call and ask me a trivia question about the show -- a representative called a few days before our taping and I was asked what job Alan Kalter has on the show. I knew that he is the announcer and that got us the tickets. We then were given a time to pick up the tickets and because we were there at the beginning we were given seats on the main floor and given a time to return for the taping. There are numerous restaurants and coffee shops around so waiting was not a problem. You don't stand in line for long.
Our show began taping around 6 p.m. (We were watching a Friday show taped as a second session on a Thursday afternoon.) Once inside the theater, we watched a short funny tape narrated by Alec Baldwin basically telling us to have a good time and how NOT to laugh. Then a comic comes out to warm us up and then Paul Shaffer and his orchestra are introduced. Although that orchestra is only heard in bits and pieces during the TV broadcast, they play during the commercial breaks (each about five minutes long) and this group is FANTASTIC. Their version of "Make Me Smile" rivals Chicago's, honestly. The two singers in the group are great and it is really a shame that the group does not get more air time for themselves. For us, Shaffer and company were the hits of the show.
Dave also comes out before the taping for a few minutes and answers an audience question. He then refers to this question topic during the actual show and the camera pans the audience to the person who asked it. That is why it seems like there are inside jokes during his show -- there are. The audience is made to feel like they are getting something the TV viewers are missing. Dave also has the mannerisms of my dad when he was Dave's age and I got a kick out of that. He takes his jacket off during the long commercial breaks and just chills on stage.
The television equipment does block one's view a tiny bit but in our case Dave was only slightly blocked while at his desk. We could see everyone else without a problem. His main guest was Matthew Broderick. We were kind of bummed to find out that the earlier taping had Kristin Chenoweth but our show was still very entertaining.
It was also nice not to attend a show and have to applaud as if each person on stage just found a cure for cancer. I still shudder remembering my visit a year ago to the B-list show "The Talk" and that we had to STAND and applaud for everything as if our lives depended on it. Each audience member received gifts including vacuum cleaners that day but it was still a bit much. "Late Night" knows that its purpose is to entertain and that is what it did. We felt welcomed and appreciated. We had a super time and will definitely get tickets again the next time we are in the Big Apple.