I left San Jose around 9:45pm on a brand new JetBlue airplane. The on board DirecTV and impressive leg room made me quite happy with my choice.
The flight arrived around 6am at JFK and I grabbed a taxi to my hotel, The Muse near Times Square. The cab ride was a flat $45 fee plus a $4 toll and took about 40 minutes. The cabby was nice and when I could actually understand him he was telling me about the city and where we were. We arrived at my hotel and my room was not ready. I dropped off my bags and grabbed a yummy bagel with cream cheese for $1 from a stand on the street.
I walked around for a few in the wrong direction towards Rockefeller Center in hopes of snagging some Conan O’Brien tickets. they didn’t start giving them out until 9am, so I figured I had some time. At first I head west of Broadway towards by the Gershwin Theater, but soon realize I’m heading in the wrong direction. I head back down 50th past Rockefeller center. I see an NBC Studio/Rainbow Room sign, but no one is there so I figure whatever. I walk around the building, notice things like the Today show crowd, and then see that there is also an NBC studio/rainbow room sign on 49th street. This time, it comes fully equipped with a line.. a long one at that. I count around 30 people, so I proceed to wait there. For an hour and a half I get to watch guys trying to sell knock off watches, hand bags, etc. It was amusing, especially seeing the cops telling them to pack it up and go. Unfortunately, the line in front of me seems to grow with people joining their friends and whatnot. By 9am when they bring out the standby tickets, I’m #47. I get my ticket and am free to go.
I picked up some hot chocolate at Dean and Deluca and wandered around for a few and finally I decide to take the NBC Studio Tour. Our group had 30 people or so with two pretty nice pages to show us around. We get to see a few studios including the ones used by Tom Brokaw for the nightly news, Conan O’Brian and SNL. At one point, we are passed in the hallway by Jude Law, tomorrow’s host of SNL. Only a couple of us actually noticed him, so he didn’t get mobbed. After the studio tour ended, I grabbed some lunch, came back to my hotel to see if my room was ready and took a nap until around 3:15pm.
I walked back to NBC studios to wait in line for Conan. I didn’t have a lot of hope, since the night before they hadn’t let any standbys in and I was #47. At first, there was only a few of us there and things were looking promising, but since we all had numbers there wasn’t really any point to showing up until 4:15pm. Around 4:20pm they finally count us off to see how many are actually there and now I’m #46. Great — one person in front of me is gone. I’m still not liking my odds very much. Finally they come back and count us down and get past me and a few people later announce that 52 and higher are cut and that she’d be back in a couple minutes to let us all know. Finally the line starts moving and they’re letting people in. They’re counting off people as they go through to make sure there are enough seats and she stops 5 people in front of me, letting one of a two person group in and says the rest of us will have to wait to see if there is room. There is a group of 4 girls from Tennessee in front of me and a few behind me. They want to move us through security so that when they find out how many seats are available they can get us in quickly. We go through the metal detectors and around that time they say there are 2 seats left. One for the other half of the couple and 1 more. The group of 4 girls in front of me don’t want to be split up so they let me go since it was just me. Thats right, I got the last seat! They hurry me and the couple in front up the elevators and in to the studio. As I had seen earlier on the tour, the studio was small, but somehow fit 189 seats.
Some guy.. one of the producers or writers came out and welcomed us to the audience and told some pretty funny jokes. After a bit they brought out the band. They played for a short while and then finally Conan came out and said hi. The show finally started and he went through his stand up jokes, followed by a Halloween skit with Frankenstein. After a commercial break, Sarah Michelle Gellar came out and talked toilet stories with Conan for a while before showing a clip from The Grudge. Sadly, she left after her interview, but then Will Arnett from Arrested Development came out and gave a pretty good interview. Finally after that some bat expert came out with a variety of bats including fruit bats and vampire bats. The show was pretty cool and seeing them film was pretty interesting. The show was done in a single pass and around 6:35 we were out and done.
I was really exhausted at this point, but I wanted to get some food, so I stopped by The District next to my hotel. I ordered their Chef’s Tasting menu with wine parings. It was splendid. After dinner I went back to my room and went to sleep.