7/26/12 TCR Taping Report
My friends J.D., Devon, and I arrived at the Colbert Report studio a little past 3pm and were still the first ones in line. Very soon after that more people started to line up. It was a nice mix, people coming from all over the country and the world, some specifically just to see him. And once again, ladies made up at least 60% of the audience. Ladies love Colbert; this is a FACT (never mind the distinct lack of lady sized Daily Show/Colbert Report T-shirts, to which I will continue to grumble about to my grave).
An hour later, the audience staff brought out free bottles of water. It's nice that they didn't want us to die from heat exhaustion. We asked one of the staff to whom I'd give the book and I was directed to security when we finally went into the studio proper. The lead security guy remembered me from the last time I attended a taping, which was pretty cool. I handed off the book to him, he made sure my contact information was in it, and that was it. The physical representation of three years of my artistic life was finally out of my hands and hopefully on its way to Stephen's.
After the customary 'laugh out loud, not silently to yourself' warm up lecture from the staff, we were lead onto the set and to our seats. We also FINALLY noticed a little bit of their system on how they place you in your seats. Parties of three, chances are you're going to be on the sides. Parties of four, probably in the center, parties of one to two, you're anywhere. Let me stress, all the seats are great, side or center, wherever. But if you really have your heart set on dead center, you'll increase your odds if you travel in a group of four.
Warm up comic Pete Dominic was as funny as ever. New jokes mixed with some older stuff I remembered, as well as playful ribbing of the audience. He also talked a little bit about his job over at CNN and how some of the 'expert commentators' are rushed in front of the camera not even knowing what they're talking about half the time.
Since I've been on a serious Avengers kick for the summer, I must admit I was distracted more that usual by Captain America's shield hanging mere feet away from me on the wall. I contemplated how many steps I'd make it to the shield before security smeared me into floor. The answer? Probably two.
Then Stephen bounced out and did his lap around the desk, slapping the hands of the people sitting on the bottom row. The out of character Q&A began. A handy trick from one of my friends for remembering the questions and answers? If you're lucky enough to come with a couple people, everyone just remember a keyword from each question instead of trying to remember the whole thing. Your memory will fill in the gaps.) Here's what I was able to remember:
*Someone asked about learning to play the bassoon he played in that YouTube video of him and Paul Dinello playing 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' in the last Stella show in NYC years ago. He said they rented it about three hours before they actually went up so, there wasn't much "learning" involved. He then went into a story about how he took his baritone horn with him on his first date with the woman who would become his wife.
*Another guy told him his white house correspondence dinner speech inspired him to become politically active, and then asked should they actually make 'Ghostbusters 3', what part would he like to play in it/if he could cameo in it, would he? Stephen smiled and said that was perhaps the most unique question ever. He talked about how back when he was in Second City, Harold Ramis, who played Egon, was a role model to him and didn't necessarily want to play his parts, but be as talented as him. He settled on saying he wouldn't mind playing a young Egon. (Note- Honestly, while they were talking about this topic, my brain went on vacation because I was suddenly confronted with Stephen talking about my all time favorite movie and one of my all time favorite characters EVER. My friends had to tell me the details later because all I could hear in my head was "Oh my god, oh my god, Stephen's talking about Egon and Ghostbusters and Harold Ramis, oh my god...")
*Someone who works for Twitter wanted to know who mans the @StephenAtHome account. Stephen admitted it was a group effort, sometimes it's him, sometimes it's other members of the staff, and it's usually determined by the topics/jokes of the day/week.
*Someone asked who was the worst guest he'd ever had and was it 'Papa Bear'? Stephen laughed, said he wasn't the worst, but he was definitely a "tool". Good ol' Papa Bear apparently insulted Colbert's writers and came off like a complete jerk during the interview. They had to cut around the worst of it to make him not seem like such a jerk on air and that didn't leave them much to work with.
Stephen then took his place at his desk, shot Wriststrong bracelets into the crowd and for the first time not only did I CATCH ONE FINALLY, at the end of his throwing spree, Stephen usually takes out a huge knife from under his desk as if that's the next thing he's going to throw into the audience. And this time, he was aiming right at us. I don't know what's crazier, the fact that I immediately got into it, acting right along with him, motioning for him to go ahead and throw or the fact that I'd be perfectly OK attempting to catch a knife to the face if thrown by Stephen.
The whole show went smoothly, Stephen bounced in his chair and sang along to the songs between takes. And such a solid episode too. It took all of my restraint to not scream "YES!" when I realized he was about to talk about the Chick-Fil-A facebook fake lady. Stephen didn't flub any of his lines until the very end when he was talking about the newborn babies and called his 'fake' TV lawyer, "Trevor". *Snicker* So what aired was take two.
All in all, this was a great way to spend my birthday again. Handing over a copy of the comic also gave me the chance to put into words why this show's still so important to me. I'll end this taping report with a transcript of the letter I included with the comic that I wrote on the train ride into NYC:
This is a printed copy of a web comic I did for three years called Fake News Rumble. It was a celebration of all things nerd and geeky combined with my two favorite late night shows. Over the years it gained a loyal following and I figured it'd be appropriate to give you guys one of two existing prints of the comic.
But more than that, I wanted to give thanks. During the course of making the comic, I found out I have Lupus and it decided to let me know I have Lupus by landing me in the hospital for weeks, not once but twice, as my immune system decided to go on break without telling me. Both times I fought off Pericarditis and both times I was told if I'd waited a day later to come in I'd probably be dead.
Your show coming through the tiny box TV above my hospital bed helped me. It kept me sane while the doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong with me. It gave me something to take my mind off of things as I recovered. The Rally in DC a month later gave me hope for the first time since finding out what I'd have to deal with for the rest of my life. And your show produced a tight knit community of fellow fans that helped me out in my time of need with my skyrocketing medical bills.
So this book is my small way of saying thank you.
Page Branson 2012