So, you’re a huge fan of Saturday Night Live and you have always dreamed of going to a taping; now what? Well, you’re not alone and the process for SNL is actually much more complex that getting tickets to other shows. The window for tickets is very small and it starts today so here’s a general breakdown of what you need to do:
Saturday Night Live gives out tickets on a lottery system. In the month of August (and ONLY the month of August) you must send an email to [email protected] to get put into the SNL ticket lottery. Make sure to give them your name, address, phone number and DOB/age (you must be at least 16 to attend a taping). This pool of lottery applicants is what’s used to distribute tickets throughout the entire season. Here are some general things to keep in mind for the lottery:
1. There is no guarantee of a ticket, you may enter the lottery and never get chosen. It’s just random selection
2. It is for a ticket only and you are responsible for getting to NYC and your own lodging and food
3. Only one entry per household
4. If you are selected you will get a pair of tickets for either the live taping or the dress rehearsal. The dress rehearsal runs about half an hour longer and includes sketches that don’t make it to air due to time or audience reaction
5. If selected NBC will send you an email informing you that you have a pair of tickets approximately 1-14 days before the show. So you may now hear anything until April that you have tickets for the weekend after next. Be prepared to make quick travel plans
6. You have no say in the date or live/rehearsal show. If you can’t make it to the date they assign you just have to wait until next year. Somebody is more than willing to take your place.
This brings us to one lesser known method of getting tickets; standby. Because of some of the reasons listed above (among others) not everybody that wins a ticket will be able to make it to the show on the date assigned. When this happens the empty seats are given out to standby recipients. On the day of the taping of any SNL show they hand out standby tickets at 7:00am on the 49th Street side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The standby tickets are issued numerically and you get to choose if you want standby for live or dress rehearsal (so there is a #1 ticket for each and so on). You can go about your day and come back the night of the show and get in standby line and if a ticketholder doesn’t show up you might get in. This can be done any Saturday regardless if you have tickets or not. A lot of locals do it regularly. Here are some things to keep in mind on the standby tickets:
1. Tickets are given out at 7:00am but be prepared to camp out. People start lining up the night before. Generally, if you’re not in line by 11:00pm Friday night you probably won’t get in. If the host/musical guest is huge (like Steve Martin or Justin Timberlake) people start camping out as early as Wednesday
2. You have to stay in line pretty much the whole time. Yes, you can go use the bathroom and grab food to bring back in line but you cannot leave for hours and return to a saved spot.
3. Be prepared for crazy. You are on a public NYC sidewalk overnight. Crazy people will show up and ask what you are doing
4. Generally speaking very few standby tickets get admitted. It could be only the first 6 people, or 10, or none. It’s a gamble at your own risk situation.
So, is anybody going to submit for tickets? Who would be the host you want to see more than anybody else? Have you ever gone to a taping before? If you do happen to win tickets please post it and any pictures you might get. By the way – after a taping of SNL you can go to the 49th Street side of 30 Rock and catch many of the cast members as they are leaving and usually get autographs and pictures. Just be polite!!