OK, I'm getting behind in the documentation of my activities here (blame Nevada!). Eons ago, on December 11, I went to a taping of the Late Late show.
That's one good thing about L.A., if you want to be part of a studio audience for a taping of something, there are lots of opportunities. Indeed, in the off-season, I think they are sometimes short of audience members, as this taping had a separate row in the waiting area of well-dressed beautiful females not all of whom were seated in the end, so I guess they were probably actresses/extras who were hired to attend as needed.
So anyway, in deciding what show to attend, I used the following criterion: What's within walking distance? As it happens, I live a 20-minute walk from the CBS studios, so that narrowed it down to either the Late Late show, or The Price is Right.
The waiting area had three rows, and a friend and I were able to deduce that they were dividing us up by, at the time what I thought was by looks (since one section was obviously full of glamorous beautiful women), but in the end I think were these 3 categories: people who had dressed to meet their stated dress code (upscale, don't wear white), people who hadn't (sweats, white colours), and the beauties in the third section who I think were paid to fill out the audience as needed. We were in the "met dress code" section, which at the time we thought was the "average looks section".
We spent at least as much time waiting around and being herded and coached on clapping and cheering as we did watching the taping, but it was still fun. I'd never actually seen a full episode of the Late Late show before, but I'd seen internet clips, and Craig Ferguson is as funny in person as he is on TV.
One interesting thing though- the reason he comes through so well on camera, is that he plays completely to the camera, he doesn't interact with the audience at all, not even an aside now and then. The camera is his audience, we're just there to provide live clapping. We were far more tightly bonded to the audience warm-up guy, it was kind of like we were clapping for the warm-up-guy's friend Craig who happens to have this show on TV.
The reason I picked this actual night to attend is that there was actually someone I had heard of featured as a guest! I am kind of out-of-it as far as pop culture goes, but last year I watched the Big Bang Theory (sitcom that is actually usually funny), so when I saw that Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, was to be the guest that night, I booked tickets.
The interview was short and not all that gripping, and involved the night's recurring joke of "bingo wings" (those loose fat flaps some people have on their upper arms). I can't remember the actual joke though (it's been almost a month, sorry), but it was very cool to see someone who I usually see only on TV walk in as a real live human. It's a very small studio, too, so even though we were at the back, you're still close to the stage.
I'm planning on attending upcoming tapings of Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien to compare and contrast, so don't touch that dial! They don't advertise their guests far enough ahead of time to pick and choose though, so it will probably just be some pathologically good looking famous person who I've never heard of.