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What to Expect When Going to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Show

What to Expect When Going to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Show

Okay, so I know this article has nothing to do with drawing, but I wanted to share my experience with every one. I have never gone to a taping of a show before, and I had the time of my life. If you are lucky enough to get tickets to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, here is what you can expect.

There are three ways that you can get into a taping of The Late Show, and probably only two of these options apply to you. (1) If you know someone who knows someone important then you will get in no problem. (2) Just show up and get free stand-by tickets. (3) Get free tickets online on The Late Show site.

Late Show with Stephen Colbert - Ed Sullivan Theater

When we first got to the show at 1:30-ish, there were about a 100 people in front of us. The theater holds 400 people so we figured that we would be at least 10 rows back. However, after waiting in line for a bit, ushers from the show separated the people up so that people with tickets were on the right and people without tickets were on the left. We were shocked to find out that we were only about 30 people back in the ‘we have tickets’ row.

I watched the people without tickets and it seems like they gave them each a piece of paper and took their cell phone numbers. If there were seats open in the show, they would call them up and have them take the empty seats. A few of them walked away with very disheartened looks on their faces. I think they were hoping that they would get tickets and were disappointed that they probably wouldn’t get in that night.

We got stephen colbert's face stamped on our hands

At 2:00 the ushers came back out and wrote the ticket-holders’ names on their tablets. They then stamped our hands with Stephen Colbert’s face and gave us a ticket with numbers on them.

Late show with stephen colbert tickets

They were numbered 1 thru 400. My sister got number 31 and I got number 32. We were told to come back at 3:30 and to line up in numerical order. We were also told to go to the bathroom before we get back into line. The people who had higher numbers were told to come back and different times.

We went to the cafe across the street for an hour or so. Everyone else who was in line seemed to also come to the cafe. It was empty when we first got there, but was filled to capacity by the time we left.  We left the cafe at 3:20 and found our spots in line. It isn’t the best way of doing things as people were all pushed up against each other as nobody was making room for new people who would pop in to get their numerical place in line. Either way, everyone was in a really good mood because they were so excited to get in to the show.

At about 4:00, the started to let people into the Ed Sullivan theater. There was a bomb sniffing dog who would sniff backpacks. There was a metal detector and security guards checking bags. They didn’t seem to even check my bag so I must have looked harmless enough. If you had a purse, they asked you to open up your purse. If you were a man, they made you place everything metal in a basket.

They let the first 28 people thru the big theater doors…but asked us to stay back. There were two men in front of us who were told that they were in charge of the doors. They were very nice and we were joking around for about an hour. Yes, they made us wait there for yet another hour. There were video clips of Stephen Colbert. However, the volume was too low to hear so it just gave us something visual to look at.

After an hour of waiting there inside the theater, an usher with a megaphone told us that we need to turn off our phones. She told us that we were going to have a Q & A with Stephen before the show starts. She told us not to ask him anything creepy and not to ask him to take a picture with him. She said that this is our one and only chance to ask him a question so we should make it good.

Paul Mercurio

They then opened the doors and we were ushered into our seats. We were in the third row, dead center and I believe they might have been the best seats in the house. We were very happy with our seats. At about 5:00, a comedian named Paul Mercurio came out to warm us up. When he first came out he explained to us that we aren’t allowed to be a passive audience. We aren’t allowed to think about our own “shit” when we are at the show, we are to be Stephen Colbert’s biggest supporters. It told us that we are to laugh hard at everything he does and to clap louder than we’ve ever clapped in our lives. He practiced with us and explained to us that when the lights blink we are to cheer. I do think they should have offered us water before we went into the theater though. We had been waiting in line for so long and we weren’t allowed drinks or food, so we were all so thirsty. The comedian was hilarious and we were all in tears by the time Stephen came out.

stephen colbert asking questions

When Stephen came out, we all chanted ‘Stephen…Stephen…Stephen”. He came out with the biggest smile on his face. He was immediately in front of me…close enough to touch. I could have died and gone to heaven at that point. He asked if anyone had any questions and I froze. I wanted to ask him a question but I was too scared to talk. Someone asked him “Boxers or Briefs” and he shook his junk around a bit and said “nothing”. Someone asked Stephen if he had any advice for him as he was getting married soon. He also asked Stephen if he would come to his wedding. Stephen asked the man where the wedding was and the man said “Chicago and its during sweeps” so Stephen just laughed and then answered the man’s other question…”Learn to say Sorry. Say Sorry”. So the man said “Sorry” and Stephen said, “no…you need to say it like you mean it”. Stephen then told us that when he comes back out that we should pretend that we didn’t already see him. Stephen is a genuinely friendly man who always seems to have a smile on his face. He genuinely loves his job and making people laugh.

So when Stephen came back out we cheered and chanted name again. He got everything seemingly perfect on the first try. Later on in the show he said that he had to do audio on a few words that he messed up (not that we noticed that he got any words wrong). He then started saying “Lubrication” over and over again in different funny voices. There were other words that he had to save over and over again but I am pretty sure that “Lubrication” was never said in the show at any point so I think he was just being silly. He then had to say “Snapchat” and he kept saying it in the most hilarious way and then since were laughing at that voice he kept talking like that for a while. He said, “I think I just created a new character” and we all just were rolling with laughter.

late show with stephen colbert john oliver

John Oliver was the first guest on the show I watched. He was hilarious and Stephen and him really seemed to genuinely like each other. He left immediately after the interview and didn’t really make any effort to be friendly with the crowd. I heard he isn’t very personable with his show’s crowd either so I wasn’t surprised at all.


Then we got a huge surprise. They put down green turf on the stage and a flannel blanket so I knew that they were going to do a skit. But they turned the lights down low so nobody could see and then when the camera started rolling, we saw that Tom Hanks was on the blanket with Stephen. They didn’t tell us about it beforehand because they wanted everyone to gasp and get excited. The entire crowd roared with excitement…especially my sister (she loves Tom Hanks – but I guess everyone does). They were hilarious together and again – they did it in one take without mistakes. These are pros. After the cameras stopped rolling, Stephen and Tom pretended to make out.

During commercials, about 6-8 staff members would all surround Stephen and he would get a serious look on his face. They worked on his makeup and hair as the producers and writers talked to him about what he needed to do in the next segment. When he gets serious, he seriously bites on his pen. Sometimes it looks as if the pen is going to disappear. He must really be nervous or anxious, even though he doesn’t show it.

Ed Sheeran and Bill Withers

In the next segment, Ed Sheeran and Bill Withers were the guests. Bill Withers wrote Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean on Me, as well as many other songs. And I’m sure you know who Ed Sheeran is. Bill Withers was hilarious and had us all crying with laughter. However, the cut most of it out of the show because of time restraints. Hopefully they will put it up on the site. After the cameras stopped rolling, Stephen sat down next to Bill and talking to him for about 5 minutes. He then walked up to Ed and said “I could talk to him for hours”. And then Stephen started singing in front of Ed and his voice was gorgeous. Then Ed said to Stephen, “You are nothing like David Letterman. He wouldn’t even look at me or talk to me when I was on his show.”

Then, Stephen had to say to the camera something about Ed’s new cd and he totally fumbled it and started cracking up. Ed told him to just say “This is Ed’s CD…the song he’s playing isn’t on it”. So that is exactly what Stephen said. Then Ed played Ain’t No Sunshine and did a beautiful job. Stephen then came back out and said “Guess What….the mics didn’t catch the guitar so Ed gets to play it again”. Then Stephen had to say his thing again, but Ed said that the mic for his voice wasn’t working. Stephen said “Do what you gotta do, baby”. Then Stephen said something like “This is Ed’s Cd, Songs not on it, If you hear it at all” and we all started laughing. Ed played it again beautifully.

But between takes was what was so amazing. Ed was chatting with Stephen and saying that his deadbeat friends hate everything, but the one thing that they love is Stephen Colbert’s show. Stephen said something like “I’d love to meet these friends of yours”. Then Ed told him that his friend drinks at 8 in the morning and Stephen said (in a fake alcoholic voice) “I’m not an alcoholic somewhere in the world”. It was cool seeing these 2 amazing people chat a few feet in front of me.

The show was then over and Stephen thanked us all and then laughed on the left side of the stage. They all then had us exit. It took forever because the band was playing in the hallway. I would have loved to meet them, but we had to sneak out because we were literally minutes away from missing our bus out of the city.

Let me know if you want to know something about the show and I can try to remember and answer it.



  1. Alex
    October 7, 2015

    What time did you get out of the taping?

    • admin
      October 7, 2015

      About 7pm – it was hard to get out of there quickly because the band comes out to the hallway and dances with people, so we almost missed our bus (although I wanted to stay).

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This article was written on 01 Oct 2015, and is filled under Uncategorized.

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