What it’s like to almost attend the Daily Show with Jon Stewart

I was coming to NYC to attend a conference, and one evening while I was folding laundry and watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, the idea occurred to me that I should try to see the shows when I was in town. In this post, I’ll provide some tips on how to get a ticket to these shows, and why your odds are better for getting a seat at the Colbert Report, not the Daily Show (sorry, Jon).

The first thing I did was visit the Colbert Nation’s web site and look for an email address. I found one, and I fired off a quick message asking if they had tickets. I received a reply that no tickets were available. But did I give up? Hell no! Next, I turned to Twitter and did an advanced search for “Colbert tickets,” and I found this account: @DailyTix. I started following them. I also started stalking them. And by that, I mean, I watched very closely for patterns on how frequently they sent new tweets. I noticed that they tweeted about ticket availability for both the Daily Show and the Colbert Report every couple of hours. And I paid attention to see how quickly the tickets were “sold out.” They’d tweet “New Tickets for the Daily Show on May 10 now available,” and within two minutes, they’d tweet that “Tickets to the Daily Show are now sold out.” I was thrilled to see that the tickets they tweeted about were not several months away. Instead, they were for the coming days (when I’d be in New York).

So I knew I needed to be vigilant and alert. That’s when I decided to set up an RSS feed for @DailyTix in my Mail Inbox. I nearly freaked out when I saw a new tweet that Colbert Tickets were available for May 11. I followed link in the tweet and it sent me to the Colbert Report online ticket calendar where I entered my info (name, phone number, email address, number of tickets) into the form. Within a minute, I received an email that I had secured a seat for the Colbert Report on May 11. Holy cow! My stalking and vigilance worked!!

In addition, I had a ticket to the Jon Stewart Daily Show for May 10. This was too good to be true.

And it was.

On Monday evening, after the conference sessions, I hustled my way up to the Daily Show’s studio. I had a confirmed ticket, so I thought everything was hunky dory. Turns out, at the Daily Show, it doesn’t matter whether or not you even have a ticket. With this show, it’s basically first come, first serve in terms of admittance. I saw two long lines, and I asked a couple of girls what the deal was. They said they didn’t have a ticket; they just showed up and queued in line. I went to the front door of the Daily Show and spoke to Anderson Cooper’s lookalike. I showed him my ticket and asked him which line I should stand in. He told me I was too late. I should have arrived 3 to 4 hours earlier. This really pissed me off. I asked him what the point of having a ticket was. And he basically said, it’s useless. In the fine print, it said so. I couldn’t believe Jon Stewart would resort to “fine print” BS. He seems so anti-fine print.

But I decided I’d go ahead and get in line and just see what happened. So I waited for about an hour, and the line started moving and I began to feel hopeful. But then Anderson Cooper came out and told the 10 of us who remained that the show was full and that they intentionally overbook, and we wouldn’t be admitted. He said that if we’d email them, we would receive a VIP ticket to the next show. For me, this would work; I was in NYC all week. But for the folks who drove from Philly or Delaware for the sole purpose of seeing this evening’s show, they were S.O.L.

When I got back to my hotel room, I emailed the Jon Stewart show and requested my VIP ticket. They never replied.

But the good news… I *did* see the Stephen Colbert Report. Up next, I’ll blog about that! Stay tuned…!

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