Thursday, April 18, 2013
TV Tour Guide at Ellen
I finally had the opportunity to attend a taping of the Ellen Degeneres Show with a couple of good friends, and what a great time you have when you go. Dancing, laughing, great music, Ellen! Also very tiring!
There's a reason this show is at the top of talk shows. Ellen has put together a fantastic production with a top-notch crew that keeps it running like a well-oiled machine. I didn't see or sense any glitches in the three hours the taping took. From corralling the crowd and getting us situated in the studio, to warming us up before the show to entertaining us between broadcast breaks, to getting us out, it couldn't have gone smoother for us or for them.
We got to hang out for a while in the famous Riff Raff Room, where they conveniently had lots of Ellen merchandise on sale (smart), and snaked our way through in line prior to entering the actual studio.
Once in the studio, I wish we had had better seats. We were all the way audience-right and kind of toward the back. But as you can see, the room isn't that big and there really isn't a bad seat. We had a pretty straight view to the interview area, and the crane cameras were constantly sweeping over our heads.
I was sure of who our guests were going to be going in: I was under the impression tapings take place the day before, so since I went on April 17, I checked TiVo for the April 18 show, which will feature Jennifer Aniston, Bryce Dallas Howard and Brittany Snow promoting their new movie Call Me Crazy: A Five Film. But I was mistaken. Seems Ellen is pre-taping shows for later in the season for some reason, so ours is for airing on May 23. She made a fun inside joke about how "it's almost Memorial Day but I swear it feels just like April 17." Love that when it airs only a group of us will get why that's fiunny. Our guests instead were Amanda Seyfried, who is promoting her new animated film Epic; comedian and SNL alum Kevin Nealon; and music guest Michael Bolton, promoting his new album.
The show got under way on time and Ellen came through the infamous blue doors and did her monologue, then got us dancing. It was a much shorter dance, though, and she didn't come through the crowd like she usually does, just went right to her seat. There was a lot of content in the hour, so I could see why after.
She did her "What's Wrong With These Pictures?" segment and showed some funny web videos, then welcomed Seyfried, who talked about her very close relationship with her dog Finn and how her "assets" (i.e. boobs) diminished after she lost a lot of weight in her young adulthood (yeah, I know, she's only 27, but boy, did she make it seem like that is so old ...).
Nealon had a couple of funny bits - giving away crap from his garage, which he says he's cleaning out to avoid being a hoarder (audience members got an old volleyball, cables for a washer/dryer hookup and a picnic basket). Then a lucky audience member - the LUCKIEST, actually - got to come up and get a charcoal portrait done by him. Of course, this led to the classic gag of subtly putting charcoal all over her face (I wondered why all the monitors were off during this ...), but she went with it and got an iPad for her trouble.
Bolton sang "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with co-artist Kelly Rowland and we were given free CDs.
The tag to the show had Ellen once again bringing charcoal girl up to play a game for a trip to Jamaica. All she had to do was answer questions about the show while getting bombarded with goop, powder, sand, etc. Again, she was a good sport, and her enthusiasm and excitement were off the charts, so she won. Essentially, chick made out like a bandit!
We had a great time, had smiles on the whole time and Ellen expressed her gratitude and appreciation for all the energy and joy she gets from her job every single day. This lady has one of the best jobs in the world and I'm glad she knows it and makes note of it.
I highly recommend attending this show. It;s trick getting tickets, but worth it when you finally score them.
Now go go Laugh, Dance, Love!