Mission Accomplished: Attend a Saturday Night Live taping

I’m always excited when I get to cross something off my NYC To Do List. This time it was Item #4: Attend a Saturday Night Live taping.


Even better, I got to attend SNL dress rehearsal for season 39’s premiere hosted by my idol, Tina Fey. The musical guest, Arcade Fire, added to my excitement.

If you are curious about the experience, keep reading.

The SNL studio at 30 Rock is much smaller than you’d imagine. I had seen it once before but my friend Katie had not so she was very surprised. Our seats were in the front row of the mezzanine, a great vantage point for all of the maneuvering of the skilled crew between sketches. I desperately wanted to take pics and videos, but alas, that’s forbidden.

Taran Killam came out to warm up the crowd just before rehearsal started. He let us know that we’d see about thirty extra minutes of material while the cast and producers figured out what sketches and bits would make the actual show a few hours later.

Then it was time to get started. They did a cold open with Jay Pharaoh as President Obama apologizing for his failure to explain Obamacare. He got unexpected help from Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad.


Needless to say, once I realized that my crush Aaron Paul was actually in-studio, I went somewhat bonkers.

Aaron was also part of a video bit about EMeth and Weekend Update with Drunk Uncle as Meth Nephew. If you don’t watch Breaking Bad, you probably were annoyed by all of the references.

Another highlight included a Girls sketch with Tina as a new friend from Albania named Blerta.

In the end, I broke the rules and got some pics of Aaron Paul saying good night to the cast. Had to be done.


You would have done the same, right?


I got home in time to catch most of the SNL live broadcast. They cut some of the sketches down including an unfortunate bit from Weekend Update featuring Kyle Mooney (that I still didn’t find funny even when abbreviated).

Also cut was a too-long-but-had-potential sketch with Miley Cyrus (Vanessa Bayer) and Robin Thicke (Taran Killam) at the MTV VMAs, and a sight gag about the blondes of Fox News that didn’t get many laughs even with Tina as one of the busty blondes.

Overall Twitter reaction was different from my own which leads me to believe that perhaps the comedy just doesn’t always make it through to our televisions. Bits that were enjoyably funny in person didn’t seem to resonate with the television viewing audience. Twitter also didn’t love Arcade Fire’s performances which in person, I found weird and wonderful.

And yet USA Today got the jokes, for the most part. Recap here.

I have sometimes been critical of SNL on Twitter in spite of having a healthy respect for how hard comedy is to make week after week. Having been there in person, I hope to cut SNL a bit more slack in the future. We’ll see.

Sidebar: Is it creepy if I point out that the crazy talented Tina Fey is also hot? She’s in terrific shape–even more so if you keep in mind that she’s a mother of two. Check out her portraits.

7 thoughts on “Mission Accomplished: Attend a Saturday Night Live taping

  1. donofalltrades

    I think when you see anything live, you’re better able to appreciate the subtleties and it’s just a better experience to be there then anything you get on tv. You get to enjoy others enjoying the show as well and i think that adds to the enjoyment. Whatever, Don, right? Lol. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve always thought it’d be neat to watch an SNL taping.

  2. Candace Armstrong (@candacearm)

    The pictures were completely necessary – it was the end, it wasn’t like they were going to kick you out!! And yes, T.Fey has been looking beautifully radiant lately. Success gives her an amazing glow rather than an “I’m better than you” attitude (I’m totally making all this up. She could be a huge bitch for all we know. But I doubt it.)

    You truly hit the OneChicklette trifecta on this one. I love it.

  3. PinotNinja

    I am dying of jealousy! DYING! I watched a live taping of SNL once years ago (Catherine Zeta Jones and Franz Ferdinand) and my two take aways, similar to you, were that the theater is shockingly tiny and also that the show is so much funnier live. But you got Tina Fey AND Aron Paul AND Arcade Fire. If you ever had any doubts that you were a saint in your past life, you should put them to rest now.

  4. mollytopia

    I fell into a Breaking Bad wormhole last weekend – love love love. And that Girls skit was awesome. I’m so jealous you got to see it in person – good for you!!!!


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