Monday, June 15, 2009

Going To See The Late Show With David Letterman Part 1

On a recent episode of the sitcom “30 Rock”, Gavin Volure the character played by guest star Steve Martin told Liz Lemon “Toronto is like New York, but without all the stuff”. There is stuff for every type of person in the Big Apple. Shopaholics can pretend they are the bitches from “Sex in the City”. Shopaholics on a budget can get fake shit on Canal St. Those who masturbate in public have the many acres of Central Park to play around in. Basketball nerds can visit Rucker Park and MSG, or find every sneaker ever made. Art lovers can get all pretentious in the Met and sarcastic assholes like myself can travel to the mecca of sarcasm. On Broadway between 53rd and 54th you can find the Ed Sullivan Theatre and sitting on the throne is The Grand Poobah of Snarkiness, Mr David Letterman.

As a child growing up in the eighties, with strict parents and a curfew, a VCR opened up a world of TV previously unavailable. Every night at 12:30 am my Panasonic VCR would motor into action and tape Late Night with David Letterman. As I got older, Letterman moved to 11:35, the VCR was replaced by youtube clips and the DVR recorded Stewart and Colbert. Still when a wedding invitation took me to New York recently, there was only one show I wanted to see. That was the Late Show with David Letterman.

A trip to the Ed Sullivan theatre starts months earlier on the Late Show website. Four months prior to my Victoria Day Weekend visit, the dates I was to be in the city finally became available to be chosen. This didn’t mean that I had them reserved, it just put me in the queue to be contacted. As it says on the website “We will contact as many people who have submitted requests as ticket availability will allow. We will not be able to call everyone who submits.” So I picked May 14 and I waited and waited and waited…. I had lost hope and considered getting Jimmy Fallon tickets until I realized that if I wanted to see a trainwreck I could stay in Toronto and watch a taping of George Strombolopoulos.

About a week before my departure a long distance number called my cell phone. I picked it up expecting to hear an Indian man trying to sell me insurance. Instead it was a female voice calling from the Late Show offices in New York. After confirming I would be in New York City before 10 am on the day of the taping, I was given a skill testing question. Expecting a toughie I loaded up Google on the old computer and was asked what type of business Late Show regular Rupert Gee owned. I didn’t need the best search engine in the world to know that it was the Hello Deli. The tickets were mine if I got to the theatre between 2 and 3 PM on the 14th. With an arrival time of 11:55 at Laguardia there should have been no problem getting to Broadway and 54th by the appointed time.

Of course delays at Laguardia are the norm. The morning of May 14th was also particularly windy and delayed our departure from Jim Kelly International Airport (pictured) in suburban Buffalo. Arriving in New York a little after 1 PM, we were forced to take one of the hotel limos into the city. This is a lovely New York phenomenon where a 10 year old Lincoln takes you anywhere in the city for twice what a cab costs or 20 times that of the subway. The great thing about New York cabs is that they are all equipped with “Cab TV”. It is a 15 minute loop of programming supplied by the NBC, ABC or FOX affiliates in the city.

Would we get to the show on time? Will I stay on topic? Stay tuned for the even longer part 2 of our saga!

No comments: