Jimmy Fallon is one of my favorite celebrities of all time. I religiously watch The Tonight Show, can quote lines and remember what happened in specific episodes. One could say I am a super fan. When my mom surprised me with a trip to New York City, I had one goal in mind: see Jimmy. However, it is INCREDIBLY HARD to get tickets. Since they are free, it is a game of chance. They release at 11:30 a.m. one month before you want to see the show (to get tickets for June you had to get on in May) and you have to be quick because they sell out fast. I did research everyday checking the Fallon Tonight Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram to see when tickets were going to be released. When I learned that tickets would be released May 4th, I started to mentally prepare. On May 4th, I headed to the library, got on 3 computers and waited until 10:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. in New York). I clicked the refresh button on the website as soon as the clock turned. After waiting for 30 minutes, one of my pages refreshed and I saw the devastating words SOLD OUT. I was crushed. But I am not a person who gives up. So, I decided to go for the second option. The dreaded, no guarantee and extremely risky standby tickets.
Standby tickets are tickets they give out the day of the show when people do not claim their reserved tickets. Depending on the day, the number of standbys varies. Some shows 8 standbys get in and other days 50. Although I knew it was a huge risk, I was determined. I love Jimmy and was not going to give up that easily. I read countless blogs, did my homework and decided to get in the line at 5 a.m. (the tickets aren't given out until 9 a.m.). In my mind, he was worth the early morning.
On June 3rd, the nerve-racking day began at 4 a.m. My mom and I rushed down to 49th street and by 5 a.m. there were already 9 people in line. Waiting for 4 hours seems like a long time but, in reality, it flies by. You make friends, you take turns running down to Magnolia Bakery on the corner for coffee and bathroom breaks, and in no time the NBC Pages (or interns) came out to give us tickets. You show your ID and they write your name and what number you are in line (#10 for me). Then you are dismissed and have to come back to 30 Rock around 3.
Returning at 3, we proceeded to check in with Jenny the Page (you will hear about her later. She's awesome.) She told us to wait around until 3:45 and at that time she will put us back in our original line. We had to do several laps around 30 Rock while we waited because I was to nervous to sit down. Then at 3:45 on the dot, Jenny put us back in our line. And then we had to wait.......again. 5 minutes felt like 4 hours. It was awful.
It was then time for the first round of cuts. The standby line for the morning had about 100 people. The red-headed page came down from the studio and said "Thank you very much but at this time we can only take the first 14 people in line. The rest of you are dismissed." 14. 14 people. And I was number 10. Luck was clearly on my side! I was so excited I almost passed out because that meant I was going to see JIMMY FALLON!!!!!!
..........nope. Wrong. That was just the first round of cuts. There were more to be made.....
More waiting. The show starts taping at 5 and the time was 4:30. I was beginning to lose all hope. There is no way they are going to keep all of us and I have a higher number. I had come so close to getting in. My dreams seemed impossible. Jenny the Page tried to entertain us by telling us hilarious stories of her job, dealing with tourists and what it was like to meet the dream boat Jon Hamm at SNL's 40th anniversary. As much as I loved hearing those, nothing was going to calm me down.
Time check: 4:45. 15 minutes until taping. I had completely lost all hope when the red-headed page came down from the studio with the final number. Her announcement went something like this....
"Thank you all for trying for standby tickets today. At this time, we only have seats for 12 more people. If you are numbers 1-12 come get your wristbands and move up to security."
I was number 10. My mom was 11. We did it. We got in.
10 minutes before taping began, we were rushed through security and into the studio! I had no time to process or be excited that MY DREAMS WERE COMING TRUE. No phones are allowed in the studio and they kick you out if you even attempt to pull it out. The taping was amazing. Jimmy is taller than you think, the Roots are better than you think and the audience truly is the laugh track in the background. During the commercial breaks, Jimmy comes up into the audience and chats. He tells funny stories of the guests that are on or asks where people are from and if we are enjoying the show. He is 100% how you see him on TV. Nice, genuine and absolutely awesome.
My advice to anyone who wants to get tickets: get there early, have a positive attitude and do not give up hope. The NBC pages try everything in their power to get standbys in. Everything about going to The Tonight Show is an incredible experience. And Jimmy is worth the wait.