Welcome to part three (I haven’t decided how many total, we’ll see) of this series reporting on my recent trip to the state of Cawl-lee-foorn-yeeah (sorry, jokes about the Governator don’t really transfer well in print). Today, I’ll chat it up a bit about my experience catching a live taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno at the NBC Studios in Burbank.

We got in line outside the studio doors at about 2:30pm, with probably 30 or 40 people ahead of us already. The doors were scheduled to open at 3:30, with the taping to commence an hour later. Luckily, we were the last couple of people to grab a seat to kill off that hour before the doors open (they had the standard concrete/asphalt garden with some withering plants outside the studio doors).

Well, eventually we managed to find ourselves inside Studio 3, and let me tell you, it was quite chilly. They told us during the studio tour — which I discussed in a previous entry here on Beyond the Rhetoric — that they had to keep the temperature down for a number of reasons.
With the hot lights overhead, it can get quite warm on the stage (I guess you could call it a stage) for the guests and Jay. (Side note: the couch found on The Tonight Show isn’t your standard issue furniture. They’ve specially constructed it to be virtually indestructible, because Leno has wild animals and young children on it all the time; have a tiger clawing at the couch? not a problem. I guess that’s why they forked over $40,000 to have the thing built. By
contrast, the leather seat where Jay plants himself for half an hour each day is a run-of-the-mill $100ish chair from OfficeMax).

Before the show started, of course, they had someone come out and prep the crowd. Remind us that we should cheer as we come back from each commercial break and all that; they even threw a few free gifts into the crowd — tee-shirts, rubber balls, and other small things. Jay
Leno, himself, also made a pre-show appearance in his regular gear — blue jeans and a denim shirt — to say that we need to laugh at his monologue, not for his own self-serving sake, but just for the guests backstage to hear so that they know that nothing is amiss. Riiiight.

The guests he had on that night were Josh Lucas (star of the upcoming Poseidon, set for a movie theatre near you; ironically, Josh had a guest spot on Will & Grace last night — 5/11 — where Jack said that he was “quite manly”.), Hulk Hogan and his family (his daughter is
amidst a record deal, so she’s hitting up the recording studio to fire out a few tunes. For all you hormone-driven readers, yes, she is now 18.), and Bird York (the artist responsible for the Academy Award winning song to Crash).

Reading about watching television tapings is one thing, actually experiencing them is something different altogether. If you ever find yourself in the SoCal area, I highly recommend catching a taping of Jay Leno, or even Jimmy Kimmel or Carson Daly for that matter (I did watch the former, as well). Best of all, IT’S FREE!