Thursday, November 3, 2011

Super Fans

Spending hours in stand-by lines of television shows can be either a frustrating or rewarding experience… much like how rainy days can go one of two ways: full of gloom and disappointment or crammed full of fun and unexpected surprises.   When you get a frustrating, gloom-filled, disappointing day, it’s best just to go home and turn on the Wendy Williams Show because sadly, your day can’t get much worse... but when you get a rewarding day jam-packed with fun and unexpected surprises, you’ve hit the rainy day lottery.  Last Thursday, alongside a group of friends, the rainy day jackpot was ours for the taking and no inverted umbrellas or messy hairstyles could stop us!

Writing about the entire day would take approximately 8,000 words (yes, it was that crazy), but the story that will live on forever is short-ish, oh so sweet and involves 30 Rockefeller Center and that late night host named Jimmy Fallon.

Life lesson: Friends who will spend rainy days in stand-by lines are keepers

When we lined up for tickets in the morning, we only knew of one specific guest: Eva Longoria.  Now, having seen Eva on a few talk shows over the last year, I’m not ashamed to admit I have a bit of a girl crush on her.  She’s smart, fun, competitive in family games like charades and can cook.  Basically, if she lived next door, I would befriend her and borrow cups of sugar.  All of us were just excited at the prospect of being in the Jimmy Fallon audience, no matter who else was going to be on the show – Eva was a bonus and anyone else would be icing on the cake.

Coming back in the afternoon to redeem our tickets, we lined up in numerical order – we had tickets 17-20 and were reasonably confident in our positions.  The first cut the NBC staff made: 1 – 36 would get to go to the next checkpoint.  No guarantees on audience admittance, but the further you get into 30 Rock, the better.  Horray – and we’re off!  Next up, we find ourselves in a boarder-line deserted hallway with the top 36.  The next cut: 1 – 15 would get in.  Disappointment… and not just for us, but for ticket holder #21 who had her wallet stolen a few hours earlier and who was still in line to see the show (WHAT?!  I would be losing my mind if I was in NYC and had lost my wallet… I wouldn’t be in line to see my hopeful new bestie do a 15 minute interview with no guarantee of Jimmy’s ‘thank you note’ bit).  But wait!  As they look at the top 15 it seems some people are missing… they are willing to take the next four people in line.  Hello rainy day lottery!

Hello upgrade opportunity!
Wristbands up!

After taking a quick look at our little group they handed us tickets, attached green bands to our wrists and pulled us out of line to take us to another roped-off area.  Puzzled, we stood with a group of about 20 people until our beloved NBC girl came back and announced she had “an upgrade opportunity available.”  You had me at “upgrade” NBC – this could only mean good things!  The offer was to be in the bandstand and dance/sway on stage when their musical guest performed.  Well, this was better than we ever could have imagined.  Ummm, yes, we’ll take it! 

Wait, should we at least know more about this band? 

Fast forward. 

Jimmy slow-jammed with Brian Williams. Eva was awesome. Kal Penn was entertaining.  We’re up. 

During the last commercial break we are taken on stage with a clear view behind the scenes where we see what can only be described as “alien monsters.” The band: GWAR.  If you aren’t familiar with them, neither were we.  According to their cyber fortress, GWAR is a heavy metal band that’s been around since 1984, they are all about outrageous costumes often made of rubber, body paint and obscene lyrics.  Of course, they were on Jimmy Fallon to perform a new hit from their current album, ‘Bloody Pit of Horror.’  Oh sure. To get the full picture, I encourage readers to visit - my words alone aren’t able to do justice to this group.

So there we were, on stage in the bandstand, clouds of dry ice encircling us as GWAR performed their song.  To be honest, it was difficult to understand – it could be because the singers were wearing enormous amounts of rubberized head gear, or it could be because we had to head bang so as to appear like number one fans.  Either way, nothing could have prepared us for the slaughter that happened next.  Yes, slaughter.  By the end of the song, band members were fighting on stage, tearing chunks of flesh from their costumes and trying to decapitate each other with saws.  At some point I had to ask myself, ‘why couldn’t we have landed on Josh Charles day… Josh Charles day would have been so much dreamier,’ but it’s one of those things you can’t question.   The universe wanted us to see GWAR.

The only way to truly sum up this experience is by saying one word: hilarious.  How we made it into the audience, how we were selected to be bandstand members and how we managed to land on GWAR day is simply a mystery.  It’s something that a very few people would ever experience – a true, ‘if not now, when?’ moment.    That said, if you’re in Calgary on November 5th, they’re playing at MacEwan Hall.

And that’s how we became super fans of GWAR, super fans of Jimmy Fallon… or maybe just super fans of those things you look back on and say, ‘only in New York.’

Even Jimmy Fallon was scared

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