Seeing Stars: Free Tickets to Studio Tapings


(taped live at the NBC Studios in Burbank)
3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA.
(818) 526-6857 or (818) 840-3537


Besides "The Tonight Show," there is another late night show that is taped at the NBC Studios in Burbank: it's called "Late Friday."

This show lives up to its name, airing locally on KNBC (Channel 4), Fridays at 1:35 AM, following both "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Fortunately, they actually tape the show at a more reasonable hour. The show is taped twice each Wednesday, first at 7 p.m. and again at 9 p.m. And since there is a live studio audience, you can get tickets and watch the show while it's being taped.

Unlike the Tonight Show, the host of "Late Friday" changes every week. And so do the guests.

Essentially, "Late Friday" is a showcase for up-and-coming stand-up comedians. Each performer gets a few minutes in front of the camera to do his schtick. Naturally, the show is only as good as the individual comics, which means sometimes it's a lot of fun and sometimes it falls flat.

"Late Friday" traces its its roots back to the Largo pub, a small music club located at 432 N. Fairfax Ave., a few blocks north of Farmers Market.

In 1997, the club debuted 'The Largo Comedy Show,' a popular comedy night. Monday nights at Largo became a place for stand-up comics to try out daring, unpolished material that they normally wouldn't use at established comedy clubs like The Improv or The Comedy Store. The shows also became a laboratory where new, eclectic talent could get their chance in the spotlight. The Largo draws a large college crowd, and the audiences there ate it up - the show sold out every week.

When a spot opened on their late night TV schedule, NBC decided to see if a similar low-budget formula would work for them. "Late Friday" premiered in January of 2001. Most of its comedians on  are from "Monday at Largo" and the HBO Comedy Specials.

Celeb guests have included Bobcat Goldthwait (the voice of 'Mr. Floppy' on "Unhappily Ever After"), Paul F. Tompkins (of "D.A.G."), Brian Posehn (of "Just Shoot Me") and Dana Gould (a writer for "The Simpsons"). But most of the performers here aren't household names (at least not yet). Expect to see comics like Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Andy Kindler, Todd Barry, Randy & Jason Sklar, Mike Siegel, Robyn Hitchcock, Sarah Silverman and Jon Brion.

You won't really see that many big stars here - but then again you might just see a future star on his way up. Who knows when the next Jerry Seinfeld is going to pop-up on a show like this? And if he does, you'll be able to tell your friends that you saw him live at NBC before he hit it big.

If you like watching new stand-up comics, this is one 'comedy club' that won't make you pay to watch the show. You can forget about the admission prices charged by places like "The Improv" or "The Laugh Factory". Like all NBC tapings, tickets are free.

You can call the NBC hotline (at 818-840-3537) to check for times and guests. To make a reservation for tickets to watch a taping of "Late Friday", call (818) 526-6857.

Audience members must be 21+ with valid picture I.D. They tell me that Stage 9 is very cold, so dress warmly. No shorts/T-shirts.

Parking: there is no longer a parking lot available at NBC for the public. You can park for free on the street, along Bob Hope Drive. After parking, walk down to Warner Court and turn right. t the end of the court, look right and follow the sidewalk to the Stage 9 security gate, where an NBC page will seat you.

(For ticket information and directions, see the article on tapings at NBC.)


[You can access Late Friday's official website at: http://home.nbci.com .]







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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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