Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Matron Goes to Boot Camp -- Wait, She Means the Letterman Show

Win tickets to the David Letterman show?

Uh, sorta like the 'go to jail' card in Monopoly. Please, Letterman spies with software throughout the internet, don't get her wrong. She loves Dave. Adores the show. Regular viewer and all that.

But the thing that surprised the Matron was the mechanistic, complex machinery that indoctrinates and ushers in the audience.

First, you must come forty-five minutes before you actually really DO show up. That first fake sign-up also involves showing your driver's license 78 times to 33 people. This takes about 20 minutes. Then they tell you to go away, but come back in 45 minutes.

One of the main things the audience learns in that first non-session is that there are NO BATHROOMS available.

Every middle-aged mother in the room gasped out loud. Some of us held each other -- total strangers -- in shock and for support.

When you come back 45 minutes later, you are the recipient of a long list of instructions (while standing in numerical order for half an hour in 90 degrees), that included a warning away from high pitched sounds like "WOOOO" or lamenting sounds like "AW." We were also schooled in how to laugh and when - and at what velocity.

Funny Guy Laying Out the Rules: "People incapable of following these really complicated instructions will be removed from the audience. We'll drag you out, manhandle, and toss you in the street."

Ha-ha. The jokes are David's job, honey.

Once inside, the audience is consistently, thoroughly oiled to be 'on.' There is a LOT of hand-clapping and enthusiastic leadership from ushers (some really boogie with the hand-clapping). By hand-clapping, the Matron means to the beat of whatever music is roaring through the auditorium, whether it's the band (also amazing) or the piped in stuff.

On this second, more real trip, the audience learns that people who genuinely can't go two hours without a bathroom, may sit in the balcony. A stampede of middle-aged mothers moved to that line (not the Matron as she was thoroughly dehydrated per earlier instructions).

But during the show --which was amazing and Dolly Parton was the guest and artist --- at each commercial break, ushers descended like SWAT team members into the audience.


And these people were removed.

Other ushers quickly sat in the vacated seats. The Ed Sullivan Theater is always 100% full during the Letterman show, folks. At the NEXT commercial, the humiliated rule-breakers were returned and a new batch of violators removed and replaced with even more ushers.

This is quite the payroll.

John to Matron: "Mary? What are they doing?"

Matron: "OMIGOD. No talking! We'll be dragged out and water-boarded next."

When the show ended--within TWO SECONDS--ushers pretty much screamed: "Get out!"

Well, then.

The Matron took notes. If only her household could run that way. Plus, a temporary replacement child when one goes bad? Ah, heaven.


smalltownmom said...

Why do they even want a real audience then, if they treat them so poorly? They could just substitute the generic laugh track and random fake audence shots.

And that line up sounds even worse than my experience in the Delta airlines special services line yesterday. You know, that airline where they mix up your children?

I'm glad you survived!!!

Gail said...

Yeah, I heard about all that. My daughter once suggested Letterman when we were visiting her. Never panned out, but I'm not sure it's a great loss.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm assuming/hoping these were free tickets--you wouldn't want to pay for that kind of abuse!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm assuming/hoping these were free tickets--you wouldn't want to pay for that kind of abuse!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Oh my. How, um, hmmmm . . . fun-ish.


Susan said...

I suspect they would boot me out - I am told my laugh is pretty loud... I would be so paranoid I would surely do something unforgivably human.

Ashley said...

I would love to hear a recap like this for the other late-night shows. And Oprah and Ellen. The only thing I've heard is that you're supposed to wear solid, jewel-toned tops when sitting in Oprah's audience. Now I look for that.

Daisy said...

I think I'll stick to the audience for What d'ya Know with Michael Feldman.

Dorrie said...

WOW! I saw Letterman years ago and it was nothing like that. My only complaint was that during the commercial break, he barely chatted with his guest and there was no entertainment for the audience.

Minnesota Matron said...

Tickets were free, Dorrie. And there was a boatload of entertainment during commercials -- the band! They were amazing! But yes, it's good not to pay for this kind of man-handling.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Holy crap! That's worse than a cult orientation! Denial of basic needs and all that... Appalling. I'd expect that kind of treatment from Oprah or Martha, but Dave? Sheesh.

Wenderina said...

At least you got in...we've tried before and because we live within 45 minutes of NYC we are considered ineligible. They WANT people from Minnesota...they probably think you are nicer. I think they know NY-ers would tell them to go screw themselves if treated that way.