Ok, I’ll spill. The suspense is killing me… My favorite thing I’ve ever done in New York City was attend a taping of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Now what made this experience so epic you may be wondering?

  1. Jimmy Fallon is hysterical
  2. Reese Witherspoon was a guest that day
  3. A blurry shot of my face was on TV
  4. It was free!
  5. Jimmy gave us a bunch of free stuff because it was around Christmas time! (I am the very proud owner of an Amazon Alexa…um, Echo, it’s called Echo…the gift that genuinely keeps on giving. Do you have one? Go on, ask her if dogs are allowed to eat grapes, I dare you.)
  6. Jimmy touched my hand as he high-fived the audience as they wrapped up filming

While I am sure every taping is magical, the free gift component definitely elevated the experience. I bring this to your attention because the time is fast-approaching to enter for tickets for this year’s holiday episodes.

Showing off our Christmas gifts from Jimmy Fallon in New York City
Thanks Jimmy!

How To Get Tickets

As a general rule, the tickets for tapings are released one month at a time. The waitlist for each month opens the first week of the month prior. For example, the waitlist for the December episodes will open in the first week of November. They also use this thing called Twitter to make announcements…I’ve never used it, but luckily my sister is a wizard (witch I guess…she’s a girl) and took care of my waitlist needs (@FallonTix).

When you sign up for the waitlist, you select the dates and number of tickets you require, and then, you guessed it, wait (I present to you the origin of the word waitlist). If you received tickets to one of the tapings you selected, you will be notified approximately two weeks prior to the date of filming.

Living in or near New York City make it easy to travel upon receipt of your tickets, but if you are from far away, it is not recommended you plan a trip for the sole purpose of seeing the show. A better alternative is if you are already planning a trip to New York City. Attempting to obtain tickets to a taping of a live show that corresponds with your travel dates may be a fun addition to your itinerary. From the folks I talked to in line, the latter was a common approach. Also worth noting, there is the standby acquisition method which involves waiting in line for hours on hours (arrive before 6am they say).

So You Got Your Tickets, Now What?

The planning and stress don’t stop I’ll tell ya. Just because you have tickets does not guarantee you a seat at the taping. What?!? That is why they do not recommend a trip solely to see the taping…there is the potential for severe disappointment. They give out an excess number of tickets to ensure enough people show up to fill each seat in the theater. Sad, but I get where they’re coming from. So, step one: arrive early! There will be a time range for admittance listed on your ticket. Arrive before the start time, but don’t just stand there and wait. You will be asked to leave. Mosey around, look at things, but keep your eye and ear on the prize. As soon as they start calling for ticket holders, you can be right up front.

This turns into a hurry up and wait scenario, but at least you are waiting in an orderly fashion in the order in which you arrived (cough, first, cough). DO NOT TAKE PICTURES. You will be kicked out. Don’t even hold your phone. It is not worth it. The NBC pages will be walking around offering to take your photos on an iPad, so you will have proof of your visit. Fear not.

However, it must be noted that this still doesn’t mean you have a seat. When the time comes, you will be checked in using tickets and an ID, and escorted to the Peacock Lounge for some more waiting! You receive a new slip of colored paper at check-in with a secret code in terms of a number or letter. You can spend the majority of your wait time trying to decipher if the handwritten “C” on your ticket is a ranking on your looks, an assessment of your bra size, or just shorthand for “cool.” Ultimately you will be called up by letter or number grouping, in a seemingly random order. Each group has a unique assignment. Despite being one of the first groups to arrive, we were one of the last groups to enter the theater which became nerve-wracking considering the ticket in hand still stated that it was not a guarantee for entry and the scheduled start time had come and gone.

The Show Itself

Ahhh, it was everything I wanted it to be. We were cued when to laugh and clap. Jimmy’s desk looked tiny in real life. He was fun and personable and chatted with the audience on breaks. It was fun to see him request retakes and when a prank-calling bit simply failed, he just said “we’ll cut that,” and moved on. He played this silly Virtual Reality Pictionary game. We were a part of the “12 Days of Christmas Sweaters” where a random seat number is selected and the person receives and ugly Christmas sweater. I was overcome with nerves at the possibility of having to introduce myself to Jimmy Fallon on TV. Alas, I was not chosen.

Audience at the taping of Jimmy Fallon in New York City
When on tv, you must take a photo of your tv. I am the growth out of the top of Jimmy Fallon’s head

Time Commitment

We were told to arrive between 3 and 3:45 (remember, arrive early, but don’t loiter). Taping was expected to begin at 5 and we should be finished by 6:30. The taping began late and consequently we ended well past 7. Keep this in mind in terms of dinner reservations! Should you opt to partake in a chance for standby tickets, that is a full day commitment.

I was on cloud 9 after the show! I cannot recommend this enough if you plan to be in New York City. And if you happen to score an aisle seat and a high-five from Jimmy Fallon, by the transitive property, it will be like we high-fived each other! Way to end on a nerdy, creepy note 🤦🏻‍♀️.

Have you ever attended a live taping of a show?

There are many amazing things to do in New York City, USA but what is the best? How to attend a live taping of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!

30 thoughts on “My Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Done in New York City”

  1. I was kicking myself so much that I didn’t have the foresight to get tickets for a taping when I was in New York! What an awesome experience, and kudos to your sister to working that Twitter thingy ;)
    I’m totally going to do this the next time I plan a trip to New York.

  2. This is so cool! I just attended my first live taping of a show last week, went to see The Chew at Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. I was surprised that I couldn’t really hear them talk. Were you able to hear Jimmy fine in an enclosed space/was his voice amplified at all? Thanks for the tips!

    1. I LOVE the Chew. That is too bad that you couldn’t hear! We definitely didn’t encounter that issue with Jimmy.

  3. Oh my goodness, this sounds like SO much fun! I would totally do something like this! I also think it would be really fun to go to Saturday Night Live! But I think that’s harder to get into…

  4. Great story! Well done and sounds like a blast, with a swag bag to boot, does it get any better?

  5. How cool is this?! I LOVE Jimmy Fallon and have been thinking I need to get back to NYC soon! Thanks for sharing the deets on how to get tickets and see the show!

  6. Wow that must have been great. We normally watch Jimmy Fallon. He’s so entertaining. And it’s great that you got a gift. I’ve never attending a live taping of a show myself, but then again living in New Zealand means there aren’t too many options for opportunities like that.

    1. If you ever make it stateside, there are loads of opportunities. There was a huge group of Australians at our taping. They engage the audience during breaks so it was cool to see how far people came!

  7. I never went to a live taping but I would love to, this looks like a great experience. Having tickets but not being able to attend the show must be painful, their tactic is so cheeky. Glad you had to see Jimmy Fallon in person and great that you got a gift.

  8. That sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve always wanted to attend a taping of a late night comedy show. An Amazon Alexa is such a great gift, you are so lucky. What a fun trip to NYC.

  9. Purely for fun!!!!! At times I need events like this to get me out of tiring day and seeing Jimmy Fallon love would just be one of such moments of surprises that I’ve been promising myself. Perhaps, a trip to NYC would warm me fun and also a chance to see Jimmy live. I’m looking forward.

  10. Wow this is such a detailed post about getting tickets to see Jimmy Fallon. I am glad the stress and time were worth it. It definitely seems like something that takes time and patience but so much fun! I go to New York often but never on weekdays. Will have to look into this next time I go.

  11. Wow. Although I am not a fan, I can see that Jimmy Fallon has a big fan following. And it was such a super thrilling day for you. And you have given some great tips out here from your own experience to others who aspire to get the tickets to meet and see him.

    1. Thanks! They also use the same site to obtain tickets for other NBC talk shows, so you can fill in the blank with your desired host!

  12. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! You have no idea how loud I was squealing as I was reading this!!!!! Definitely sounds like you had a great time. Will for sure have to consider attending a live taping the next time I’m in NY!

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