Last month I traveled with my mom to NYC to see a live taping of the Wendy Williams Show. My mom is a huge fan and if I’m being honest Wendy is not my favorite style of talk-show host. Now, granted she can be entertaining and I love her candor, but I prefer my hosts without an extra helping of snark. I like a more inclusive style like Ellen Degeneres and of course my all-time Shero Oprah, but this wasn’t really about me.
Let me tell you why. I had been wanting to take my dad to visit the White House ever since we’d moved closer to DC. It was was one of those things I knew I needed to submit tickets for but never got around to doing. A few years ago when my dad’s Pancreatic cancer came back (he’d been in remission for three years) I realized he might never see it. I scrambled to submit an application but it was too late. All of the available dates were full for the next few months and there was no way I could get a visit on such short notice. I even wrote an appeal letter but sadly, my dad indeed did pass away shortly after submitting it.
So when I thought about something I could do with my mom this summer, I thought about how I always wanted to see an Oprah show. But I was a single mom at the time and flying to Chicago for one day, just for the chance to be in the studio audience wasn’t really an option. By the time it was- meaning I’d finished graduate school, purchased a house and checked a few of my financial boxes, it was no longer an option. Oprah was no longer taping her show. I’d missed my opportunity. So I decided then and there that my mom would get the one day visit that I didn’t have and that I wasn’t able to give to my dad.
Here’s what happened on our trip and what you might need to know if you plan to attend the live taping of a show.
Arrive early-I learned from my younger daughter’s live show mishap that having tickets (you typically submit an application online and find out ahead of time that you have been approved) doesn’t guarantee you admittance. When we went to LA for her live show tapping of some band she loved, the line was wrapped around the building by the time we arrived. Having tickets didn’t mean anything once they had reached studio capacity. Apparently, more tickets are granted than space can hold presumably to assure a full studio audience. There were many disappointed young women that day. My daughter literally cried in her margarita over lunch. So when my mom insisted that we get there an hour and a half before the studio’s recommended time and an hour before my social media friend (Wendy’s stylist) personally recommended we arrive, I agreed. There were several people with tickets who were turned away that day.
Bring snacks-Getting there early meant that we arrived without breakfast. Huge mistake. You may be standing in line for several hours and then once you enter there will be more waiting before they take you to the studio. There was coffee inside and a vending machine in the waiting area, but it gobbled my change and refused to dispense that darn granola bar I was dying to consume. Luckily one of her producers who I befriended in line saw my disappointment and rounded up a breakfast bar from somewhere. Bring snacks or if you don’t mind a before dawn breakfast eat before.
Put your acting hat on-attending a live taping means you are part of the show. Some shows might flash the applause sign signaling the audience to put their hands together for a hearty round but other shows like this one go full tilt. We were coached before the show started on when to “ooh and ahh”, when to clap or “tisk tisk“ and encouraged to use lots of expressions should the camera catch your reaction. After our brief acting lesson, we were actually asked to practice. Yep, we all “oohed and ahhed” in unison. There were even times where we couldn’t even actually see what was going on on the stage because the view was blocked by the cameras but you understand quickly that you aren’t there to just view the show, you actually are the show.
Don’t take anything personally-you will probably not be seated the way you are lined up in the line before entering. At least not at this show, your ticket will be marked with a letter letting the producers know where you will sit. They actually say things like you “Oh, you look pretty!” before marking your tickets. Seating is undoubtedly strategic and no you can’t switch with a friend. They will move you back. I saw it with my own eyes. Where you are seated might be based on your clothing colors, your hairstyle or simply your outfit (you are encouraged to dress to impress). There is a method to the madness but you won’t be sure why you are seated where you are placed. But just trust that they’ve been doing this a while and know their vision. Again it isn’t really about you. You are a part of the show.
Things aren’t always how they appear-I already talked about how much acting is going on but I also have to say that I was surprised by how warm Wendy was and no she isn’t as tall as everyone thinks. She’s much tinier in person than she appears on the screen and she was actually very kind. And even though she did tell it like it is (or her opinion of how it is) she was sure to say positive things about the person before going in on the “hot topic”. I am not sure if this is a new approach as I don’t watch the show regularly or if it really is different when you can actually feel her energy. I was pleasantly surprised. I was telling my dentist my thoughts (I told you guys I talk to everyone) and he shared that he felt the same when attending Regis and Kelly back in the day. “They were both sooo tiny!” he said.
Have fun with it- when I say I had a blast I’m probably not even conveying how much fun it was. There is a Dj, there are games and contests going on and a huge dance party between each break. My cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much and I danced right along with my new studio friends and I am NOT a dancer. But you just can’t help but get up and dance and sing along. One of her producers Marco Glorious (pictured below) has the title of Hype Man for a reason. He definitely keeps the energy high.
I also have to say that when I announced on my IG story that we were headed to the Wendy Show so many of my friends and followers reached out thinking I was a guest on the show! What a huge compliment! I love that my friends have a vision for me that even I don’t see sometimes. I have to thank them here for believing in my potential. Fingers crossed!
All in all, we had such a wonderful time in NYC and at the show and I would certainly go again! Even if I’m still in the audience.
I’d love to hear who you have seen or would like to see live and hear about your experiences as well. And look we even closed out the show!
Until Next Post,
xo Tonya Parker