By MJ Hanley-Goff
My friend, Vicky, hit paydirt: four tickets to the taping of Dr. Oz’s daytime talk show. With two other friends invited and confirmed, we headed out to Manhattan from Orange County for the taping set to start at 3 p.m. It was a sunny Monday afternoon. However, with most shows, audience members need to jump through a few hoops before getting the brass ring, or in this case, through the studio doors. The rules for these events are endless, and quite off-putting. “No big bags, no backpacks, no cameras, or recording devices, or anything electronic. If you bring a cell phone, we will pounce on you.” (Only kidding on that last one). But you get the idea. It sounds like you are going to a really strict boarding school. Be there by 1:30, the letter stated. No guarantees. OK, so it’s like a boarding school that may or may not have a spot for you. Just the same, we were off to the NBC studios.
Arrived at 1:20. We are the perfect audience members. We are instructed by building security to head upstairs to the NBC digital café, an exclusive eatery for those waiting to get into The Dr. Oz Show. We knew those waiting were audience members since they had the required colorful outfits. (These shows tell you what to wear, as well). We got our wrist bands which meant, “we were IN!”, and surprisingly were told we were dismissed but should be back at 2:15 p.m. when the studio doors would open to start filling the seats. The time was now 1:45 p.m.. Not too much time to do much of anything except head to the ladies room. (Who knows if they’d even allow THAT!) With a few minutes to spare, we wandered through the NBC gift shop, which is always a fun place to admire shirts and mugs from our favorite shows. (A House tee-shirt for my daughter would be an instant hit). Guess it doesn’t matter what station the show is on, as I believe the show is on Fox 5 here in New York. But, I won’t even ask.
At 2:15, we were up at the assigned floor, and were handed green cards with the number 36 written on it. We didn’t know what that meant until down the hall, we saw a huge line with people holding similar cards. We were told to go in between groups 35 and 37. Ah ha. We figured that one out. There we stood for another fifteen minutes, before the line began moving up. Small groups were being moved in little by little, and we were itching to get inside, to our final destination, to be able to sit. Little did we know that our work had only just begun.
The clapping. I forgot how much clapping live studio audiences have to do. They not only have to practice it a few times, but do so with great enthusiasm. The funny guy who came out to warm up the crowd was also the “clapper instructor.” He raised his arms for a medium size clap, then raised them up higher for a louder clap, then stood on his tippy toes, hands reaching the heavens, which meant we were to go hog wild crazy. The studio was smaller than it appears on TV. We learned it was the same studio where Conan O’Brian did his show, then before him David Letterman, and before him, Tom Snyder. Quite a history. We were instructed not only to clap like wild banshees when Dr. Oz appeared, but also give him a standing ovation. Now, I always thought a standing ovation was decided on by the crowd; it made it lose a little lustre knowing it was staged.
Finally at 3 p.m., we were given the countdown that Dr. Oz would appear, and we should rise at his entrance. Okay. Showtime. He entered wearing a form-fitting blue shirt and dark pants. He’s a handsome man on TV and in person, and seemed genuine when greeting the first row audience members who probably got green cards with number 5 on it. (Grrrrr!) The show proceeded to cover serious topics like phlegm, breast cancer, mammographies, sex after 40, and increasing your libido. Quite an ambitious agenda. One of the funniest lines of the day was when the warmer-up/clapper guy said he never thought he’d be instructing a crowd to clap about phlegm.
There was a tribe of studio workers moving around most of the time, pushing cameras, holding wires, talking into headpieces, whispering into Dr. Oz’s ear, patting his nose with make-up. It all seemed like a circus until he got down to serious business. The show is informative, fun, and we came away shaking our heads in agreement that we learned something of real value. Not only does Dr. Oz look great in scrubs (he changed once during the taping), but he is truly interested in passing along much needed information, correcting misconceptions, and bringing his fans up to date on the latest medical breakthroughs. He is also a warm guy, as evidenced by his interaction with studio members chosen for various segments.
In no time, we were given the signal to clap like raging lunatics, and stand up again, as Dr. Oz was now “leaving the building.” We did so happily because he deserved it. And if you want to know about the sex segment, or the libido segment, all I can say is the show is scheduled to run in the first week of its new season – early September is all they’d tell us. You’ll just have to stay tuned, and see for yourselves. This is a family site, you know.
To land your own tickets for The Dr. Oz Show, go to www.doctoroz.com/get-show-tickets