Obtaining tickets to ABC’s popular daytime chat show The View is like playing the slots. You need a lot of patience, and sometimes it actually pays off. The plain white envelope came in the mail about a week ago, and I opened it up thinking it was another pitch from the local oil company to switch our heating system, ready to toss whatever in the recycle bin. And lo and behold, were four tickets to the December 8th show. I had a slight blur of a memory where I think I ordered them. Was it a year ago? Two years? It wasn’t hard to tempt my daughter (a high school senior) and college-aged niece to accompany me for the early hour line-up. Since guests need to be 16 and over, my ninth grader would have to wait a few more years. A quick look at the show’s website informed us that Jenny McCarthy and Rita Wilson were scheduled. Okay, it was a date.
The early drive over the GW bridge proved manageable since we left well before the crack of dawn. The amount of cars heading to the city at 6 a.m. in the morning from Orange County is mind boggling. I had booked a parking spot at the Icon parking garage (West End Avenue and 66th Street), and we were in.
Instructions called for us to be on line by 9:30, though anytime there are free tickets for a show’s taping, it’s wise to get there almost 90 minutes earlier. Having actual tickets, we were told, does not always guarantee a seat. Like airlines, producers of The View overbook. Also, it seems that the audience often includes folks who called in sick to work. Something we learned because one of the assistants asked the crowd if anyone needed to be seated out of camera shot.
Freezing, stamping our feet to keep blood circulating, we waited on a line of friendly View fans. Some came especially since word got out that Adam Lambert was going to tape a performance for Thursday’s show. And a “stand-by” line was already in place when we arrived.
By 8:30 a.m., a View worker came out to greet us and shout instructions on our entrance through studio security. It was exciting to know we would be sitting down in a warm studio very soon. ABC graciously provided a free hot beverage and donut/bagel from a truck that arrived about 8:20 a.m. By the time I had my tea in hand, we were ushered through the front doors, and immediately told that beverages and food were not allowed inside. So, after one sip, it got dumped.
The studio is not as large as it appears on TV. The set is small, the sectional couch plain. Apple juice and chocolate cookies were handed out as we entered the studio, which made up for the lost snack a few minutes before. The comic, Tom Kelly, did an admirable job revving up the crowd, and his exaggerated hand movements to get the crowd clapping were soon tiring to watch. My shoulders began to ache from so much hard clapping. But, in no time, we got the hang of it and could clap loudly at the first signal, and then again, on signal, our clapping would die down. We were quick learners.
Barbara Walters is tiny and stunning to see in real life. I’d been watching her for years, and she still looks great. Joy Behar offers a strong presence in the group, Sherri Shepherd is a laugh-riot and down to earth. Elisabeth Hasselbeck has a tough job trying to get her point across with such strong co-hosts. (Whoopie Goldberg was in England, visiting the Queen.)
The four entered to really loud applause as Tom the comic flapped his arms like a hummingbird, a clue to us to really “let go.” The ladies, dressed in somber black and white outfits, began by discussing the latest development in the Tiger Woods story. A discussion on infidelity followed, with each giving their “view” plus adding a joke or two. The audience clapped, laughed and chuckled in the right places.
First guest, Jenny McCarthy is funny, open and very sweet. Despite having awful “cramps,” she discussed a new ABC made-for-TV movie and life with funnyman, Jim Carrey. Next, Rita Wilson promoted her role in the latest Meryl Streep flick, It’s Complicated. We are then informed that, indeed, Adam Lambert will perform right after the show, and are invited to stay. The set was quickly transformed—the couch was moved, chairs re-arranged, the back wall disappeared. And soon, the studio was much larger, with Lambert and back up band performing a rocker from his latest CD (with no lewd movements, this time.)
Best of all, Tom the comic announced that the studio audience would receive a gift bag of nifty items: Jenny McCarthy’s work-out Wii game, Lambert’s CD, the movie Julie and Julia (just because it was new on DVD), and other ABC promotional items. During commercial breaks, we saw the ladies get primped and powdered, and seriously discuss the next segment. When time allowed, they took questions from the audience, but there was little opportunity. Tom the comic, however, had a great time trading quips with outgoing audience members.
At closing, Barbara took the mic and ever so classy, thanked the audience for coming and for sticking around longer to be an audience for Lambert. She wished everyone a Happy Holiday. Can’t get better’n than that. We were then asked to exit, handed a goody bag, and invited back for another taping.
Which, if all goes as before, may be around the year 2011.
MJ Hanley-Goff’s is editing a follow-up to her first novel, The Bench. She’s taught classes in freelance writing, and is a founding partner of “Women For Women,” an organization inspiring women to pursue their passion. Visit her online journal, mjwrites.net She also muses about entrepreneurial topics at www.WomenForWomenSite.com