What You Need To Know Before You Wait In Line For SNL Tickets

Kristen Wiig hosting Saturday Night Live May 2013You guys, I’ve let you down. You may not even know it yet, but I have. Remember when I said I was gonna go see Saturday Night Live this weekend? I talked about it a lot. I was pretty sure it was going down. Me and Kristen Wiig were gonna be besties by Sunday morning, and Vampire Weekend was gonna officiate our wedding. I had it all planned out in my mind and then I DIDN’T GO. Well, I should amend that — I did go, I just didn’t stay. Mostly because every other human in the greater New York area also decided to go to that show and got in line way before me. And were way more prepared, and I was shamed into leaving. So when that happened, I thought to myself, “Self, you really didn’t plan ahead, did you? Aren’t you embarrassed? Wouldn’t you like to prevent this from every happening to anyone else?” And my answer was yes, so here you are: What You Need To Know Before You Wait In Line For SNL Tickets.

  1. This is all taking place round about NBC Studios. Usually they line you up on 49th Street, but the other day it was on 48th, so just be aware.
  2. Vouchers are handed out for tickets at 7:00am on the Saturday of the show. These vouchers are numbered with your place in line, so you can go about your business during the day (read: napping), and come back later to get into the same order.
  3. You can either get a voucher for the dress rehearsal or the live show. The rehearsal is longer, because it has sketches that will be cut for the real thing, but it’s also…not the real thing, so, you know. Once you reach the front of the line, you can choose which one you want to take based on how many people are in front of you in that line. For example, maybe there were eighty people in front of you, and sixty people have opted for the live show, with only twenty for the dress rehearsal. If you really really want to see a show no matter what, you could take dress rehearsal tickets because there’d only be twenty people in front of you.
  4. Since the vouchers are handed out so early in the morning, you’re gonna want to plan to spend the night outside. This doesn’t mean buying a camping chair and a bag of goldfish on the way, like I did. It means bringing a blow-up mattress, sleeping bags, and a literal pile of burgers, like the people directly in front of me. Be prepared.
  5. If it’s warm weather, you’re gonna need to get there balls early, especially if it’s a good guest. For Kristen Wiig, I got there at 6:30pm and there were already over 100 people in line ahead of me. Just to be clear, that’s over a hundred people who are prepared to wait AT MINIMUM twelve and a half hours to maybe get a shot at a ticket. To give you an idea, the people who were first in line got there on Wednesday. WEDNESDAY.
  6. Once you get a voucher, there’s still no guarantee you’ll get in. You need to come back that night before 10:15 and get in the same order. Then they let you in based on how much room they have, right up until the show starts at 11:30. So theoretically you could have waited for fifteen plus hours and have to watch the people right ahead of you get in under the wire while you’re stuck outside, not even getting to watch it live on TV. It’s a real gamble.

So yeah, those are some things just to bear in mind before you throw your weekend away on a whim. I went in uneducated, and I regretted it, so I vowed to improve the lives of those around me. Basically, the bottom line is: You’re not the only one with this idea. Plan accordingly. Godspeed to ye, and say hi to the pavement for me.

(Image: WENN.com)

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    • http://twitter.com/HeidiFaith Heidi Faith

      Thank you so much for writing this article! I always have this stupid dream where I’m like “OMG I’M GONNA GO TO NYC AND WAIT IN LINE FOR SNL TICKETS” and I’ve yet to find any information about the actual crazy process. I’ll definitely take this into consideration before planning a trip to Rockefeller Center on a whim.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        You’re welcome! Do as I say, not as I do!

    • Lauren

      From most of the seats in the studio you can’t even see the show. I have never been to an SNL taping but I’ve been in the studio where they shoot it and there is literally not one good seat. THere are seats where you can see maybe one sketch and then seats where you see nothing and it’s like the thrilling days of radio.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Oh that’s a bummer to hear. I’m definitely glad I didn’t sleep outside in the rain, then.

      • Jenni

        Yeah that’s really depressing. It seems like the key is knowing the right people. So we should prob just start stalking a few cast members and see who bites.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Hopefully some of them are fish.

    • steve

      My experience a few weeks ago. ….walked up at 6:30am. Took Dress Rehearsal #285. Flash Forward 12 hours I’m watch Zach Galifinakis do his monologue. I’ve always heard the dress rehearsal is actually better, which I didn’t believe. Until now. Its exactly what u see on TV, but more. The bands play, everyone hits their marks, Don Pardo….its awesome. I think if I went to the live show I would be wondering what I missed at dress.

      • cheryl

        thanks for this, because i was about to just not try at all.