Be part of a talk show audience (live studio audience) (2012)

My mom and I in the New Day Northwest live studio audience. Photo is a screen shot from a New Day Northwest video filmed 7/28/12

My mom and I in the New Day Northwest live studio audience
Photo is a screen shot from a New Day Northwest video filmed 7/28/12

Have you ever clapped so hard and loudly that your hands felt bruised?

When my mom and I (along with the rest of the live studio audience) were coached on how to be good audience members, we were told to clap as loudly as we could, and to do it much faster than we would normally clap, because it sounds better on TV. We were also told to cheer and to not look at the cameras or the screens displaying how the show would look to viewers at home, or we’d inevitably be caught with our “mouths open and staring into the sky” when the cameras panned over the audience (“It happens all the time, and then people watch themselves later and get mad that they look like that,” according to the person giving the orientation).

I found out about New Day Northwest (a local late morning talk show) because one of my friends works there, and he told me they’re always looking for audience members, so I figured it would be a great way to do this bucket list item.

Similar to what people say about being a movie extra, there is a lot of waiting involved with this activity, but I think it was worth it. After arriving early and waiting in an area with some couches, we were given a brief introduction to being audience members, then directed inside the studio, where we chose/were assigned seats (depending on how many people were in each group). After sitting down, there was… more waiting! But this time, we could watch the crew set up and run tests, so it didn’t seem like waiting with nothing to do.

We had our coaching session on clapping and cheering, and then they explained how each of the guests will come out, talk with the host or do whatever it was they were going to do during their segment, and then they’d cut to commercials. During the commercials, the audience would get a chance to ask extra questions to the guests, who would come up to the front row of the audience to talk with us.

The overall experience was pretty fun. We saw a variety of segments, including

(Each of those links goes to the video segment from the show)

I also vaguely remember a martial arts/dance/physical comedy group, but I can’t find anything about that online, so maybe I made that up.

We also got free samples and gifts for being in the audience (no, nothing like a new car, but a bunch of fun things). We got posters and tickets to Paranorman, a gourmet foods sampler box (included vanilla beans, dried shiitake mushrooms, truffle salt, fregola sarda, dried beans, etc), coupon to Teatro Zinzanni, and a free game code from Big Fish Games. There was also a drawing to win tickets to the special one-night-only Francine Reed show. Guess who won? My mom! (We ended up giving them away, so it made even more people happy).

And then, at the end of the recording, although only one audience member tried the Szechuan button on the air, we all got to try it (and truffle salted popcorn) after filming ended (watch the video to know what I’m talking about). It really does feel like electricity in your mouth, and I’m not making that up – I accidentally shocked myself when I was younger by putting a cord in my mouth (very not recommended, but if you want the same feeling but without the risk of electrocution, eat a tiny piece of the Szechuan button).

This list item was so much fun, especially because I got to do it with my mom. I highly recommend being in a studio audience if you get the chance. Almost every show that films in front of a live audience is looking for people to fill those seats. It could be you! Information is usually available on the network’s website.

Resource: This brief page about Audience Etiquette, originally written for people visiting Los Angeles, is relevant to my experience too, and can give you an idea of what to expect.

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