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TV Junkie: Live From New York (Almost)

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Through an amazing fluke of luck I got on the list to see last week’s Saturday Night Live dress rehearsal. After a bit of a mixup with a friend who was supposed to join me I got escorted up to the 8th floor of 50 West 50th Street in Rockerfeller Center – this is the studio floor, not the bleachers. I sat down at 7:40 p.m. with about 20 other people lucky enough to be sitting in front of the center set while the band played. Camera dollies and boom mike cranes were doing their system checks while set carpenters continued to get the scene pieces in order.

At 7:45 p.m.announcer Don Pardo took the stage to get the show riled up for the show’s guests: Peyton Manning and Carrie Underwood. Pardo turns 90 next year godblesshim, and is the only person who has been continuously participating with the show since its inception.- for the life of me it took me a couple minutes to understand that he was talking to us and not just _announcing_ at us, his voice is so emblematic.

Cast member and erstwhile team captain Jason Sudeikis then warmed up the crowd with some more jokes as well as some pointers on no recording/photos, etc. “but you can text, there’s no rules against that.” Sudeikis also explained that the dress rehearsals include about 40 extra minutes of comedy that gets cut during about one hour of frenzied rewrites before the live show. Sudeikis introduced Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen who came out and did an excellent cover of the Selecter’s “On My Radio” with Armisen on guitar backed by the band – it was really surprisingly good, nothing like a bit of ska to get people bopping in their seats. As soon as they got off the stage Peyton Manning materialized to get his monologue position set, as soon as that was done he disappeared and the band started up the theme song – it was eight o’ clock.