That One Time When... We Got Floor Seats to Saturday Night Live.
Updated: Feb 20
Every August, there's a competition that's more intense than The Hunger Games, more nerve-wracking than the Superbowl, and more thrilling than sitting front-row on King Da Ka.
The 'Saturday Night Live' ticket lottery.
Any seasoned fan of SNL knows that there are only 3 ways to see a live taping of the show:
1. Enter the annual lottery & cross all your fingers and toes that you receive an email some time throughout the year.
2. Camp out on the standby line in the unpredictable NYC weather - if the guests are super famous, die-hard fans start lining up on Tuesday.
3. Call up your second cousin twice removed on your mother's side who you haven't talked to in years, but he just happens to play the triangle for the SNL Band.
I, personally, do not have the patience or strength to camp on the standby line - it's also not a 100% given that you will be let in to the studios, even if you've waited for days.
And I also don't have a close friend or family member that's a part of the SNL production team.
Therefore, my only chance at getting into a taping is the lottery.
I once read an article that said that thousands upon thousands of people apply for the lottery & each entry has a 1.5% chance of winning. And on the weekend of October 5th, I was blessed to be a part of that 1.5%.
I instantly called my boyfriend screaming (my sincere apologies to our neighbors for the high-pitched shrieks that came out of my body) - and we cancelled all our plans for that Saturday night. We weren't going to miss this opportunity for anything in the world!
Saturday night came & we didn't exactly know how to react.
Do we cry? Laugh? Puke from excitement? Cry, laugh, and puke all at the same time?
On our tickets, we were given exact instructions and a call-time. I opted to go in about 5 minutes after the call-time because I didn't wanna seem too eager. Probably wasn't the best idea because there were probably 100 people ahead of us by the time we got in. But, we were still excited & waited on the line to get our tickets.
We finally got up to the front of the line & were directed to go to the NBC pages at a table. They checked us in and gave us purple wristbands along with tickets that had my name on the envelope & the number 8 on the back. We were told to go through security, then made our way into the Peacock Lounge which was filled with other ecstatic SNL fans.
Right when we sat down and got settled, I took a look around at the diverse, lucky group around us. As I was scanning the room, I took notice of something different, "Aaron... Why does everyone else have black wristbands?" A few minutes later, they made an announcement that anyone with the number 8 on the back of their envelope should make their way towards the elevators. About 30 people got up, including us, all with purple wristbands.
We were taken in these secret elevators and found ourselves surrounded by SNL props & staff running around getting last-minute tasks done. We were greeted by other NBC pages who let us know that this was the last bathroom opportunity and,
"... going to the bathroom now won't affect where you will be sitting on the FLOOR."
Now was about the time I contemplated crying, laughing, and puking all at the same time. I took one look at Aaron and I knew he was internally freaking out like I was. We went through some more protocol then were held for about a half hour - during this time, we saw Kenan Thompson running to his dressing room, saw Adam Sandler with his family, met a couple from Chicago and found out that the guys behind us in line were from San Francisco. Proof that literally everyone applies for these tickets.
Then, it was finally time to be seated.
Don't ask me how... but we were directed to our seats - THE SECOND ROW ON THE FLOOR. I stretched my leg out and I was able to TOUCH the stage! The band was playing, everyone else was being seated, the props were being set up - if you asked me what the definition of 'surreal' was, this is the exact scenario I would give you.
Watching the show being taped live & literally in the middle of all the action was, hands down, one of the most amazing experiences of my life thus far. I still can't get over turning around and seeing A-list celebrities like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Ryan Reynolds, and Lin-Manuel Miranda watching Taylor Swift sing her latest singles. (I can't even believe I'm able to write a sentence like that.)
AND we got camera time! How freaking cool is that?!
So, the biggest question we've been asked about our experience, "How did you manage to get seated on the floor for SNL?!"
My answer: No. Freaking. Clue.
But, I can say this.
The group that got put on the floor was pretty diverse, but also young (I would say around the 20s-early 40s area). We were also dressed pretty well - but not like ballgowns & tuxedos - I was wearing heeled booties with black jeans, a white top, and a black jacket. Aaron was wearing black sneakers, dark pants, a gray shirt, and a jacket. I'm not too sure if this is their target demographic for these heavenly seats or if they have a method of choosing fans - it's pretty random, to say the least. But, it definitely would not hurt to dress up a little bit and look very excited to see the show.
To be completely honest, we just got very lucky. And I mean VERY lucky.
So let this be living proof that winning the SNL lottery is possible! Definitely take a stab at it every August & send an email to email@example.com telling them why you should be chosen. I'm not sure if they read every email, but I would make your email very unique. For example, I sneak into my email that Colin Jost's dad was my teacher in high school (shoutout to Mr. Jost for teaching me basic CAD!) You won't know until the week of the show if you're chosen, so just be prepared to buy a last-minute flight or cancel your weekend plans if you do get chosen.
Wishing you guys all the luck!
Leave a comment if you've ever been chosen for an SNL taping or if you've been applying for years like I have. And make sure you're following me on Instagram (instagram.com/lifeofpia16) & subscribe to my mailing list so you know when a new post goes up!