My wife surprised me with tickets for Craig's show, knowing I have been a regular viewer and fan. Since this show was taped on a U.S. holiday (President's Day), we were able to make it a long weekend, driving down on a Sunday for the Monday afternoon taping. We visited the famous Farmer's Market, which is right next door to CBS Television City (where the show is taped).
The show is taped beginning around 5 PM Pacific time, although the audience prep for the show starts at least an hour earlier. During the audience prep, we were told how the show isn't a comedy club where you might heckle the comic, but rather that we were "making television together". By the time we were in the studio, we were all ready to laugh as loud and as hard as possible (although they did ply us with candy bars to get our energy up).
Amazingly the show (at least this particular show) was shot in essentially real-time. There were absolutely no retakes of any kind. When the aired show is in commercial, there is (taped) music playing in the studio. I fully expected the bit where Mr. Shatner loses his mic to be edited out, but it appears on-air exactly as it happened live in the studio. The only things that weren't done live-to-tape were Bocelli's appearance, as he was actually in Italy performing at the Winter Olympics at the time, and of course Craig's taped "Michael Caine at the Olympics" insert.
The only part of the show that was obviously scripted was the "Presidential Expert" opening interview, where both Kind and Ferguson were looking at off-screen monitors. Everything else was apparently extemporaneous, although there is a teleprompter on Craig's monologue camera which might have some notes for him to follow; that's supposition though as the studio audience can't see what might have been on that 'promtper.
The studio is pretty much exactly like it appears on t.v., except that the use of wide-angle lenses makes it look somewhat larger than it really is. The audience area seats about 150 people in total. The only "trick" I noticed was that the guest chairs are not brought on-set until after Craig finishes his monologue.
This episode will always and forever be "our show". Craig is a very talented and funny individual, and if you get a chance to see him do stand-up, or better yet get down to Hollywood and view a taping, by all means do so, you will not be disappointed!
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