So we left off last week with me arriving at the show. And being grateful I was there.
You are sent to wait in a big room with chairs and a TV blaring, ironically, other daytime TV talk/game shows. And that's when the people watching fest begins. Just a little bit of everything was in that room. Including a man so crazy that he was eventually escorted out. It. Was. Awesome.
To get from that waiting room into the official audience room, you walk single file through this long maze, take an elevator ride, pass another set for another show (Sports Center) and then enter from behind the set. It was fascinating to see how big and complex everything is.
Once in your official audience seat, you shove your coat and bag under your seat. And I know this might be silly to some, but I've never noticed (or perhaps I just don't really ever watch talk shows...said the girl who wanted to go to one live) audience chairs filled with stuff. I guess they just make sure the cameras don't include that? So moving on. But that was seriously fascinating to me.
The studio is so bright. And really fun with the brick (looks real- totally plastic) and wood (also fake) and giant windows (totally fake- there is a hallway behind that wall). There is an audience cheerleader to build up everyone's enthusiasm and make everyone do what they want you to do like clap for hours on end girl who I believe is named Jen. She was hands down my FAVORITE part of the show. She is hilarious. Very sarcastic and funny. Before, during and after the show she gets the audience pumped up and makes people dance and all sorts of silly things. I want that job. I would be good at that job. I wish I knew what the real title of that job was. She also tells the audience when to clap and when to stop clapping at the start of a segment and before they go to commercial. Seriously...that might be my dream job. She was so fun and Dad and I kept saying how she really made the experience completely awesome.
Now the guests. I knew that morning who they were via email but it seems not everyone got that email. Not sure why they told me and not others but whatever. After googling, I realized I knew one of them as I have on and off watched (and do like, but just never remember to actually watch) New Girl with Max Greenfield. The other guest, the one who took up the bulk of the show, was hypnotist Paul McKenna.
I have struggled with what to say about Paul McKenna for over a week now. But bottom line, I think he's a crock! And I think Anderson did too.
Paul "hypnotized" a bunch of audience members the day before our show. Then during the show, he magically hypnotized them again just by clapping and telling them they were hypnotized. Riiiight.
But they weren't going to be chickens clucking or something like that. No no, he hypnotized them to be famous people like Oprah, President Obama and Martha Stewart. But they weren't supposed to channel those people. They were just supposed to be themselves as those people. And Paul interviewed them.
Are you lost. Because everyone in the audience was too.
On several occasions, Anderson said "I don't understand what's going on."
It was not like these people started talking in a new Oprah-like voice. They sounded like themselves. But pretending, badly, to be those famous people. And the questions he asked them did nothing to help matters. It got really weird. And uncomfortable. Like everyone knew he was a crock but him kind of weird.
After realizing Anderson was not buying into this one bit, Paul offered to demonstrate a more scientific experiment. That was not scientific and proved absolutely nothing.
And finally, he hypnotized a woman who had a huge fear of elevators to ride in one. She did. Good for her. But no one believed that she did so willingly. My money is on that poor girl never riding on another elevator again. In fact, I bet she took the stairs out of the building, just a half hour later.
I believe the people hypnotized did believe they were hypnotized. I don't think they were lying at all. But this Paul guy is just a total piece of work.
My hands down favorite bit was when Paul told Anderson that before he meets with celebrities, he hypnotizes himself to be that celebrity. Then when he meets with the celeb, he already knows the answers to the questions because he was just them the day before.
I couldn't make this up if I tried!
He (or his publisher) gave us all a book, CD and DVD. Lucky us. I might add it to my family Christmas dirty Santa gift as a gag.
Max Greenfield was adorable. He talked about his wife and little girl and that was sweet. But his segment was super short. And after Paul's many segments, we were all a little low on energy. You are required to clap an obnoxious amount in these shows. Who knew one could get tired by clapping?!
Anderson's show was cancelled for next year. Which is sad. But I think I figured out why. And if his peeps are reading, perhaps they can save the show by noting my insights.
1. The show format is not at all original. It's Anderson and a guest host (who was sort of annoying but I forgot her name already) and a side kick. Just like every. other. show. They need to lose the guest host. If they want a second host, ala Kelly Ripa, just have a regular one. Otherwise, ditch it altogether. And the side kick guy is terrible. He distracts from the show. So not only does he not add to the program but he depletes it.
2. This show employs half of Manhattan. There were three staff members (that I could see) for every audience member. Most just stood around the entire time. That was much talked about by audience members. Streamline a little!
3. Anderson doesn't interact with the audience. Not before the show. Not during the commercial breaks in the show. Not after the show. No photos. No banter. A little of that would have gone a long way to build up some natural enthusiasm in the audience.
That said, I honestly had a fantastic time. I wasn't there because of the show guests. I was there for the overall experience. And I am so grateful that I had the unique opportunity to see how a show is produced. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Oh and because everyone has asked, yes, Anderson is completely adorable and pretty in person. But he is so much smaller than I realized. I thought he was tall and thin. And he is thin. MUCH thinner than me. He is a very small guy. But not very tall. I kept calling him petite and my Dad said I couldn't use that to describe a man. So he's a small guy. Not tiny but not super tall as I had imagined all these years. But he's every bit as cute as you see on TV.
I know this post is insane but I want to include the last part of my trip. We went to the 911 Memorial. And I am so grateful for that experience too! It was so beautiful and moving and just very personal. I highly recommend that everyone add this to their agenda the next time you are in NYC.