Hey there! I'm Ellie, and I just recently got back from a trip to New York City. Being a person with no chill, I had two huge goals for this trip: One was to see Hamilton, and the other was to attend a taping of Saturday Night Live.
If getting Hamilton tickets is difficult, SNL is a whole different ball game. It's on way less often, the studio seats only about 300 people, and YOU CAN'T BUY TICKETS WITH MONEY.
Last week, when I was in NYC, the host happened to be Emma Stone, who I love.
Listen. I am British. I know how to queue. But nothing could prepare me for what was about to come.
The SNL season runs from October to May, so you'll probably be queuing on an extremely cold New York City street for many hours. This brings us to IMPORTANT TIP #2: Layers and blankets are about to become your best friend.
Once you've gathered your companion, your layers, and your entertainment for the night (a fully charged iPad with The Princess Diaries downloaded and ready to watch, obviously), prepare to settle down. Your home is now 48th Street.
Honestly, as awful as it sounds, sitting outside for 13 hours in a cold city isn't THAT terrible. Yes, a warm, comfortable hotel room bed would probably be preferable, but there's a delightful sense of camaraderie amongst the people in the queue and it ends up going a lot more quickly than you'd expect it to. And you're allowed to leave the line for necessary bathroom, food, and coffee breaks!
Around 7:30, the 30 Rock kitchen staff came out and gave everyone butternut squash soup and crackers courtesy of SNL.
After more than 13 hours, countless selfies, three burgers, a hash brown from the 24-hour McDonald's around the corner, and approximately an hour of freezing-cold sleep, it was 7am and time to get our tickets!
Here's where you make your biggest decision (if you haven't yet, which you probably should've): Do you go for the dress rehearsal or the live show? There are a few things to consider here – the live show is the live show, and it's Saturday Night LIVE, not Saturday Night Dress. But dress rehearsal is longer – the show is constantly changing, so if you go to dress, you'll see sketches and jokes that get cut before the show goes on live – and, in theory, more standbys get into dress, because VIPs and season ticket holders will bother going to the live show only.
We'd decided weeks in advance to try for tickets to the dress rehearsal. We got tickets #27 and #28.
To get tickets, you'll need your photo ID proving that you're older than 16 and also your face. That's all!
FYI, now's the time to take pictures of your ticket and post them all over social media. When you come back later for the show, they'll take it away and you'll have to say goodbye.
After enjoying a few hours of rest and relaxation, you'll need to go to the NBC store at 30 Rock where an NBC page will put you in yet another line based on the number on the back of your ticket.
At this point you will be an expert at queuing. You'll recognise the people around you from the night before, and you may have even made friends with some of them. It will feel like you are home again.
You'll need the photo ID you showed when you were originally given your ticket, and not much else: Whatever you do, IMPORTANT TIP #4 is do not bring a backpack. They won't let you in and you will have been through all of this for nothing. I don't want that for you.