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Stand By Tickets: How to Get Free Talk Show Tickets the Day of the Show

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Stand By Tickets: How to Get Free Talk Show Tickets the Day of the Show
Brad Barket/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you’ve read any of the How To Get Tickets articles, you may dismayed by the length of time it takes to obtain tickets and the restrictions on requesting tickets. For some shows, such as Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno, the you can only request tickets twice a year. And for Ellen, god love her, you can only ask once a season.

Frustrating, to say the least. But if you’re the gambling sort – or if you just have a day to kill in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles – you could try to get a free ticket by going stand by.

Nabbing a stand by ticket to a talk show is a lot like flying your favorite airline on stand-by. There’s a lot of waiting around and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a seat.

But if you do, it makes the experience all the more worthwhile. How so? Because you beat the odds! You went to see your favorite talk show on the day it was taping and made it in. Unheard of!

Thinking of giving it a try? Great! Here are a couple of pointers to keep your smile from turning upside down.

Get some good coffee:

For most, going stand-by means getting to the show early in the morning and standing in a line to get one of the few, coveted tickets. You’ll want to stay alert, lest some ne’er-do-well jumps the line. Do so with some good coffee.

You can always go Starbucks, but why not peruse some of the restaurant reviews for Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago for something local and eclectic?

Fill time by seeing the sights:

A number of shows ask that you pick up your stand-by ticket early, then have you return later for the actual show taping. So, what do you do in the meantime?

For one, don’t waste a day standing around with your hands in your pockets!

New York offers so much to do and see that you may have trouble getting back in time to see the show. A walking tour of Beverly Hills will surely add gravitas to the celebrity gab. And the museums lining Lake Michigan make any trip to Chicago magical.

Be on time:

This one’s simple.

Those who manage the audience have no patience for late-comers. TV productions like complete control over the studio, so, unlike attending a play or a movie, you can’t arrive late and find your seat. To be honest, you’re less an audience member and more a part of the production, and show producers expect you to understand this and play by their rules. So, really, best to do that.

Because when the doors close – they are CLOSED.

Have a Plan B:

This one’s the kicker.

For some of the more popular shows, your chances of getting in on stand-by are pretty slim. It’s not impossible, but, truthfully, it is a bit improbable. It’s almost better to assume you won’t get and arrange back-up plans.

This could include a lovely dinner, a funny movie, or even an impromptu party, themed to whatever show you wanted to see.

Heck, you even have ready made proof – that being your stand-by ticket – that you were just this close, man!

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