First things first, if you've arrived here to find out if you paid too much for your tickets to The Colbert Report, the answer is, “Yes!” No matter if you paid just a shiny silver dime, it's too much!
Why? Because every show listed here offers free tickets to be a member of the studio audience (if they have a studio audience). So lesson number one: don't buy talk show tickets. They're free. Anyone trying to sell you a ticket probably has a good deal on some land in Florida.
With that public service announcement out of the way, let's proceed to the who, why, where, when and how of getting free tickets to your favorite talk show.
Who can get free tickets?:
You, me, just about everybody, so long as they follow the rules and have some patience (see "When" to understand why). Now, if you're under 18, you're most likely going to need adult accompaniment. And some programs, such as The Daily Show, will not allow minors at all.
Why would I want free tickets in the first place?:
Now, c'mon, are you serious? These are free tickets. How often does that come around in life? Just think, for the cost of waking up in the morning, you might see the hottest new star or the hippest rock band perform live. For nothin'!
Where do I get these tickets? And where's the show?:
Skip down to "How do I get free tickets" to answer the first question. The short answer, though, is by phone, mail or online, for most shows.
As for the second, the bulk of today's television talk shows are taped in the United States' three largest cities: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Many film Monday through Friday, usually in the late afternoon, though some, like The Oprah Winfrey Show, will film multiple episodes in one day, two or three times a week.
When can I get tickets?:
That varies as well, but for the more popular shows, Letterman, Leno, Conan, you'll need at least a six-month window. Those same shows only allow twice yearly requests for tickets too, so you can see that some free tickets are hard to come by.
There is an alternative, however. You could go standby and venture out the day of the show. Standby tickets are few and they do not guarantee a seat, but there’s always a chance you can slide in.
How do I get free tickets?:
Glad you asked! Start here, by clicking on the show name you want to see. That will take you to a “How To” on obtaining free tickets for that show! And if you go, drop me a note and tell me how it went!
- The Late Show with David Letterman
- The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
- The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert
- Jimmy Kimmel Live!
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
- Last Call with Carson Daly
- The Oprah Winfrey Show
- The Ellen Degeneres Show
- Live! With Regis and Kelly
- The Jerry Springer Show
- The Tyra Banks Show
- The Dr. Phil Show
- Chelsea Lately
- The View