Chicago, The Second City, The Windy City, Chi-City, The City of Big Shoulders and now… ChiCoCo.
Conan O’Brien brought his late night talk show, along with Andy Ricther, a Chicagoland native, and Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band to the stage at the famed Chicago Theater, coinciding with the Just For Laughs Festival currently that was going on around the city. The festival had several on-goings and can be compared to a comic-con of sorts with comedians, plays and even a puppet show (Henson Alternative’s “Stuffed and Unstrung”) occurring over a string of several days last week.
A month or two ago, a call went out that they were offering tickets to attend the taping and my sister and I jumped at the chance. We had to fill out a little “form” per say online and I laughed when one of the questions was “Why should you receive tickets to a taping?” I jokingly answered, “Well, it’s a week after my birthday and that seems to work at grabbing a celebrity’s attention…so yeah.”
Sure enough, I got my four tickets. My sister did not. She was the first person I asked to go with me but unfortunately she could not as taping was during the week and interfered with work (I work during the week as well, but my employer is a little more forgiving). I ended up asking two close friends to go with me.
Our taping was the last one of the “week” on Thursday, June 14th. By now many of you have probably seen the real highlight of the show, Triumph the Comic Insult Dog and Jack MacBrayer visited The Weiners Circle (by the way, that place is real — even has a Wikipedia page. Not that that makes anything real).
I was surprised by how much the taping ran like an actual episode. We had a comedian come out and “open” the show. He made jokes (including mocking some audience members) and then gave us the legal notes to be aware of, you know the usual “Emergency Exits are here and here, we have permission to record you…blah blah blah.
Then the Basic Cable Band played a song while Andy got into place. Then the second song started, and it happened to be the theme song to Conan. Another thing worth noting is that at this point, the audience did not know about the Triumph/MacBrayer skit. When I watched that night, Andy mentions it in his opening voice over, but he did not say that there at the theater. We heard everything else, but that. And then Conan himself comes out.
From there, the episode goes without a hitch. I was really excited to see Adam Sandler, however I I guess I had high expectations of him in person than what played out. I was most excited by Scottie Pippen coming out…but that’s because I’m a Chicagoan and a sports fan. Also, Nick Offerman who stars on Parks and Recreation as Ron Swanson. He’s also a Chicagoland local (Minooka). I like him best in his series of Cubs vs. Sox videos for New Era with Craig Robinson
As the taping played out, we took commercial breaks (even though this was taped hours before it aired) and Conan goofed off in between segments. But the big treat was when he donned the guitar and we rocked out to “40 Days” which is a rockabilly song. The whole audience got into and it was the perfect ending to the taping. — That recording is not mine and wasn’t from my taping. —
All in all, if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend attending a taping. It is a ton of waiting, but so worth the experience. I had a blast as did my friends.