Tuesday last we went to a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live, because Nathan Fillion was the main guest, and, well, Nathan Fillion! The way these things work is that you get free tickets online. Yes, free, although it’s first-come, first-served, so if they run out, that’s that.
So we get there and wait in line outside the El Capitan Theatre, where one of the PAs from the company that handles the tickets chats with us. He’d moved to LA from Iowa two weeks before. I commented to Ken afterwards that it had been clear he was new to LA by the mere fact that he was so friendly! Then we went inside and stood in line, except for running downstairs to go to the bathroom, because once we were in the theatre, we’d be trapped for two hours with no bathroom breaks. Seriously.
When we got into the studio set itself, we were met by Linc, a very cute young Southern gentlemen who was the head PA or something like that. He was directing people to sets. There were two rows of seats on the floor, right up against the low stage (with an aisle in the middle where the stage actually extended a bit; that’s where Jimmy does his monologue); then, behind those seats was an aisles; and behind that were theatre-style seats. We noted that the second row of the floor seats was mostly empty on the left side (where we were coming in), even though they’d directed a lot of people to the upper seats. Hm. Linc said we looked like we were there to have fun, and we agreed, and Ken looked pointedly at the empty second-row seats, and I bounced a little, and Linc asked us where we were from, and I said Oxnard, which seemed to confuse him, and then he decided we were good candidates to be in that second row, wooh! Although I was a dork and tripped because there was a little lip as you stepped into the row. Argh.
Once we were all seated, Linc told our two rows that when Jimmy first came in (before the taping started) our job was to stand up and applaud and cheer. Then he talked to all of us, trying to get us riled up a big, teaching us how to cheer and applaud and laugh loudly. No kidding. I mean, I do get this—live theatre (and live music, for that matter) needs clear feedback. Actors/musicians feed on that energy and approval. So while it seemed a little forced (especially to laugh at jokes that weren’t terribly funny or that we didn’t get because we weren’t up on the politics/gossip/news), the reasoning was sound.
After Linc deemed our noise at going to 10 (not on a scale that went to 11), he turned us over to a comedian guy we’ll call Uncle Fester because he was round-faced and bald. I really preferred looking at Linc, but my opinion wasn’t considered in the matter, and besides, I was really there for Nathan, right? Uncle Fester worked to keep us laughing and clapping so we didn’t forget our noise level responsibilities. He did a lot of audience participation: where were people from (with commentary), did anyone have questions, did anyone have a talent (we were treated to double-jointed-thumb woman and a singer who was actually really good—by that time the band had come in, so they were able to accompany him). The only question I could come up with was kinda lame, and I couldn’t think of any talent I have that I could perform on stage in front of a bunch of strangers, so I won neither a t-shirt nor the Apple gift card. Uncle Fester also explained when we were supposed to clap (before and after each commercial break) and showed us the signals we should look for.
Jimmy came out, we stood and cheered, and he said a few words before going back to the green room or wherever he goes right before the show. Various crew zipped around doing crew things with cue cards (no teleprompter, which surprised us) and cameras and putting out the little table next to the couch. I noticed they all wore jeans. Decent-but-utilitarian shirts and jeans and reasonably comfy shoes (no super high heels on any of the women).
Nathan (yay!) was charming and funny and has adorable crinkle lines around his eyes when he smiles. When Jimmy started a question/conversation with the fact that Nathan has a lot of Twitter followers, I was the first to “Wooh!”, but although he looked in the direction of our rows, he didn’t catch my eye directly. Ah well. He heard me. ;-)
During the first commercial break, two makeup girls darted out to touch up Jimmy and Nathan’s makeup. They had clear plastic makeup bags, and were totally tarted up themselves in skirts and high heels (unlike everyone else), which amused me.
Nathan’s visit was far too short. The next guests were the latest person to get bumped from Dancing With the Stars along with their dance partner, and since it was nobody I cared about (rapper), so that was that.
After the guests were done, we were all shuffled outside to basically a big parking lot, where an enormous full stage had been set up for tonight’s musical guest, which was some Grammy-winning band from Puerto Rico that we’d never heard of. There were already folks out there; Ken overheard someone saying they’d been there since noon. Even with the inside audience there, the standing area was just over half full. The folks towards the back were told to crowd around Jimmy when he came out (on a little platform) to announce the band. Uncle Fester was now on stage trying to keep us animated. Of course, once Nathan had left, Ken and I had been ready to go, but again, out of courtesy to the band, I at least bopped in time to the music, even though it was far from my thing (Caribbean-laced rap, essentially). I even pumped my fist and yelled “Woah woah woah” during the second song, as instructed.
After the second song, however, the actual taping of the show was over, so we were able to escape and go across the street and have dinner, because by then it was after 9 and we were starving.
And that is my story of how I was 25 feet from Nathan Fillion and didn’t get arrested for trying to hug him for being such an awesomely nice guy and amazingly fabby actor. The end.