For those of you concerned about the state of Cleveland during the RNC, it isn’t all chaos and riots. While the Westboro Church has made an appearance, a little further west in Ohio City (not far from the famous West Side Market and Great Lakes Brewing Company), The Daily Show set up shop in the Breen Center to film. And GeekMom Nivi managed to score free tickets to try to wait in line to try to get in to watch the taping of the show.
So I packed a pb&j, a bag of Sun Chips, water, and a book, and headed across town to the near west side, bypassing downtown. [NOTE: If you’re heading over, bring a book and a folding chair.] We would be able to pick up our tickets at 2:00, so I got there plenty early. Like, by 11:30. Which, incidentally, was way early. (I got ticket #47; capacity for the theater is 500.) I chilled, and I chatted with Nathan, who is working toward getting certified to start a commercial composting company. I chatted with Kate and Jason, who live a couple blocks away from me and homeschool their kids. In other words, I made new friends, connected with my fellow Clevelanders.
As we waited, folks came out from the building (not sure if they’re from the theater or The Daily Show) and handed out water to everyone. And then, once two o’clock hit, we quickly went through the line and got our tickets. I gave my husband’s name, and he arrived shortly after. Of course, that meant I had to get back in line, but even that didn’t take so long. And we chatted with those in line around us, my husband trying to determine if it would be too much to wear a Trump t-shirt and paint his face white.
Tickets in hand (well, in pocket), we walked up to West 25th and wandered into various stores, my husband hoping to find a Trump shirt, I hoping desperately not to. We stumbled upon a bike shop, a boutique selling pieces made by local artisans, and several restaurants. Even the Family Dollar had no t-shirts (we were directed downtown, where we had no intention of going during the short window of time before us). Then, after a quick (and tasty) Cambodian meal (at 3:30, I’m not sure what meal it really counts as) at Phnom Penh, we walked back and got in line.
I introduced Rakesh to Kate and Jason (whom he has seen before at the local coffee shop because he always seems to know everyone), and we waited.
The doors opened at 4:30. We got inside and waited some more in the lobby. Of course, this time it was air conditioned, so that helped. We were ushered inside the theater (rather efficiently, I must say), took our seats, then waited some more.
We watched a funny intro video, then waited.
Justine, the audience manager (quite funny, and managing impressively with her foot in a cast), explained how the event would go. We were not permitted to use our phones once the warm-up comedian took the stage, and once Trevor Noah got on stage, we’d get a chance to ask a few questions (she cautioned us to avoid asking creepy questions) before the show began taping. So, of course, then we tried to come up with creepy questions that we knew we wouldn’t ask. Then we waited. And waited.
Meanwhile, just over the Lorain-Carnegie bridge, the RNC continued. We had no idea what was going on over there, but our evening promised humor. I felt protected, safe from whatever was happening just over the river. Because clearly, since they hadn’t even introduced the warm-up act at 6:24pm (when they anticipated having us out of here by 7:30), something had to be happening outside our little bubble. Or, you know, the complications of filming their first show on the road.
But, finally, the show began. The warm-up comedian was engaging, and we were ready to laugh. And when Trevor Noah took the stage, the wait was long forgotten. He was engaging, funny, friendly, and generally approachable. The show began, we laughed, we cheered, we enjoyed. And before we knew it, the show was over and we were free to go. By then, it was just after 8:00 pm. (You can check it out via the Comedy Central website.)
And while this barely counts as a brush with fame, and certainly doesn’t count toward my own Andy Warhol-certified fifteen minutes of fame (you may or may not see me ten rows back in the audience in the one-second clip of the audience at the end of the video), it was fun. Sure, we were props (the “live studio audience”), but the laughter was genuine.
One fascinating part was knowing that some of Trevor Noah’s best jokes weren’t even on camera. And that made the experience that much more special.