A few months back I just happened to be browsing Tampa Bay Online and came across an article that said Jon Stewart was coming to The Straz Center in Tampa to cover the RNC. At first I begrudgingly clicked on the link thinking the tickets would probably be too expensive and I wouldn’t be able to afford to go!
Holy crap they’re FREE!
What did I know? I’d never been to a live taping before! I quickly reserved the maximum amount of tickets I could get my hands on and then waited for my confirmation email! Just as I received the coveted confirmation email I got an idea… Ooo I should go in with another email and see if I can reserve more tickets! It seemed my timing had been lucky the first time, because when I tried to be devious and score another set of tickets the show had already sold out!
My initial thoughts about getting the tickets went a little something like this…
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I’m going to see a live taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!”
On the flip side there was a little nervousness about going, not because of the RNC or anything like that, it had more to do with the last time I’d been to The Straz Center. I had taken my family to see the Nutcracker for Christmas! Just as the show began I had a pretty big panic attack and I sat in the foyer watching the performance on a television set trying to shake my nerves!
Screw my nerves this time! I wasn’t gonna let this opportunity pass me by! I called my sisters and gave them the good news…
We’re going to see Jon Stewart girls!
Flash forward to the Friday before the show… Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on Tampa and the RNC looked to be cancelled! YAY! Oh crap! Wait… does that mean Jon Stewart would be cancelled too? Nooooooooooo! How can this happen? One of the not so great perks of living in the Sunshine State! Darn you Hurricane Isaac! I impatiently watched my email box fearing I’d receive an email telling me the show had been cancelled due to severe weather! Luckily that email never came and by Sunday Isaac was headed west and away from Tampa! YAY! We were back on!
I arrived at my sister-in-law Denise’s house around noon and after grabbing a little something to eat we were on our way to The Daily Show! On the way we talked about the recent argument with Chris Matthews and Reince Priebus in which Chris pointed out what he felt were some cheap shots during this election process. We also talked about a billboard that D had seen in Tampa that says “Obama supports Gay Marriage & Abortion. Do You? Vote Republican! Paid for by the Republican Union Pac…” which, in my opinion, is a blatant, obvious attack on women and civil rights and if you’d really like to know my answer it’s yes! Yes I do! But I digress…
We arrived at The Straz Center around 1pm and had no trouble finding parking! We walked passed a few police officers who, while extremely pleasant, were dressed like ghostbusters and I had to restrain myself from humming the theme song every time I passed them. Finally we were ushered into the line by a very nice lady who worked for The Straz, she told us not to worry as we were probably around the 150-200 mark in line!
With an hour and half till they distributed tickets we pulled out our smart phones and took to twitter and Facebook! The heat wasn’t to brutal because every now and then we’d get a decent breeze from the water. I texted my sister Karen to let her know we were there and how to find us in line and it didn’t take long for her to join us.
My nerves were starting to get a little nutty at this point so I decided to rumage through my purse to make sure I had the email and my ID ready for the check-in. What the…? where’s my ID? No, no, no… OH CRAP I’ve left my… I don’t have my ID! My sister-in-law Denise, who had done the whole live taping thing before when she saw Jimmy Fallon (so jealous) was laid back and said “ach don’t worry we’ll get in” and went back to tweeting, but panic had already set in for me! I called my husband who was an absolute saint because he drove an hour to bring me my ID and still managed to get back home to pick up our daughter from school!
With email and ID now in hand I felt much better and as the line got closer I think we got a little more excited and a little goofier!
Finally our moment of zen came and we were next in line to get our golden ticket!
I wouldn’t dare tell my husband that I didn’t need my ID after all! Huh that line lady was a pretty good guess 206!
We had about forty minutes to spare after we got our tickets so we headed off to the museum cafe, which unfortunately was closed due to an RNC function, but was happy to sell us water and a pint-sized bottle of wine for $30 plus? wtf? We put the wine back and left for under $5.
A quick bathroom break, a little air con, and we were back in the heat waiting in line to see Jon Stewart. People were cramming the front of the line and I was starting to get a little claustrophobic, but the staff was great and they were able to get people to comply and line up numerically. Before we knew it we were walking through the metal detectors and heading into the lobby area of Ferguson Hall!
My nerves decided to spike once more when we got into the hall and I had to sit down next to the window, but I was determined to push through it! I was having little arguments with myself about keeping my anxiety under control…
“I am not going to wait in line for that long just to get into the hall and have a panic attack! I’m going in that hall and I’m going to see Jon Stewart!”
At that point a lady demanded our attention gave us the rules:
Power down your cell phones, if you’re caught using your cell phone it will be confiscated till after the show!
No chewing gum!
No shouting out stupid shit to hear yourself on TV!
Use the bathroom now as you will not be able to once you’re in the hall!
WE WILL THROW YOU OUT!
We were seated in the 12th row and truth be told even if we’d been at the back there wasn’t a bad seat in the house!
We sat for about an hour while music played and the crews did stage checks!
After a little warm up Jon Stewart walked on stage the entire hall erupted with applause, whistles, and woots!
I was star struck and grinning from ear to ear!
He stood at the front of the stage and gestured for us to sit and then spent 5-10 minutes fielding questions from the audience, one of which was whether or not he’d reached out to Governor Rick Scott to attend the show? To which he replied…
“Yes, I wrote him a personal letter. Well, I cut letters out of a magazine and sent it to him. He is not coming that I’m aware of.”
Then he took his place behind his news desk and immediately began his satirical banter with “The Best F#@king News Team Ever”!
They poked fun at the RNC, humidity, Isaac being a result of gay marriage, Strip clubs and ended the segment with Samantha Bee being carried off by a “Juvenile” Palmetto bug!
The guest of the evening was Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who I’d say was brave coming to a place where the majority of the audience did not favor him!
Jon Stewart opened their dialog with…
“The people have been so kind to us, many of them saying when you leave here take us with you! You know… that sort of thing! It’s been magnificent”
It seemed to break the ice and they carried on to discuss a little bit of everything from Marco Rubio dodging a bullet by not being nominated VP to the difference between the party platforms, tax reform, stimulus money and shipping jobs overseas!
One of my favorite parts of the night… when Jon Stewart played a clip of how Republicans think that certain news networks and comedy central are “in the tank for Barrack Obama” so to speak!
To which he replied:
“Work-a-holics and the new series Brickleberry premiering Sept. 25th are in the tank for Obama?”
“I can’t b… Ohhh… (squints eyes) Colbert!”
(cuts to a picture of Stephen Colbert)
“Can’t believe this guy’s in the tank!”
I was really amazed how quick-witted Jon Stewart was throughout the show and how he easily he brought the audience back to laughter if they booed something they didn’t like!
I was glad to share the experience with my sisters and we snapped a quick picture on our way out!
We were told that our taping would air that night and while Jon Stewart doesn’t often pan the audience, I had to squee a little when I saw this watching it at home!
All in all a fantastic show, well worth the wait!