If you are a comedy nerd, then you know how to deal with lines. There is something unique about the “Saturday Night Live” stand-by line, however, as people travel from all over the world just for the chance to see the show in person. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s return to “SNL” this past Saturday night attracted many like-minded young women who just wanted the chance to see their heroes on the stage of Studio 8H. After spending three nights sleeping on the street outside NBC together, the “SNL” line became a community (a comedy-crazed community, that is).
Here’s what it was like to camp out for Amy and Tina’s return to their home base (at least it didn’t snow):
Morning: The first few people arrive on 48th Street between 5th and 6th Ave., around 8am. They arrive with camping chairs, sleeping bags, neck pillows, umbrellas, tarps and whatever else they need to keep warm. They unpack everything, they sit and they wait. Celebrities walk in and out of the doors for “The Today Show.” Pigeons overhead in the trees poop and just miss the backpacks and chairs of the people in line.
Afternoon: More people begin to arrive. People on the sidewalk stop and ask what the line is for. The people in the line tell them it’s for “SNL,” Amy and Tina are hosting and Bruce Springsteen is the musical guest. For some reason, the people walking by get more excited when they hear the name Bruce than when they hear Amy and Tina. Pigeons continue to be a nuisance in the trees.
Evening: About 20 people are in line at this point. It begins to rain. It rains all night. People in the line pull out their tarps and umbrellas, but the security guards say tarps cannot be set up as tents, so the people have to sit in the rain with only umbrellas to keep dry. Sleeping while holding an umbrella is hard. The pigeons are around, but seem to stay away from the rain. It rains, it rains and it rains.
Morning: It stops raining for a bit. The security guards wake everybody up. Some people fall back asleep. People take turns getting up to go to the bathroom or brush their teeth in 30 Rock. Some people get breakfast at nearby restaurants and bring it back to eat in the line. Passersby continue to ask what the line is for and the line members continue to answer: “SNL.” Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bruce Springsteen, etc. The pigeons come back. They get too close for comfort.
Afternoon: It starts raining again. It pours all day. People break out the umbrellas. “SNL” cast member Taran Killam rescues the line with extra tarps. The line’s new hero came out and chatted with the line for a bit to cheer spirits that were down from the rain. After that, surprise, it continues to rain. People can’t read because their books will get wet. All there is to do is talk with neighbors and nap. Passersby continue to ask the same questions. The pigeons hide away from the rain.
Evening: It finally stops raining; the temperature drops significantly. People can sleep without holding up an umbrella. Line members chat with the security guards and hear about stories from past line experiences. Predictions start to form about what sketches and characters Tina and Amy will bring back and which famous friends will be on the show with them. The first person is offered money for her spot in the line, which she refuses. The pigeons return. Line members begin to sleep.
Morning: More than half-way done! Security guards wake everybody up. Some people fall back asleep. The usual morning routine happens: Bathroom, brush teeth, breakfast, etc. People going to work walk by and ask about the line. Some are impressed with the line members’ commitment, others think the line members are crazy. Line members have formed new friendships at this point with the people around them sharing the experience. The pigeons.
Afternoon: Line members are tired of answering the same questions over and over again, so signs are put up to answer any future questions from passersby: “SNL,” Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bruce Springsteen, in line since Wednesday morning, not crazy, thank you, goodbye. The signs work; people walking by read the signs out loud to themselves then continue walking. Line members start to choose between attending the Dress Rehearsal or the Live Show. The pigeons are back in the trees, unfortunately.
Evening: A Will Ferrell look-a-like in an “Elf” costume visits the line. Guards tell the line to move down; the line moves down to make more room for the end. NBC kindly brings out soup for the front part of the line, the people who have been there since Wednesday/Thursday. It’s the final stretch before the golden tickets come. Drunk people walk by and make comments about the line; line members laugh at them. The pigeons are still around, but less bothersome. The line is around the corner onto 6th Ave. by now.
Morning: Guards wake up line members and tell everyone to pack up their stuff and move forward at 6am. Line members wait patiently for an hour until the NBC Pages come with the tickets. At around 7am, the pages arrive and ask: Dress or Live? Once the line member has their ticket, they say goodbye to the friends they’ve made and might see later in the day for the show. They carry all their gear down the street with a smile on their face and the ticket tightly in hand.
Afternoon: Most line members go home and sleep for the afternoon, unless they are too nervous to sleep because, despite having a standby ticket, they are still not guaranteed to get into the show. At some point during the day, it’s time to get fancy and look nice for the evening show. Whether it’s for Dress or Live, the atmosphere of “SNL” calls for more dressed up attire.
Evening: Nervous line members arrive at NBC early to make sure nothing goes wrong. Pages tell you to wait in numerical order in another line. You see the friends you’ve made and hope you all get in to see the show. Finally, the line is let up the stairs and into the purgatory area. It is still not known who will get in to see the show. Once you have your “SNL” wristband on, you’re in! You can stop being nervous and start being excited! Walk quickly out of the elevator because the show is almost starting. Down the “SNL” hallway, through the doors and you’re officially in to see “SNL” and Tina and Amy in person!
READ MORE: Why Has ‘Saturday Night Live’ Writer and ‘Weekend Update’ Anchor Colin Jost Worn Only One Outfit All Season?