Notes from SNL’s Stand-by Tickets Line, Part II: Spotanuity

This post starts here at Part I.

See how we're all smiling? We'd only been in line about an hour.

Next step: Prepare for this insanity.

My co-conspirator, L., and I decided that, since it wasn’t snowing or hailing, maybe we’d go earlier than 4am, probably around 2. We would watch Craig Ferguson’s monologue, then head up to 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

The E train wasn’t cooperating, but we did manage to get there at our targeted time.

The line was a reasonable length, not as reasonable as two years ago when it was sleeting, but not terrible, maybe about 50 people or so. So we did not turn around and head to a bar and then home. We got in line.

I assumed, from the tents and sleeping bags that most everyone had that there were a lot of regulars in line. There was a very nice couple in front of us, armed with camping chairs, who we found out were only there because the wife counterpart of this couple, who I will refer to as “A.,” wanted to see Hugh Laurie, who she referred to as “my television boyfriend.” Her husband, R., was being a very good sport about the whole thing; they had driven in from New Canaan.

L. and I were bundled in several layers of t-shirts, long underwear, and were wearing double gloves and winter boots. It was something like 28 degrees, but I was starting to sweat. People who were walking by kept asking us what the heck we were doing standing on a line in the middle of the night. A fair question, especially when you consider there was no guarantee that any of us would ever see the inside of the building, much less the show.

Of the four of us — the others in line were trying hard to ignore us, either reading or trying to sleep, which was becoming increasingly more difficult the louder our conversation got — I was the only one who had done this before, so I had become the designated expert. I explained what would happen with the tickets, if we didn’t expire before 7am: They ask you which show you want, dress or live. Last time, we took dress, because when we asked what number tickets they were up to, there had been fewer requests at that point for dress, and after having frozen our ninnies off for three hours, we wanted our best chance to see the show. So my advice was: ask, and take the lowest numbered tickets.

That took up about 15 minutes. 4 hours and 45 minutes to go.

At about 2:30, three very young adults were walking by and asked us what we were in line for, and we, again, explained ourselves. This following is the gist of the resulting conversation, minus the repetition and overlapping and parts I can’t remember exactly:

The kid in the pink I Heart New York sweatshirt: “You’re kidding. Hugh Laurie’s the host?”
L: “You should wait with us and get tickets, too.”
The level-headed female: “We can’t. We have to find my car.”
L: “Where did you leave it?”
The light-haired kid: “35th Street. Where can we park around here?”

The female was, rightly so, skeptical.

Mr I Heart New York: "Who’s the musical guest?”
Me: "Kanye West."

It was about this point that I Heart New York’s head exploded. He hopped the barricade and got in line behind us.

His friends were not convinced.

"We have to go back to Rhode Island. And what are we going to do with the car? And then what are we going to do in New York City all day until the show? And what if we don't get in?"

IHNY: “We have to do this! C’mon. Show a little spotanuity.”

We all looked at him.

“Spontaneity,” A. corrected him.
“What are you, my mother?”
“School teacher.”

Their story, in a nutshell:

They were showing great spotanuity, indeed, and in fact, the whole evening had been quite spotanuitous. Earlier that evening, this trio had decided, on a whim, to leave the culinary college they were attending in Providence and head to New York for dinner. They were walking around, deciding what to do next, when they happened upon the SNL stand-by tickets line. I Heart New York, whose name is Ruvin, had not only left his sick girlfriend behind to come to the city, but he claimed his mother would pull him out of school if she found out he had left Providence.

Note to Ruvin’s mom: I am making this whole thing up.

Their car was parked in the garment district, so after L. and I explained several times how to find their car and get back to 49th Street, Ruvin stayed with us, while his friend Chris and Chris’s girlfriend (who’s name neither L. nor I can remember now, to our dismay) went to get the car.

If they were proper adults, with jobs and all that, they could have put the car in a garage for the night.

Their spotanuitous action of leaving Providence resulted in Ruvin being woefully underdressed to be walking around the city in the middle of winter. Thus, the I Heart NY sheatshirt, which he no doubt bought in Times Square. He had chosen pink, he explained, because he was going to give it to a female friend of his. He was also wearing open-toed Birkenstocks, and his toes were becoming numb. We convinced him to put his gloves on his feet and stick his hands in his pockets.

Chris and his girlfriend, who I am going to call “Debra” so she has a name, returned, and parked the car in a sort-of legal spot across the street. When they finally got back to the line, the trio began to talk simultaneously. Anyone trying to sleep in line at this point had given up all hope. Somehow it came up that Chris and Ruvin were having a weight loss challenge. They were going to go skydiving in March, and there was going to be some kind of weigh-in. Chris ran to the car and returned with a scale that they had bought at the Duane Reade. To our horror, the two started taking off their clothes so they could be weighed.

We stopped Chris when he started unbuttoning his jeans.

Sorry, I do not have photo evidence of this event. You all will have to make do with this shot of Ruvin’s calf.

Ruvin's calf. If you look closely, you can see the silly gloves on his toes.

Shortly after Ruvin and Chris put their clothes back on, a tiny young woman appeared, who I will name Janice, because she had a very Joplin-esque way about her. She wasn’t wearing a coat and explained to everyone that it was because she was drunk. She spent a few moments with the trio gushing about Hugh Laurie, and then after introductions and back-story telling — she had flown in from somewhere, and I was wondering if it was just to see the show, which is never a good idea since entrance is not guaranteed — she offered up her hotel room to the trio so they could have a place to crash after we got our tickets at 7am.

A little while later a gaggle of giggly girls armed with face stickers (“Do you want to be a fairy or a princess?” Yuck!) took their places behind the culinary trio and Janice. And that was about it for the line for the next hour or so.

Four hours to go, and my toes were getting cold.

Next: Part III: No, Janice, the McDonalds on 50th Street Does Not Serve Tequila.


Anonymous,  Mon Dec 15, 12:16:00 AM EST  

OMFGLMAOROTFL.... Great Story. Ruvin and I loved it. He decided he is NEVER going to tell his mom. My girlfriend's name is Sam, but Debra works too... and its funnier.

We actually ended up parking in a garage by Broadway and 49th and paying 1000% over the price of the gloves on Ruvin's feet.

-Chris and Ruvin

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