A Year of Yes, Week 15: Studio Audience

I was super excited to score a free seat to be a studio audience member for a popular tv show here in Australia. At the time of writing this I am not allowed to mention said show or details of the recording as it has yet to air. What I can tell you is I had a blast.

The recording took place on a Friday morning while my kids were at school. It was a quick 15 minute drive over to Channel 10 studios in Pyrmont. I was beaming walking over to the check in as the day was gloriously warm with the sun shining perfectly on me. The queue was pretty long for the ticket check and once there I had to provide a photo ID and check bags before being escorted inside.

After being seated a lot of arranging went on as Ewen (our fluffer) shared funny stories and made everyone feel at ease. A production woman (I can’t remember her name) spent the next 30-minutes swapping people around, tallest on the ends of the aisles and shorter folks in the centre. We were told many times that there were a lot of cameras and they had to make sure each had a clear shot of the tv personalities and the audience.

We were taught to laugh and smile properly. Never just shake your head in agreement but a toothy grin with a jolly giggle was best. We practised our new skills over and over. We learnt hand signals for the desired laugh from the director. Smaller laughs that petered off had an action similar to a fish swimming in water like you would gesture to a child. A hand going up, up, up like on a bannister meant we were supposed to laugh and then holler louder and longer. We had to yell out a yes or a no when a question was asked of us and never shake our head quietly. We recorded our group reactions until we had a few the director could use if need be. We were so well trained by the time the show started, everyone worked together like a well-oiled machine.

The show itself was fabulous. One host and four guests, all comedians who seemed to know one another off-stage. A day of bliss for me who finds laughter the best medicine. They were hilarious to watch and spent the time in between recordings chatting with the audience. Because of the way we had trained before the recording and the comfort we had with the comics, it felt as if we were one unit working together. We all had a role to play in this performance. Despite it being a casual conversation amongst the group, it all seemed a bit of a farce and very orchestrated.

There were also special guest appearances by local personalities including a popular tv physician, a pharmacist and a male stripper. The show was non-stop laughs for almost four hours that I walked away with swollen cheeks and a cramped jaw. Well worth it in the end. I’m amazed that they can chop down the four hours into a one hour show. The editors are truly gifted. I assume once they remove the enormous collection of obscenities I heard to make it fit for television airing they will be all set.

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