When I took my first trip to LA earlier this month, I absolutely adored every drop of it. In fact so much so that I would seriously consider moving there one day. I got to actually see, in person, about five of the biggest names in the industry, all for free. I ended up going to two shows, Chelsea Lately and Jimmy Kimmel Live (I got the tickets the day before the show…Kimmel was originally full, but I got lucky when someone cancelled at the last minute). These were both shows that I actually watch quite a bit, so I was stoked enough just to get to see the two stars in person, right before my very eyes. As an added bonus, I also got to see their A-list guests–Kathy Griffin on Chelsea Lately and Ryan Seacrest/Mac Miller on Jimmy Kimmel. Both shows were experiences that I’ll never forget and I want you to have these experiences as well, especially if you’ve never seen a celebrity in real life!
Chelsea..is that you?!
1. Autographs – Not only is it thrilling to see your favorite celebrity live and in person, but it’s especially cool if you go to a show where you can get your book signed. Chelsea Handler actually autographs any book of hers that is brought in. When you first arrive they collect the books and ask for your name, then they take them back to her so she can sign them. But I saw one woman actually go up to the stage and get her to do it live and in front of her, which I thought was pretty cool–either she came in late or just wanted to actually meet the gal. Yet I still didn’t see Chelsea actually say anything to this woman. Chelsea likes to get in and get out, that’s probably why she often records two shows in one day, back to back. I had the opportunity to stay later to see another show, but after waiting around for two hours just for this one to start, I wasn’t about to sit around for another one. Sorry Ms. Chelsea.
I had seen her book in the airport a few days prior to the show and thought about buying it, but decided to hold off because I figured she’d sell the signed books at her show and then I wouldn’t have to carry it around…but boy was I wrong! I asked and they said “sorry but no.” But it gives me another reason to return when she has a celebrity that I really look up to, as I was not familiar with Kathy Griffin at the time of this showing. I was telling my friends that if I was some retired old man living in LA and had nothing better to do with my days than piddle around at live tapings everyday, I’d be sure to stop by to see this Chelsea gal at least once a week! The atmosphere sure beats looking at some boring ‘ole TV screen.
With that said, I think that I actually got something far better than any piece of writing, which was a #selfie with my home dogg Chuy Bravo, Chelsea’s assistant! The picture at the top of this post shows us together. The ironic part about the picture is that I actually took it the day after the live taping! It was taken at Mel’s Drive-In, which is located practically right next door to the Jimmy Kimmel show (and it’s just a subway stop away from the Chelsea Lately studio). Chuy was eating at the first booth that you see when you come in and not a single person was crowded around him. I recognized him instantly and figured that the fact that he was not sitting in the back mean’t he didn’t mind being talked to so I chimed right in and told him I was at the Kathy Griffin live taping. He kindly smiled and said he was glad I came.
What I wished I would have told him was that I wanted to eat at his new Mexican restaurant, Chuy Bravo’s Taqueria! That would have really impressed him!
Then later in our meal I realized that I didn’t have any paper for an autograph so I went back up and asked for a picture. The man who he was eating with hesitated and said “while we’re eating?” but Chuy gladly agreed to do it. Later in the meal I looked out the window and saw him wobbling over to his Mercedes. The other guy got in the driver’s side, which makes sense because he’s probably too short to drive. What’s funny is that I had remembered seeing a little red Toyota at their studio with the license plate that said “L Nugget” and I had assumed this was Chuy’s car, but it look’s like Chuy has moved on to greater pastures. But making a reported salary of half a million dollars off Chelsea Lately alone (he also makes other appearances and owns a restaurant), I can’t blame him, I’d dump the Toyota too!
This is the second picture I took with him. My fake, overdramatic smile cracks me up every time I see this! If you look closely, you’ll notice that he’s actually frowning! Sorry, bud. I wouldn’t like it if some annoying kid bothered me while I was eating either. If you look even closer, you’ll notice that he still has his fork in his hand!
2. There’s Surprises – Chelsea started her show out by playing loud Christmas music that really got me pumped for the show itself…yet many seemed pretty disturbed by hearing songs with lyrics like “Merry Christmas Mutha Fu**er!” and various comical (yet dirty) Christmas songs. I saw older couples looking at their spouse like “what the f*ck did you take me to!” Then the pre-show guy started talking to people in the audience and finding out where they were from. One guy said his name was TJ and the guy jokingly said “wait did you say TJ or BJ, I honestly couldn’t tell?” and practically everyone in the audience bursted into laughter, well at the very least, even the grumpy old men broke out with a sharp grin.
Then I finally got to see Chelsea Handler walk on stage. After seeing her on TV all these years, it was cool to finally see her in person and I actually thought she looked a lot more attractive in person than on TV (get a spray tan each week, girl!). Her special guest that day was Kathy Griffin, which was someone who I hardly heard about, but I still got to see her round table guests, who included the beautiful Witney Cummings, who recently got her own show on E! (but it was canceled just a few months later). Chuy really looked like a star (though I honestly don’t think he’s very funny!) and they joked about how the laptop beside him had never even been used. Loved it! It was also funny to see the make-up girl come by during each break and brush his hair down and used a lint roller to go across his sweater. Chuy get’s the royal treatment.
Also interesting to see was how Whitney Cummings kept playing on her phone during breaks and sometimes even during the show. She must still regret the fact that E! cancelled her show after a few months, while Chelsea has had her show on the air for years. Also fascinating was how Chelsea didn’t laugh at any of the jokes when the camera’s weren’t shining on her, as she just had this bit*hy look like “get me the Fu*k out of here as soon as possible so I can go home to my mansion in Bel Air.” Chelsea didn’t seem all that nice in real life, as she didn’t even smile out at her fans. What a bore.
Whitney Cummings (is that her real name or her stripper name?), on the other hand, actually seemed a lot more down to earth and took a cute pic with Chuy after the show and even shook hands with the audience. Chuy threw out balls that read “Cuy’s ball’s” to the audience, which many people were about to start to fight over. Chuy grinned on and off camera and seemed like the nicest guy on and off stage. That’s a real Hollywood legend in my book.
We also got to experience a little bit of rowdiness at Jimmy Kimmel’s Mac Miller (a famous rapper) performance. As soon as the camera’s quit rolling for the TV show, Mac said “now I can can say Fu*k and sh*t and stuff.” This showed that he really was a real life person and didn’t mind expressing himself to all of his gracious fans who withered through the cold to cheer him on at this outdoor performance. Mac even stook around after the camera’s to play about 5 or 6 additional songs for his fans, just to thank them for coming (even if it was a free concert). Another true star!
3. It’s Convenient – Jimmy Kimmel Live is filmed beside the historic El Capitan Theatre, which is located on Hollywood Blvd, practically right across the street from the TLC Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s). It’s also right across the street from Kitson, which is my favorite store in all of LA (read my post on 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Kitson if you have not already). Chelsea Latley was also quite convenient, as it was just one subway stop away from the Jimmy Kimmel Show, as Chelsea is located right next door to Universal Studios (consider doing both in the same day, if time permits).
I would have gone to Universal myself if they didn’t close at 5:00 PM. What theme park closes at 5:00 in mid-December?! I guess I’m just so used to the Magic Kingdom closing at midnight that I forgot that the rest of the world doesn’t work on those crazy hours.
El Capitan, which is dubbed as “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama,” was built in 1926 and is currently owned by The Walt Disney Company and they currently show Disney films. If you look in the side windows, you’ll see ad displays advertising Disneyland and the Carls Land at California Adventure. General admission to these Disney films at the theatre are $16 for adults and $13 for children.
4. It’s Mysterious – Another of my favorite parts is the surreal feeling that you get of actually seeing the set for yourself and finding out that the cityscape background isn’t real and that your favorite show was actually shot during the afternoon. They’re both filmed on the first floor of one or two story buildings. They are also filmed during the daytime and broadcasted to the world later that night, despite the darkness of the faux city skyline in the background.
Both Jimmy Kimmel and Chelsea Lately were free of charge and seeing both A-listers for free would have been pretty cool in and of itself, but what made it even cooler were their guests. Jimmy had Mac Miller and Ryan Seacrest on for the night. Ryan talked for awhile in the studio and Mac played in the back behind the studio for a fun outdoor concert.
At Chelsea Lately, It’s also interesting to see who gets placed where. I noticed that they placed these beautiful blondes right in the front row, so all could see. Yet they placed the older men in the back row. It’s so strange to see them just randomly tell someone you’re going to the front and you’re going to the back, all based on your physical appearance.
I heard from a friend who went to Kimmel, that they managed to flirt with the hostess at the Jimmy Kimmel show to get better seats! We were actually in the very back row at Jimmy Kimmel and couldn’t see as well as we would have liked. But afterwards we got to go outside to see Mac Miller, which is a tiny “theater,” considering it’s actually a concert, so everyone had good viewing for it at least.
They also make you go through a security scanning, which seemed somewhat weird, as I don’t see anyone coming in to shoot up the place. I doubt Handler or Kimmel are going to let any questionable acts hop on to their precious stages.
5. You Get A Preshow – Upon entering Jimmy Kimmel, they start by showing you old skits of some of their best shows, on overhead TV screens.
TIP: Those going to see Chelsea Lately need to be aware of the fact that you are likely to be left waiting (for possibly hours) outside of the studio. Dress warm if it’s in the winter on a colder day. I’ll also warn you that Chelsea often starts later than the posted time, so don’t feel the need to get there too early. If you miss it, remember you can always head next door to Universal Studios! I have heard that Chelsea also tends to overbook from time to time, so that alone could be one reason to get there earlier, as nobody likes being told to go home and return on a different day. Especially on vacation.
Both shows really started out by having a pre-show with a guy who entertains everyone to get them all pumped up and giggly for the main event. They highly encourage you to make as much noise as possible, but not scream out random words, as the shows aren’t re-taped from mistakes (anyone whose ever seen Chelsea Lately already knows this, as she screws up all the time and says “whoops never mind we’ve got to go to break”)! In fact, Jimmy even went so far as to give away a gift card for a couple hundred dollars worth of free steaks to who ever was the best audience member. He ended up giving it to a girl who said she was from Oklahoma and was wearing a sparkly shirt. The pre-show guy asked her where she got her shirt and she said “H&M” and at the end he said “Ms. H&M gets the prize, as she really did laugh the entire time!” They have these pre-shows just so the real show will have tons of laughs in the background.
This is where all the magic happens.
6. It’s Free – Like I said, anyone can see these shows 100% free of charge and you can get your tickets at the links below. For future trips and for anyone with flexibility in their schedule, it would be a lot of fun to just plan a trip around the dates of a concert or a very special guest. I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute like I did. Here’s the links:
- ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live (As of the time that this post went live, it’s already sold out for the next two weeks)
- E!’s Chelsea Lately (Two shows are sold out, including one that’s three weeks away with Kendal and Kylie Jenner!)
There are many other free shows that are taped live in LA, these include the following:
- NBC’s The Voice (Taping begins in Februray)
- CBS’s Queen Latifah Show (In nearby Culver City; Sold out for the next two weeks)
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Craig who? Time to head to Wikipedia!)
- Dancing With The Stars (What a Hollywood classic; Nothing sets the trip to LA more than seeing the show where so many got their starts)
- The X Factor (Those who missed seeing Simon Cowell live and in person on American Idol can now see him on The X Factor, along with a gang of ever-changing judges and hosts)
- American Idol (Ever since the guest panel started it’s annual switch up, there’s an ever growing chance that your favorite judge will be gone next year, so you might as well see them while you can!)
- America’s Got Talent (Howard Stern fan? Well you’re in luck)
- Hell’s Kitchen (I’d rather spend 30 minutes in hell than sit through this)
- Fashion Star (No thanks)
- Price Is Right (Unless I’m going with my grandparents, no thank you)
- Hello Ross! (Who let this creep have a show!)
- Tosh.0 (Wow, it looks like filming is already booked through the end of February)
On the first day of my first trip in LA I managed to squeeze in two taping’s of some of my favorite TV shows and I’m so glad I did! For those who find themselves frequently turning on any of these shows that do live tapings in LA, or for those who happened to find their favorite celebrity being a guest on one of these shows (check ahead of time!), then this is an absolute must-see! Give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
Also be sure to also check out my 10 Tips For First-Time Visitors To L.A.
Have you ever been to a live taping? If so, what was it like? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!