Sunday, August 19, 2007

How I Ended Up in Bill Maher's Audience!

Yeah, I know it's hard to tell, but I promise you that's me in the blue shirt. This is taken from an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO back in October 2005. How I got to be in his audience was quite interesting so I'm going to tell you the story.

I was in LA visiting and was staying with my friend Laura Silverman, who is in the red blouse next to me in the box. Laura has a good friend, Elise, who at the time had retired from CBS the month before and moved to Oregon. Elise had told Laura that she was coming back to LA for a couple of days and it would be during the time I was visiting. Sure enough, Elise called Laura to tell her she had arrived and we got together. Both Laura and Elise are real smart, sweet ladies. At the end of our visit, Elise asked if we could drop her off at CBS but because her visit was so short, she could not take the time to visit all of her friends there. She was to see only one of her many friends. So as not to offend them, she asked us to drop her off after 5 pm and through the back entrance. Sure, no problem.

On the way to the CBS building, she called her friend at CBS and told her that we were coming. Her friend told her to invite us on a tour, so we didn't just drop Elise off, we went inside and met her friend, a higher-up at CBS who will go nameless here. She gave us a VIP tour - nice! It was a lot of fun and we got to see several TV sets, including that of The Price is Right. She then asked us if we'd like to be an audience member in any of the shows that were taping that evening. I asked which shows were taping and she mentioned Bil Maher's live show was going to start at 8 pm. I'm a big Bill Maher fan so I quickly agreed, with Laura's consent, for us to be in the audience. Bill Maher is on HBO but his set is at CBS. In other words, even though his show isn't on CBS, HBO uses CBS's production facilities.

When we got to the place where people were lined up to be in the audience, I was dismayed to see how long the line was. Our kind escort laughed and said, "No, you're in that line over there." What line? Actually, we were the FIRST in the VIP line!

So we got to enter the studio first and we chose to sit in the center of the audience, on a platform that was raised above the rest of the audience. The platform could hold about 20 people I think and the whole audience maybe could hold 500. That's why Laura and I appear higher up than those people next to us.

Being on the platform in the center was cool because we were at eye level with Bill so he appeared to be talking to us most of the time during his opening monologue. Being in the audience was totally unplanned and unexpected. It just sort of happened. That's how life works sometimes!