I spoke to Gina, the producer for the segment I'm taping tomorrow, and asked that they put me on the house guest list for tonight's show. Not a problem. I showed up, and spoke to folks working outside the theater at the appointed hour. One of them said, "TRON guy!" This would prove to be the theme for the evening, for me.
I got in and sat in the seat they reserved for me, down front. Then they moved me to the upper part of the audience so my face wouldn't show on TV - which makes sense, since if it did and someone recognized me, it'd look phony. They have a guy whose job it is to keep the audience revved up. He does a great job: he had me clapping and hollering right along with everyone else. There is no laugh track, or anything else canned. What you hear on the broadcast is what happened in the studio. The guests were good, the clips were funny, everyone had a good time.
We walked out to the front of the studio where they have the musical stage set up, to hear rapper Kanye West's performance at the end of the show. As I walked past, the band called out my name. "Jay Maynard!" I was surprised, and gave them a "hey!" and a wave. After the show, I got back in and spoke briefly to the band members that were still there - and did indeed know who I was.
This was repeated over and over in the green room afterward. Writers, directors, producers, interns, and other folks all greeted me warmly as "TRON guy!" and knew who I was and what I did. Even the ones I'd never met before. More than one introduced me as a correspondent for the show. I guess it's official now. I was consistently, but very pleasantly, surprised.
I tell people that part of the reason I enjoy working with the show is that they treat me like I'm Someone Important. After tonight, I really believe that, to them, I am.
In the course of the evening, I found out that I'll be taping another segment Monday morning. It sounds like another interesting time. Dunno when it'll appear; I'll find out more later, I'm sure. We've got tapes to record both Monday and Tuesday nights.