I’m Coming to Get You, Al Roker

Things to do in New York for your very first visit: Visit Central Park, ride the Staten Island Ferry and try to get face time on the Today Show.  When the hubby and I finally got the chance to visit The City that Never Sleeps we made sure that we did all three.  Getting to Central Park was very easy and quite a lovely experience and riding the ferry was a beautiful moment (the Manhattan skyline is an absolute marvel). However, getting on the Today Show was a bit of a (cold) pain in the ass.  So, yes, it kind of sucked, but we did manage to get on television.

Should you ever aspire to get on the Today Show in late November as we did, you must be prepared to a) get a good night’s sleep (which we didn’t), b) wake up at the butt-crack of dawn (which we did), c) dress in your warmest clothes (which we didn’t), d) track down a coffee shop that gets you in and out in two minutes (which we didn’t), e) walk quickly through Time’s Square to get to Rockefeller Center (which we did and depending on where you’re coming from), and f) be willing to make happy faces and gestures whenever the camera is pointed in your general direction (which we did).

High off of an exciting night of watching our first New York show (Avenue Q), the hubby and I were on the lookout for another true, only in New York, experience.  I had pretty much stopped watching the Today Show years before, but had recently heard a rumor that Kesha was going to be performing on the plaza and since we knew that we would probably never spend money to go to one of her concerts, we decided to track her down.

First, it was quite a shock to realize that Rockefeller Plaza is extremely small!  When you’re watching television and see the little people skating on the rink you need to realize that there is really only room for about twenty people (okay, maybe 25).  It’s freaking postage stamp!  The famous Christmas tree was only halfway built (talk about taking away the magic) and the flags of the United Nations fluttered in the cold morning breeze.  When we got to Studio 1A we were very disappointed to see that there was no possible way that we were going to get up close to Kesha.  That portion of the street was already jam packed with her faithful and there wasn’t anywhere else to really stand and have a good view.

We were surprised to see that the Today Show had an awful lot of security packed into one small location.  It felt like we couldn’t move three feet without seeing an officer or two.  By six o’clock (and this is in the a.m.) the place was at least halfway filled and getting more packed by the second.  Being the geniuses that we were, we did not dress in the warmest garments we had packed for our NY experience.  I figured that we were going to be doing more sightseeing later and I wouldn’t want to hold a jacket all day, and Greg, well, actually now that I take a second, I think he wore a coat.  Show off.  I started to look for groups of people to huddle around so that I wouldn’t turn into a popsicle and it started to get so uncomfortable that we decided we were going to take off.

But then show staff members (and probably at least two interns) shuffled outside to get the crowd revved up and ready to go.  They started handing out swag and I was hooked.  I was ready for my foam, whatever those things were, that they wanted us to wear on our heads.  We decided to stay a while longer and we picked a spot next to a short fence that was erected next to a very small platform and a fake Christmas tree.  We never did get the foamy things.  Damn it.

Since we were in New York City at Rockefeller Plaza just two days before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade it should not have been any surprise that the whole world would be trying to get on the Today Show.  As soon as we had laid claim to our spot, we were surrounded by dozens of girls that would be marching and performing in the parade. They had the most fun personalities and the cutest southern accents and, best of all, they kept moving closer and closer to me and kept me from catching my death of cold!  It was turning out to be a really fun and exciting experience.

But then the show started.  I could hear Matt and Al, but I couldn’t see them. Oh wait, there’s a small monitor to watch what’s going on.  What?! Is that Willie Nelson with them inside?  All nice and warm and comfy like?  Oh, now it’s a commercial.  Couldn’t really tell because from out here it feels just like the regular show.  People started screaming and I tried to get on my tippy toes (but they were just frozen blocks of ice) and I was left with the impression that Matt was outside and introducing Kesha…Oh yeah, there she goes.  I can kind of see some pink hair from here.

One hour in and I am tired and sore and I’m wondering why we’re still hanging out.  Wait, here come the interns again.  Holding blank Toyota posters and magic markers.  Would we like to write a message home?  Al Roker will be coming out soon.  Here?!  Wait.  Is that Samantha, Matt, and Al?  All of a sudden we are the center of the universe!  Trace Adkins is going to do a segment right over there!  The southern girl behind me freaks out and grabs my hands to start jumping up and down.  “He’s from my home town!” she screamed over and over.  Trace wanders over to our neck of the woods to give autographs and he meets my new best friend.  He towers over us (I swear he must have been 25 feet tall) and has a sweet conversation with the girl about that little town.  He walks away to do his interview and the girl is in full on fangirl mode.

We’re on another commercial when staff comes out and tells us we need to have our signs ready.  Al will be shooting a segment right in front of our Christmas tree in about ten minutes.  I realize that we have an actual shot at getting on television and I facebook all of my friends to make sure they are watching.  The awesome thing was that we were two hours ahead of Denver and we were able to let everyone know to turn on their sets.  And, thanks to the most amazing thing I had ever heard of at the time, Greg managed to set our DVR at home to record the show!

Al comes over to do his segment and I am at first confused by where the camera is.  Hands are pushing into my back and all of a sudden I am flush against the gate in front of the Christmas tree.  I think we are only going to be on television for a second or two and I get my sign ready to flash when the time is right.  Then Al turns to a nicely dressed man and young girl and begins his interview.  It didn’t take long to realize that we were going to be in the back-round for the entire segment.  Now it wasn’t a matter of looking like a loon for just a couple of seconds, but maintaining that demeanor for all of two minutes!  Funnily enough, it wasn’t difficult at all.  I kept looking at the girl next to me and smiling.  I kept looking to the camera and smiling.  I tried to hold my sign up so that people could read it.  I smiled, smiled and smiled.  I didn’t really think about what was going on with Greg (I had my own moment to think about) but I guess he kind of got in a little pushing match with a mature lady in a bright red coat.  I think he liked the experience overall, but she was just a little too grabby for his taste.  The segment ended and the energy that had been pulsing on our side of the street slowly dissipated and went flat.

We decided we had enough of the Today Show for one day and we beat a quick exit out of there.  We hugged and high fived and chatted with people at home that had seen us on television and then decided to move on.  We were definitely having a wonderful whirlwind trip and we wanted to keep going, so we headed north to FAO Schwarz (after a much needed stop at Starbucks, of course).  It wasn’t until we got home Thanksgiving evening that we remembered that we had the whole Today Show experience recorded and waiting for us to watch to our heart’s content.  Almost three years later, it’s still the oldest (and aside from various episodes of Glee) the most watched recording on our DVR.

© DRB 2015

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14 Comments

  1. That is super cool! What did your sign say?

    Like

    1. Hello to Colorado! First Trip 2 NY! I think I said hi to my son, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Whoa you are famous! I lived just outside of NYC for 2 years and was also stunned by the smallness of the rink. I’ve seen Elf! It looks huge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is also pretty amazing how windy it gets between the buildings. It’s crazy!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm?

    Sounds like a great memory! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a great day! That was just the first two hours. I could barely walk when it was all over!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DoesItEvenMatterWhoIAm?

        That’s awesome! Not the being unable to walk part lol.

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  4. What an amazing experience that must have been!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to admit that I watch the video a little more than I should. I wanted to share it with my blog but NBC doesn’t archive old videos anymore!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! I would watch the video hundreds of tines too if I was on the Today show. Too bad, it must have been a great video!

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  5. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thumbup

    Surprised about the skating rink! Always had though room enough for 100 people,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 100 is probably right –if you’re not planning on doing any spins or speed skating. I just remember thinking it was going to be this huge place, but it was so small! Television, big surprise, is a liar!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

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