I went to a taping of “The Daily Show” recently. It’s too short, so I’m not sure if it’s really worth the hours of standing around and waiting. Still, it was very enjoyable, and it’s even funnier in person than on television.
The biggest thing that makes it funnier in person is the use of the green screen. Anyone who watches the show regularly is aware (or at least suspects) that the “field reporters” are never actually on location when they report “live” from somewhere; they’re standing in front of a green screen, with the background superimposed behind them. What you don’t realize, and what makes it even more amusing, is the location of the green screen on the set.
The set consists of three large screens, which often have the three words “The Daily Show” displayed on them respectively. Jon Stewart’s desk is in front of the center (“Daily”) screen. When Jon introduces Rob Corddry (who is supposedly “live” in another location), Rob immediatley walks out on stage and stands in front of the screen that says “The” on it. Rob stands there for less than two seconds before the camera switches to him, at which point the screen immediately turns green, and we see a different background behind him on the television monitors. The speed at which this happens is the first reason it’s funny.
The most humorous part, especially in person, is that the green screen isn’t on a different set. Rob is standing on the very same set as Jon. In fact, he’s only a few feet away from Jon. He’s basically standing right next to Jon’s shoulder. But Rob has to stare straight ahead into the camera, and Jon also stares straight ahead into the center camera, so from an audience perspective it looks like Rob is yelling into Jon’s ear and Jon is ignoring him.
It doesn’t sound as funny when I write about it. I guess you had to be there.
For tickets to “The Daily Show,” check the web site, or call (212) 586-2477 at 11am on a Friday to see if there are cancellations for the following week.