Ivan's Trip Report - 10/23/99

By Ivan Alicea

It all started on Thursday, September 30th. I received a letter from the kind folks at NBC. I really had no idea what is was and was very curious to find out exactly what had been inside. To my surprise, it was a letter stating that I had two tickets to attend a "Dress Rehearsal" of "Saturday Night Live" on October 23rd. I was so excited as Sean and myself have been waiting for this for a long time. I immediately called Sean and notified him of this great news and we were in business. Well, the weeks passed by and by mid-October I was excited and ready for "SNL."

We had a situation in how we were going to get to NYC and who would we stay with for the weekend? Well, we quickly came up with the idea to take a bus to the city, and just camp out Friday night with our good friend Louis and experience the show as he has for several years. Meeting all the devoted fans who are willing to spend 15 hours of their lives in a line just hoping for a chance to get into the show.

At about 8 pm, we had arrived in the big apple. We quickly headed over to Rockefeller Plaza, and met up with Louis and some of the fans. They were waiting for the cast members as they left their late night rehearsals. Within the next 5 hours, I was able to meet cast members such as Horatio Sanz, Cheri Oteri, Chris Parnell, Tracy Morgan, and also late night talk show host Conan O'Brien. At about 1:30 am, Sean and myself went to get something to eat at a local McDonald's. To our surprise, we also ran into Pen from the "Pen and Teller" comedy group. By this time my night had been made and staying there was well worth it.

Well, at 9 am the next morning, we finally received our stand-by tickets for the live show and decided to spend the day walking around the city. We were EXTREMELY bored as we really couldn't find anything to do on our limited budget. Our feet ached from standing in line for 15 hours and we were exhausted as we didn't get any sleep. As time went along, it was about time for us to head back to NBC and get in line for the dress rehearsal. This is when we had our problem with former "SNL" star Chevy Chase. He was in the building and was just getting off the elevator....Sean and myself approached him for a picture, and he verbally lashed out at us. He was seen leaving the building with a bunch of 14 year old girls who were all over him. I'm not going to make any conclusions...you do the math. Anyways, Sean had made arrangements for us to get seats on the 8-H floor which was completely awesome.

On our way up to 8-H, we got on the floor and were told our names hadn't been on the list. This made us really angry and they sent us to the 9th floor to get crappy seats! To our surprise, our friend got us out of this mess and back onto the 8-H floor. What a place to be!!! Just the atmosphere was great. You could smell and feel the history. Amazingly, the studio was REALLY small. Don Pardo and Collin Quinn warmed up the crowd and the show was on it's way.

It was great to see Norm Macdonald on the show once again. You could tell Norm was having a blast doing the show, but the producers weren't as happy. Well at least one of them in particular. But that's a whole other story....Anyways, The show itself was strong in form and was very interesting. I enjoyed the Larry King segments, the Jeopardy sketch, and the musical acts. None of this compared to our experience after the show.

Afterwards, we had been escorted backstage and we got a tour of what went on behind the scenes. This was the coolest thing that I'd ever seen. The dressing rooms, make up, costume, props, all of it!!! right there! I even met Norm, some other cast members including Tim Meadows and Will Ferrell, and also Adam Sandler, who was visiting. All in all, we got pictures taken on the stage, backstage, with celebs, and we met some great people along the way.

We arrived back home Sunday morning around 3:30 am. At this point, we had stayed up 42 hours and were exhausted, but we still had our eyes wide open as we experienced a totally awesome thing. I encourage anyone who doesn't have anything to do one weekend and is a big "SNL" fan, to head out and try to get into the show. Experience it for all it's worth. Until next time, this is Ivan Alicea saying, "Take care of yourselves, and each other."