After our return from Malibu the other day we headed into Studio City to watch a taping of Last Man Standing.
You can get free tickets for TV show tapings by going to tvtickets.com. Hubby went on to this site a few weeks ago and almost had tickets to The Big Bang Theory but before he was able to make the final click of the mouse they sold out. But no worries, he was able to get us tickets to Last Man Standing and we love that show as well.
The instructions that came with our tickets said to arrive no later than 5:00 p.m. There is free parking in the parkade at the CBS studios (this in an ABC show and I honestly have no idea why they tape at the CBS studios but they do). The earliest you can show up for the show is two hours prior so hubby and I pulled into the parkade at 4:00 p.m., showed our government ID to the parking attended and found a parking space, which wasn’t a problem because we were early, it might be an issue if you showed up later. Cameras and cell phones are not allowed on the soundstage so we stowed them in a locked tool box in the truck and headed off to check in. Once you check in you must go through a metal detector and submit your purses, etc. to a search just to make sure you are not trying to smuggle a camera into the taping.
We were then directed to have a seat on a row of benches outside where a staff member came along, took our tickets and gave us numbers, we were 30 and 31 out of about 100 people. We sat there for just under an hour, which went fast as we talked to the people around us. At 5:00 p.m. we followed a staff member through the CBS lot to the soundstage.
We were led up into the seats on the soundstage and this is when we realized it might not be a benefit to arrive early, at least on this set. People are seated to the far end of the bleachers first and unfortunately those seats are not in front of the most often used sets. The first two rows were reserved for special people, it looked like some were family members of the cast or crew, so we were seated in the third row in front of the set for Mike’s office at Outdoor World (which they didn’t use on the night we were there).
To our left where the sets for the kitchen and living room which are the most commonly used sets. We could still see these sets and there were TV screens right in front of us that also show what they were taping but if you came in a little later you would have been in front of those sets.
As we took in the sets the cameramen and technicians were getting ready for the start of taping and then the warm-up guy appeared. His job is to keep the crowd in the bleachers upbeat and energized and he explained that our laughter would be recorded during the tapings and used during the show, they do not used canned laughter for the shows so if we didn’t laugh it wouldn’t be a very good show. Believe me it was no problem and there was no shortage of laughter! He also told us that he would be handing out cards to the people that laughed the best and at the end of the show he would draw among those numbers for prizes. There were some good prizes to be had, an autographed Tim the Tool Man toolbox from Tim Allen’s first sitcom Home Improvement, a Last Man Standing hoodie, a coffee maker, and several gift cards from Starbucks, In-N-Out Burger, and Target. I earned two cards, one for laughing (which wasn’t hard) and one for being nice to a fellow from Australia (a long story that I won’t bore you with 🙂 ) but I didn’t win anything.
At 6:00 p.m. the producer of Last Man Standing introduced the cast, with Tim Allen getting the largest round of applause as he entered. Tim grabbed the mike and did a bit of a stand-up routine and then the taping of Season 4 Episode 19 got underway.
Each scene had obviously been rehearsed in advance and some scenes had also been taped in advance. We watched those scenes on the TV’s and our laughs were recorded for the final edit. The cast all hit their marks and got their laughs and there were even a few bloopers which got even more laughs. Out of camera site, as they were waiting for their turn to enter a scene Tim Allen and Kaitlyn Dever, who plays Eve, would make funny faces or strike a pose and it was hard not to laugh at them. After one scene ended where Tim Allen had gone into his garage to get his tool kit, he walked into the living room and proudly held up his “Binford” tool kit for the crowd to see. This tool kit came from his Home Improvement show were he always used “Binford” tools … of course that got a big laugh from the crowd!
I was surprised at how real the sets are and how the rooms flow together just like they do on the show or in a real house.
In one scene Amanda Fuller, who plays Kristen, poured herself a glass of wine. This scene was done three times and after the end of each take the wine was poured back into the bottle and a new wine glass was provided … and the red wine was actually juice that we watch them pour into the bottle before taping began.
Along with the entertainment from the warm-up guy between takes the studio even provided us with pizza and bottles of spring water.
By the time 9 p.m. rolled around, the taping was over. The cast all gathered onstage for a quick bow, waved to the audience and then disappeared backstage. We did see Kaitlyn Dever as we were walking out and I was able to tell her how funny I thought she was!
This was a very fun experience and I highly recommend that you try and attend the taping of a sitcom if you are in LA.
Note: Since I wasn’t able to take my camera with me the pictures I have posted are from the Last Man Standing Facebook page.
Until next time …