My 5 Moments of Clarity at Live Studio Taping of NBC’s “Whitney”! [Podcast Relaunch Preview]

UPDATE 11/20/2011

So many folks have found my blog by searching for live Whitney taping tickets!  Well.  If you’re here because of that…here it is:  That’s the link to get yourself some live show tickets to watch the taping.  The Whitney show in NBC DID get picked-up for the full season so there will be plenty more shows to put on!

And if you’ve attended the live studio taping, be sure to come back and drop me a comment to let me know what YOUR experience was like!  Let’s compare notes.

Jenny Yang

The chances for success of a new TV show are probably as low as the success rates of opening a new restaurant.  So I was curious to get my first-hand sneak peek of NBC’s new fall comedy, “Whitney.”

Thanks to upcoming podcast relaunch guest, Quan Phung, I had a chance to attend a live-taping of the fifth episode of this much-ballyhooed female-driven comedy (The eponymous star is both show creator, writer, and Executive Producer).  (And, yes. I did just put side-by-side parenthetical statements. And I just used the word “ballyhooed.” Deal with it.)

Will “Whitney” be more “I Love Lucy” or more “The Paul Reiser Show“? The show premieres this fall on September 22nd and my relaunch podcast episode with Quan Phung will drop that same week.  You can decide for yourself!

My verdict on this fifth episode?: FUNNY!

Front Row Seats at NBC's Whitney Sitcom Taping

The audience warm-up comic gave me an autographed copy of the Whitney show program. Hm. What should I do with it? (Photo Credit: Michelle Ko)

Unfortunately, I cannot share photos of me lounging on the set (boo), stealing a pint of tasty seasoned shrimp from craft services (yum) or details of the plotline (funny!).

I CAN share 5 tangentially-related moments of clarity I experienced while sitting front row on hard seats for four and a half hours of Hollywood magic.

  1. Krumping has officially jumped the shark when a skinny white girl from the audience wearing a tight white mini-dress can win a $50 gift card by krumpin’ like she’s tryin’ to snap some vertabrae.
  2. Writing clever jokes that move a story forward and reflect interesting characters all within a handful of short scenes takes some SERIOUS skill.
  3. Multi-camera comedies shot in front of a live studio audience with stories built around stand-up comedy talent can work. All hail “Seinfeld,” “Roseanne,” and “Cheers.” ‘Nuff said.
  4. Punch lines are funnier when they are more specific.  Harry Potter > Warlock.
  5. Home-viewing experiences of sitcoms could be MUCH funnier if we can recreate the audience warm-up comic and booming party jams during commercial breaks.  “RAISE YOUR GLASS!”  “TO THE WINDOW! TO THE WAAALL!!!”

Other fun tidbits: met head writer and show runner Betsy Thomas (fierce funny lady coolness), saw brooding comedy manager legend and Executive Producer Barry Katz stand a foot in front of me, and saw how multiple takes with tweaked punchlines and writing make for better laughs.

Have you experienced live studio tapings of shows before? What was that like for you? Did you learn anything about the creative process? Did it inspire you? Please share a comment with me!


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