A Writer’s Guide to Getting Late-Night Talk Show Tickets


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is a favorite late night spot among FCLC students. (BROOKE PARRETT/THE OBSERVER)


One perk of living in New York City is the unique social experiences, like getting free tickets to tapings of renowned late-night shows such as “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and even “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Witnessing a live recording of these hit shows for many would be a dream come true, but few know just how tangible that reality is.

Getting tickets to your favorite late-night programming is much easier than many may think. Just ask Julia Britto, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20, who has seen “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” this semester. She wins her tickets through 1iota.com, the website that most shows with live audiences use to fill their studios. The website lists a variety of programs that offer tickets, ranging from late-night entertainment to morning talk shows, and even movie screenings for those in the Los Angeles and Hollywood, California areas. The website allows an account holder to enter a request for tickets, putting the individual on the waitlist. From there, one can win free tickets if their request is answered.

Britto recommends that those who truly want to go should request tickets at least two weeks in advance for a better chance at priority seating, which guarantees floor-level spots, as well as arriving earlier than the established check-in time to increase the odds of getting seats closer to the stage. “Most of all, be sure to just be nice,” Britto emphasized. “You never know who’s in charge of the seating, and many people in this industry remember those who are kind!”

Spencer Akers, FCLC ’20, is also no stranger to winning tickets to live tapings; he has seen a variety of programming, including “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “The Chew,” “Good Morning America” and “Live with Kelly.” Again, most of these tickets were acquired through 1iota, with the exception of John Oliver, who releases tickets on his own website (lastweektickets.com). Akers recommends keeping a close eye on ticket release schedules, as each show does this differently; while Fallon’s tickets come out the first week of every month for the following month, Oliver’s tickets are released promptly at 3 p.m. every Wednesday for the show in approximately two weeks. 

He also suggests setting alarms, especially for tapings that are usually more competitive like Last Week Tonight, which usually sells out within a minute of the tickets becoming available.  He also highly recommends using more than one email, or even creating a separate account just for ticket requests. “This way,” he explained, “you don’t have to worry about emails going into the Spam folder or information about shows getting lost.” Above all, Akers encourages hopeful audiences not to be afraid to enter more than one ticket request. “Many people just enter once and then get so easily discouraged. After all, ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ –Wayne Gretzky, Michael Scott, Spencer Akers.”

Those with tapings closest to Fordham University are John Oliver and Samantha Bee (CBS Broadcasting Center at 528 West 57th, between 10th and 11th) and Stephen Colbert (Ed Sullivan Theater at 1697 Broadway, between West 53rd and 54th). However, nothing is truly too far away from campus; Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon record in the Rainbow Room, which just requires a quick trip on the D train.