Saturday Night Live has broadcast live from New York City since 1975. More than a late-night comedy and variety show, it’s an international phenomenon. SNL’s sketches comment on the latest in pop culture and politics, and sometimes shape the way the public sees them (your impression of the last several presidents may actually be that of an SNL cast member’s impression). Even in a new era of media fragmentation, a spot as musical guest on the show heralds a new, exciting phase in an artist’s career. And though the show broadcasts live from coast to coast, there’s plenty of reason for you to want to be there in person at 30 Rockefeller Center when it all goes down. How can you do it? Read on for details.
Getting Tickets in Advance
Saturday Night Live distributes tickets through a lottery, and they only allow entries one month out of the year. To enter, send an email to SNL Tickets during August (in advance of the upcoming season). In the email, explain why you’re a fan of the show and want to be part of the studio audience. Do not request a specific date. One email per household is allowed. Winners will each receive two tickets for a specific show date and performance (dress rehearsal or live show). You will be notified only if you are selected.
Getting Tickets on the Day of the Show
Missed out on the lottery? You still have hope. SNL distributes standby tickets (one per person) on the West 48th Street side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza at 7am on the mornings of the tapings. You can choose between the 8pm dress rehearsal and the 11:30pm live taping, though you’re not guaranteed admission. Fans generally start lining up very early—sometimes even on the Friday before the show—so only opt for the standby line if you’re ready for a test of endurance without a certain return.
Where to Go
30 Rockefeller Plaza (bet. Fifth and Sixth Aves. and W. 49th and W. 50th Sts.)
When to Get There
Arrive no later than 7:15pm for the 8pm dress rehearsal, or 10:45pm for the 11:30pm live show.
How to Get Merch
You can buy Saturday Night Live souvenirs at The Shop at NBC Studios. It’s at 30 Rockefeller Center, the same building where SNL films.
What to Do Nearby
Midtown is a busy neighborhood with tons to do, see and eat. Rockefeller Center alone has enough to keep you busy in the hours before you get in line for a taping—see our guide for details.