In a recent NY Times article, Ben Sisario noted that, "In less than one square mile in Midtown, four weekday shows are taped in the afternoon: “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.” And “Saturday Night Live” broadcasts 20 new episodes each season." And they're all free, if you don't mind waiting in line.
Possibly the most coveted of tickets is to Saturday Night Live, getting tickets by request is like winning the lottery, so people often try their luck in the standby line. Sisario explains that at 7am on Saturday, numbered tickets are handed out and those standby ticket holders must come back that night to wait in line again, for a shot to get in. For those wanting to get in for Arcade Fire and Rainn Wilson this weekend, Sisario showed up at 3am to wait in line for a number, and ended up getting in (at 11:15 pm that night).
For Letterman, one must first call in and answer a trivia question in order to get a number...which will then allow you to wait in line, and for Conan there's an intricate set of directions given to those in line. Our experience, and Sisario's, in getting in to The Daily Show and Colbert Report were both quite painless, and well worth the wait.
Check out some photos of the SNL line on Flickr.