Since the days of Greg Kinnear, I've been watching The Soup. Back then, it was Talk Soup. These days, just The Soup. That's a lot of soup. E! has had me hooked since 1991. When S asked if I wanted to attend a free taping in NYC, there was no way I was turning it down. I would've even paid to go (okay, probably not, but I can say that I would have now that I went and didn't have to).
When I turned the corner to find the building, I saw a long line, so I walked to it, thinking it had something to do with the show. Nope. Big sign out front said WENDY on it. Ah, so this is where Wendy Williams tapes. A very short line formed back down the street, so I went to that one. Very few people lingered around. Then S showed up. We were on a very short list. Ah, this was my kind of event--small where people can't knock into you.
We went into a holding room that had a kitchen in it and a television. S was slightly worried that we were there for a Soup Investigates taping that would focus on zombies. I suggested that maybe we were simply going to watch the whole thing on the small tv up front. We were both wrong. After the room filled with no more than 30 people (since I'm bad with counting, give that a leeway of 10), we sat and waited for something to happen. Then a peppy woman came in and said, Let's go watch The Soup! Some people clapped and hooted. We were instructed to go single file up the stairs. Upon leaving the room, some very tall gentleman lunged in front of us and threw out his gum in the garbage. Why he couldn't go around, I'm not sure. I was like, Thanks for that, all sarcastic, and then he turned around and was like, Sorry, and then S was like, You ruined his day. Not really. He could've walked around instead of lunging in front of a bunch of people with a wad of chewed gum.
Once we went into the taping room, we found a bunch of orange chairs set up and the guy from the door outside was telling us to have a seat, relax, and enjoy. I wish he'd meant "have a seat" as "have it, to own, take it home" because they were these fantastic orange cushy chairs that I wanted to have really badly and I knew that dragging one out and down the stairs was not going to be an option that would get me invited back. In fact, it could have gotten me arrested.
We found out that this was Rachael Ray's studio. Ohhhh, that's why there was a kitchen! We also found that the studio was maybe minus 12 degrees. Really cold.
The director guy explained to us a little about where to look when and then when and how loud to clap and laugh. The whole thing was very small, only a few people on set, one camera, and a large green screen. Then he introduced Joel McHale. Then Keith Olbermann appeared in a trench coat. Joel McHale AND a special guest. AND it wasn't zombies. AND it was FREE. This was working out swell.
Joel McHale bantered with us, said some funny things. Then Keith Olbermann said some funny things. As the banter progressed, S leaned over and asked, Do you smell gas? I was thinking the exact same thing, and was like, um yeah where is it coming from? It didn't go away and we were wondering why no one else smelled it because no one else seemed to be leaning over to each other and asking. Then JMH asked, Does anyone else smell gas? And everyone was like, Yes! He responded, Rachael Ray makes her audience huff gas! Then they went on with the show, no one really caring about the impending mass passing out that would ensue if the gas remained. Thankfully, the gas didn't remain. It came back for a short time, but then disappeared again. I'm thinking someone left a burner on somewhere in the test kitchen.
Then it was time to tape The Soup. We watched clips. He made sarcastic commentary. We laughed and clapped. The first act went pretty smoothly, re-doing only the last part. The next two acts, well, had a few more bumps, some due to the teleprompter, others due to jokes that didn't land, some due to clips that didn't translate, and then one due to the horrific content of Gigolos that probably wouldn't even make it past the censors (but we did get to watch it un-bleeped which made for a lot of cringing). Every time there was a pause, we were told to talk amongst ourselves, JMH telling us several times, It's really cold in here--discuss.
The taping ended about the time my limbs were turning frostbitten, so it was pretty good timing. Though he was running late, they told us to get up and take pictures if we wanted. S and I stood on the line, waiting. The gum-lunger took a picture and came back right down the center of the crowd, saying sorry along the way. The two people in front of us asked if I would take their picture. Sure, I said. The guy showed me which icon to press. No problem. I stood where the last person taking a picture had stood. I realized that the camera setting made them look really far away. S was like, get it closer. I was like, I don't know how. S was like, Just walk closer to them.
I'm a teacher. I'd just thought I'd remind everyone of that.
JMH was like, yes, it's the manual zoom. I took another picture and handed the phone back over to the people. Then I walked over to JMH and he said again, that manual zoom can be tricky. I answered, I don't have a smartphone so I don't know what I'm doing. Then he put his arm around me and S moved her phone around to get an angle and I was like, Oh this is great, because I pretty much thought she couldn't get us both in the picture at the same time because he's about a foot and a half taller than I am. He was like, no problem, and then bent down, which made it worse of course, and then he instructed, just take it from the torso up. S snapped a shot that got us both in the frame. I thanked him in the way that meant thank you for not only taking the picture but also for putting up with a very stupid person.
We left realizing that THAT? Was kind of Uh. MAZE. ZING!