A few months back I was lucky enough to go to a taping of the hit television sitcom Mike and Molly filmed at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA.
It all started when we were having a lazy Sunday Brunch at Cecconi’s West Hollywood. Sitting in their outdoor terrace munching on our pesto eggs and sipping coffee, when this couple sits down next to us. During the course of our brunch we strike up a casual conversation with, Steve and Jayne.
It turns out Steve and Jayne are planning a trip to Australia and surprise, they just so happened to be sitting next to two Aussies, us! We talk about the usual things, what we have been up to on our holiday in LA and share tips on the hot hotels and eateries of our respective cities. In fact, Jayne is a fellow foodie and gives us some fantastic tips on West Hollywood restaurants (more on that later).
As our conversation comes to an end and our coffee cups empty, Steve very casually leans over (he, like my wife is the more quiet type – whilst Jayne and I have been chewing each others ears off) and says “would you like to go to a taping of a show”? We look at him, a little ignorant on the lingo and he clarifies that a client of his works “in the biz” and he may be able to get us into a taping of one of his shows. He sprouts of titles liker “Two and a Half Men”, “Big Bang Theory” and “Mike and Molly”. Incredibly excited at this prospect, but playing it totally cool we politely said, “yes, please!” He assured us that he would do his best and that he would be in touch (yep, very Hollywood).
After exchanging contact details we headed off on our separate ways, secretly hoping something comes through, but realistically thinking we may not hear from Steve again.
The rest of the afternoon I ponder who it is that Steve must know and deduce that the only logical common link is the shows creator. I later learn my deduction is unsurprising correct.
The following day we were on a Hollywood private tour soaking in Hollywood sites (yep, more on this later), The Griffith Observatory and Malibu when an email hits my inbox – surprisingly it was our new and dear friend Steve. Steve had come through, bless him!
We were in luck! Mike and Molly was scheduled to tape the night before we were leaving LA. He graciously asked whether we would like the tickets, thinking because it was our last night we might say we had better things to do – oh Steve, how little you know us! Naturally we accept his invitation for the tickets.
The surprises didn’t stop there. We thought we had scored tickets to the taping, however that was not entirely correct. Turns out we had VIP seats! There is nothing like rocking up to a movie studio and telling security you are a VIP… we were given temporary passes for the Warner Bros. lot, told no photography and sent on our merry little way to find the studio unescorted! Much to our delight we nervously shuffled down the streets, trying to play it cool.
We rock up the correct studio, having walked past studios home to (Two Broke Girls, Ellen etc.) and busy carts driving around. Sadly, we didn’t see Ellen or spot any Vampire Diaries peeps out and about.
Having reached the studio we have a lady (we later find out she is the Producer’s assistant) yell out to us, spotting our VIP tags, “who are you guests of?” sheepishly I replied, “Steve”. She looks at the clip board, looks at us, “no Steve here, what are your names?” we responded. At this point we are nervous and unsure whether we declare that we are guests of the Executive Producer. We opt to downplay. Clearly not quite embracing our new Hollywood contacts – albeit indirectly.
As she scrolls through her list, huffy and clearly having a wee bit of a long day, our door guardian spies us on the magic list! We know she gets there because that cool exterior we first encounter begins to melt and we are greeted with a “oh, hmm I’m sorry. You are guests of the creator – you have the best seats in the house, follow me.” Excited we take our seats and continue to try and remain calm and not like two tourists straight off a buss from Hicksville!
The taping itself was an experience and one I would definitely love to do again. You spend the better part of four hours laughing out loud (never a hard ask for me), watching scenes and re-takes and witnessing the importance of comedic writing as well as timing. Pizza slices are on offer and water and lollies (candy) and then more lollies. Sugar is an important part of keeping an audience laughing! We also sat next to another actor, currently on a television show on the Nikelodean channel. He was keeping my wife highly entertained!
The cast were on form and having just watched a couple of Melissa McCarthy flicks on the flight to LA, we were especially psyched to see her live and in fine cometic voice. So much so I may have told her that her two latest films and her performance in each were “F#@@’n hilarious”. She took my profanity well and generally that’s probably the best way to sum up the whole adventure. So once again, Steve and Jayne – you may never read this post, but thank you again. This was a truly awesome adventure…