If you’ve ever wondered what the process is like to see The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, wonder no more.

Last month, I took a break to see a Broadway show in New York to celebrate my brother’s birthday.  Since we were in the area, he reserved tickets to see a taping of the Daily Show. The studio taping tickets are free.  You can reserve them online.

Entry Types

There are two types of tickets:

1. Guaranteed tickets:  Just as the name implies, these tickets go quickly and are usually not available online.

2. Wait-list tickets:  Most people fall into the “wait-list” (non guaranteed) category.  You still need to reserve tickets to be on the waitlist. Check-in starts at 5pm, though you are advised to arrive an hour early.  When we got there at 4, there was already a queue.

a sign on a wall



What are your odds if you’re on the wait-list?

There aren’t a lot of official numbers out there, so these are my guesstimates. 

  • The studio capacity is probably about ~130 seats.
  • Based on the lines, they likely released about 60-75 guaranteed tickets per taping.
  • They appeared to fill the rest of the capacity from the wait-list. During my visit, they initially moved about ~20 people from the waitlist to the guaranteed queue before 5pm.  After all guaranteed ticket-holders are checked in, they pulled from the wait-list queue again.
a hand holding a ticket

Waitlist ticket converted to a guaranteed ticket.  If only it was printed on a gold-colored paper, then I could officially call it a “golden ticket”…


Some Notes and Opening Act

You will need to go through a security screening before being allowed into the studio.  The taping generally ends between 7:30-8:30pm.  You can also take pictures of the studio from your seat, before taping begins.  There was also an opening act, an improv comedian, who came out before the taping.  I don’t know if he is part of the regular cast.  While improv isn’t easy, parts of it were quite cringe-worthy. Some examples:

  • He picked on two young adults and asked about their relations.  They said they are just friends.  He roasted them, harping on “Why just friends?” and basically joked that the guy had been “friend-zoned”.
  • He picked on a party of 3 (a couple and a mutual friend), then made the friend out to be a third wheel.
  • When asked if people came to celebrate something, he called on someone who said he was there for his birthday.  The comic asked who he came here with, and he said he was there by himself.  Short silence.  The guest then added brightly that it’s a treat for himself.  The comic was like, “oh…” but thankfully followed up with a “Happy Birthday”.  And so on…
a man speaking into a crowd

Screen capture from the show


If you’ve never been to a studio taping, it’s a fun, novelty experience.  It’s interesting to see it as part of a live audience.  That said, you also won’t be missing out on too much if you watch his show on TV.


If you had visited the studio taping of the today show with Trevor Noah, what was your experience like?