Tonight I went to my first sitcom taping. My friend and former Second City castmate Maribeth was guest starring on According to Jim this week, and kindly invited me to watch. I got there around 5:15 (we were told to be there by 5:30). The first hour or so was just people filing in, peppered occasionally by some comments by the warm-up/host comedian, Michael Burger. You would probably recognize him if you saw him; I knew him, believe it or not, from the short-lived mid-90’s talk show “Mike & Maty.” Basically his job the entire time we were there – which was over 5 hours, by the way – was to keep the audience’s energy up. Mostly this was done through very tried and true stand-up bits, but I have to admit he did a great job involving people and making them laugh. His comedy may not have appealed to me (“guys pee like this; girls pee like this”), but I have to respect him for tackling a tough job.
Fortunately, I was rescued from audienceland about halfway through when Jim Belushi himself saw me and invited me backstage to watch the rest of the show. Now, before you think this is incredibly miraculous, Jim had done 3 improv sets on the mainstage in the last couple of months I was there, so he knows who I am, and – to my delight – recognized me tonight.
Things definitely took a turn for the better at that point, as he introduced me to some cast and crew, and I met up with Maribeth who showed me around backstage. Also on this episode were SC alums Meagan Fey and Mary Gross. I got to meet Mary Gross, who is incredibly nice and soft-spoken. The big excitement backstage is that the catering guy had made blueberry cobbler. I had first heard of this cobbler when I first got backstage and was watching the taping with the writers and producers, then Maribeth took me to see the cobbler firsthand. Though I never had any, I couldn’t ignore it. Just about every crew member she introduced me to mentioned “The Cobbler.” After Maribeth introduced me to Mary Gross, she (Maribeth) had to go back to shoot another scene. Mary Gross then turned to me and said, “Molly, do you know about the cobbler?”
All in all, it was a truly interesting experience. I think it was really helpful for me to see how a show like this runs, and it put me at ease to meet some nice people. Maybe someday I will go back and have some cobbler.