Saturday Night Live has been getting blockbuster ratings for the last few seasons, and the upcoming 2020-2021 season is likely to continue the streak.
If you want to be in the audience, the only way to get tickets is via lottery during the month of August – now.
NBC is offering tickets for the new season without a guarantee that there will be a studio audience, or how long the show will continue to be “virtual”.
You’ll find this disclaimer on the SNL ticket-lottery page:
“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation on a week-by-week basis in partnership with government and health experts and appreciate your understanding during this time. Please stay safe and be sure to follow us on social media for any updates!”
Even so, if you want to be in the audience – when there is an audience again – you should apply for tickets before August 31, when the lottery ends for the September-June season.
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How to enter the SNL ticket lottery:
- Send an email to email@example.com during the month of August only.
- Include a paragraph WHY you want to attend a taping..
- Include all your contact information.
- Do not request a specific date. It’s a lottery.
- One email per household is allowed.
- Winners receive two tickets for a specific show date and performance (dress rehearsal or live show).
- You will hear back only if you have won the lottery and scored tickets.
- Audience members must be over 16 years old and have a valid photo ID for admission to Studio 8H.
Standby and rehearsal tickets:
These are a great alternative if you don’t win the lottery but want to attend an SNL taping on a specific weekend when you are in New York City.
The dress rehearsal is earlier, looser, and has more sketches than the live episode, so you’ll be treated to content that may be cut from the broadcast version, or never make it to SNL’s YouTube channel as a “Cut for Time” sketch.
There is no current information on the Saturday Night Live website or the NBC website about standby or rehearsal tickets, presumably because NBC doesn’t want folks congregating in the street and possibly violating social distancing rules.
We are including these rules which have been in effect since 2016, in hopes they will be re-instituted when the Pandemic is past tense.
- You’ll likely have better luck getting a standby or rehearsal ticket.
- You can choose between the 8pm dress rehearsal and the 11:30pm live taping, though you are not guaranteed admission.
- Tickets are distributed the morning of the show at 7:30am on the 49th Street side of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
- As with standby tickets for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, also taped at the NBC studios at 30 Rock, the line typically forms well before 7:30am.
- It is one ticket per person. If you are not on line, you don’t get a ticket.
- If you leave the line for any reason you will not be permitted back into the place you left, even if a companion remains in place, so go to the bathroom before you get on line.
- Audience members must be over 16 years old and have a valid photo ID.
Having a ticket does not guarantee admission. The show “overbooks” to guarantee a full house in case of no-shows.
Tickets are numbered. The lower your number, the better your chance for admission. Anything under ticket number 75 can safely assume admission.
- On Saturdays, arrive no later than 7:15pm for the 8pm dress rehearsal and 10:45pm for the 11:30pm live show.
- Tapings are at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Note that there is no information about tickets on the Saturday Night Live website.
Even with a ticket, you could be turned away if you appear to be “under the influence”, or if you are dressed in a manner not suitable for national TV.
Good luck, and let us know if you score tickets!
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This article was posted originally in 2016, and is updated and republished annually, including for 2020