This post covers how to get free tickets to the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It’s easier than you might think. Tickets are not guaranteed, so you need to pay particular attention to their instructions. The early bird gets the worm, so be prepared to show up well before the start time, especially if you would like a seat near the stage. TIP: Be sure to check out how to get tickets to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon as well as other live tapings of shows in New York City. And for more money saving tips for your visit to NYC, read our post on tourist discount passes.
Take a look inside the Ed Sullivan Theater
After 33 years and 6,028 episodes, David Letterman retired in May 2015, and new host Stephen Colbert took over from September 2015, and he’s already proving to be a riotously popular host.
To ensure you get a seat, a good rule is to check for tickets to any of the television shows you wish to see the moment your trip is confirmed. The tickets are usually released in batches months in advance, so start checking early and then check back often.
Read on to learn all about ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ or click to discover how to obtain tickets to the other live taping of shows in New York City such as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Myers, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.
Also, consider taking our Midtown Manhattan Tour or our self-guided tour of Times Square, so we can point out the location of Stephen’s theater. Or find it yourself – it’s the Ed Sullivan Theater at 1697 Broadway.
The Late Show Show tapes every weekday at NBC Studios at the Ed Sullivan Theater, apart from holidays and over summer. Tickets are released around two months in advance, with the tickets for the following month become available at the start of the current month, and it’s a maximum of two per person. It’s possible that you will be put on the waitlist. Waitlist guests that are granted tickets will receive their confirmation anywhere from 2 weeks before the day of the show up to the day of. The video below explains the waitlist procedure.
A quick word of warning – tickets to television show tapings are very difficult to impossible to re-book if you make a mistake or your dates change, so book early, but also book correctly. You are only permitted to book tickets once every 6 months, even if you cancel. Click here to register for tickets.
Tickets are not guaranteed. Each taping is overbooked, in order to have every seat occupied. So to ensure you get a seat of your own, you need to register onsite the day of the show. Tickets are distributed starting at 2 pm and ending at 3:15 or as soon as the tickets are fully distributed. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and the show’s staff suggests getting there at least 15 minutes early. However, we suggest getting there much sooner, even an hour or two, if you don’t want to risk missing the show.
Lining Up for Entry and Security
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is recorded at The Ed Sullivan Theater at 1697 Broadway between West 53rd and West 54th Streets in Manhattan. Entry is through the big and impressive front doors of the 13-story brick building which first opened in 1927. The theater was converted into a television studio in 1950, and in 1953 became the home of The Ed Sullivan Show for the duration of its 23-year run. In the 70s and 80s, it housed gameshows and sitcoms, until David Letterman started using it for The Late Show in 1993. Among the hundreds of notable performances over the decades, one that sticks in many people’s memories is July 15, 2009, when Sir Paul McCartney returned to play the roof of the theater, more than 45 years after The Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964.
One of the most beloved personalities from the David Letterman years of the Late Show is Rupert Jee, the owner of Hello Deli, which is located just around the corner from the marquee entrance to the Ed Sullivan Theater. Stephen seemed to signal that he hasn’t forgotten about Rupert when he staged a tirade over the lack of tomato in a BLT that Stephen ordered for lunch. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this isn’t the last time that Colbert includes Hello Deli.
You can take a look inside Hello Deli with Google Street View.