part two—here we go! so much fun stuff happened in four days, i kind of can’t believe it.
monday | march 14th
on monday morning, the bien clan [sans madeleine] arrived in the city. i’ve seen my parents once since i got here and i haven’t seen tommy at all, so i was really ready to be reunited.
right when they got here, we headed to the iconic ed sullivan theater to see stephen colbert in action.
i love late night television. my dream is to work for a late night talk show. because i’m a millenial college student who is #hip with the times, i really only watch late night through youtube, but i watch it daily nonetheless. i like every late night host for different reasons, but in case you’re wondering [i’m sure you’re not], here is my official list.
official ranking of late night hosts [in a very particular order]
- seth meyers
- john oliver
- stephen colbert
- [tie] jimmy fallon + james corden
- conan o’brien
- jimmy kimmel
a very important side note; i hate with every diet-coke-filled fiber of my being that there are no women on this list. there are also not any people of color on my list, but larry wilmore and trevor noah are late night hosts and although i admittedly haven’t watched them much myself, they do exist, albeit in small numbers. but god damnit, where are the freakin’ women? these men are really good at their jobs—some are awesome—but i know without a doubt that us girls could do just as well.
anyways, we went to stephen colbert. the process to actually get inside the theater was an absolute nightmare—we waited in line on the street for three hours before ever getting inside. so that was frustrating. but once we finally got inside, i was super fascinated by the mechanics and logistics of it all. the cameras and the producers and just all of the people other than stephen needed to get the show on the road—it’s incredible.
the show itself was great. stephen was sick but he didn’t let that deter from his enthusiasm or his attentiveness with the audience. him and john oliver were so fun to watch; their chemistry is just pure gold. i enjoyed it all lots.
that night, i did something that i am ashamed to admit to the world. instead of going out to a movie with the fam, i stayed at the hotel alone to watch the ‘bachelor’ finale. it was honestly something that was very important to me and it’s a show that you have to watch live, or it’s not really worth it. i wasn’t about to let weeks of attentive ‘bachelor’ viewing go to waste by missing the finale and having the winner spoiled on twitter. [if anyone is wondering, i was team lauren in the beginning of the season but by the end i was hard core team jojo. so yea, i shed a tear when he sent jojo home. she’s just so cool! but i’m way psyched she’s the new bachelorette and ben and lauren will make beautiful babies so everyone wins, i guess.]
tuesday | march 15th
on tuesday morning, we were supposed to go on a tour of the 9/11 museum at 10 but being the bien’s that we are, we didn’t get there until 12.
on the day of 9/11, i was walking down the hallway at cumberland elementary and i saw my mom walking towards me. she told me that girl scouts was canceled for that afternoon. she didn’t explain the reason—i was in first grade—but the reason didn’t matter to me anyways. girl scouts was canceled and i was pissed. and that’s all i remember about that day. oh the innocence of children.
the museum itself is beautifully done and also incredibly overwhelming. the information and the artifacts and belongings of victims; it all felt a little bit strange to me. maybe it’s because it’s such a recent tragedy, maybe it’s because a situation like this shouldn’t be remembered this way? i don’t know. it wasn’t insensitive in any way, it was just an odd atmosphere and i can’t totally explain why. the memorials outside of the museum however—those are breathtaking. so simple and grand.
that night, we went to the comedy cellar. yup, you read that right, i went to the comedy cellar twice in a week. it was truly my ideal situation and i would do it every week if i could. louis didn’t make an appearance this time, but that didn’t matter. the energy of the room is always so great no matter who’s on stage. luckily for the ladies of the world, the two women comics that performed that night were undoubtedly the funniest comics. they crushed it and they are my new heroes.
wednesday | march 16th
on wednesday morning, we made our way to my future place of employment, rockefeller center, for a tour of nbc studios. my mom and madeleine and i had done this tour a few years ago, but i was still really excited about going. i mean, it’s nbc studios, the place where dreams come true.
we got to see the nightly news with lester holt studio and the snl stages. we also got to see a lot of the production studios, which was way interesting to me. bonus points to our page for being pretty because her looks caught the attention of jay pharoah who is a cast member on snl. [he plays ben carson and obama and lots of other funny characters]. it was a pretty cool moment. he was very witty and he was dressed kind of like kanye so the whole moment was solid.
wednesday night was the night i became an entirely new human.
hamilton. we saw hamilton. madeleine and her boyfriend wade came to the city for the night and we all headed to richard rodgers theater. being in line, getting our seat, getting the playbill—it’s all still kind of a blur. it was like my first 21 years had been preparing for this moment and my body + mind + spirit didn’t know if they were ready. but they didn’t really have a choice because before we knew it, the show started. [not before john kerry aka our secretary of state took a seat in front of us, with like a million secret service in tow.]
okay, okay, okay. what do i say about this? the entire experience was quite surreal. i just had to keep reminding myself what was happening, reminding myself to focus and stare at lin manuel while i could.
i have been listening to this musical for six months, nearly every day. i know the words, i know the story, i love it all. but it was so completely different seeing it on stage. seeing it as an entirety, because the music is really only one part of it. the choreography and the costumes and the little gestures and quirks that each character has created—they’re all so important. i didn’t realize how much i had been missing before i saw it on stage.
and yes, a part of me was super worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype or the fame. but it did. it really did. and when you’re watching it, it’s so not about the dozens of celebrities talking about the show or the killer grammy’s performance. it’s really about alexander hamilton and this crazy difficult + incredibly tragic + insanely impressive life that he lived. it’s about eliza and phillip and laurens and burr. the whole show celebrates this moment in history and it’s absolutely perfect.
[thank you, poppa bien, for being the greatest pops. because of you, i’m able to experience and witness things i could only dream of. i am incredibly grateful for your generosity—love you lots.]
thursday | march 17th
thursday morning, we headed to the tenement museum downtown. this museum is a little gem, my professors talk about it all the time. the tenements are these little time capsules into the early 20th century. you get to learn about the city just as it was finding its’ footing and the immigrant families who filled its’ streets. if you’re ever in new york, please take the time to go.
after the museum, we headed back up to rockefeller center to see a taping of seth meyers. if you refer to my list up top, you will notice that seth is my favorite late night host. i think he is SO underrated. he is, without a doubt, the best interviewer in the game. being a good interviewer—to me—is so much more important than having a funny game or a silly song. the guests are what the show is about, and i think so many of the hosts on tv right now are lazy with their interviewing. seth is always engaged, he is always genuine, and he never uses notecards to help him remember facts about each guest—which i think is really impressive. also, he is attractive. he’s so cute. but that’s a minor, very minor detail.
in comparing the overall experience to colbert, nbc knows what the hell they’re doing. they have a room dedicated to holding their audiences, so there’s none of that waiting outside for hours stuff. plus, we only had to arrive to seth one hour early as opposed to colbert’s three.
the night we were there, jennifer garner and thomas middleditch were seth’s guests. i’ll be honest, jennifer is not an actress i’ve been super impressed by. she’s pretty and stuff but nothing special. so sure, i was excited to see her, but it wasn’t an intense excitement. well what do you know, jennifer garner is the cutest and quirkiest thing you ever did see. she was so delightful and so funny and i just totally enjoyed her.
okay. thomas middleditch. you probably don’t know who that is, he’s not super famous, but he’s on the hbo show ‘sillicon valley’ and more importantly, he is my favorite person to watch do interviews. not lying, swear to god, when i am bummed out i youtube search ‘thomas middleditch interviews’ because they cheer me up so much. when i saw he was a guest, i was psyched out of my mind. and he didn’t disappoint.
just do yourself a favor and youtube search ‘thomas middleditch interviews’ to understand what i mean. i can’t adequately describe how freakin’ weird this dude is. he’s so weird—so so weird—but in the best way possible. he never stays on track with where the interviewer wants him to go and not even god himself could make this guy sit still in a chair. i want a mini thomas middleditch to put in my pocket, please and thank you.
well that’s all of it! i really had the greatest week with the fam. it was so wonderful to be with them, especially because we filled our week with so many crazy awesome things. thanks for reading! xo abby