How to Get Saturday Night Live Tickets for the 2016-2017 Season

Fans of Saturday Night Live and all things comedy will appreciate experiencing a live television show taping of SNL in New York City.

Listen up, August is the time to enter the SNL ticket lottery for the upcoming 2016-2017 season!

How to get Saturday Night Live tickets:

The SNL Ticket Lottery

Each August, Saturday Night Live holds a ticket lottery for the upcoming season.

Send an email with all of your contact information to during the month of August. You must be at least sixteen years old to be considered for the ticket lottery. Unfortunately, you are not able to select a certain date.

Entering the lottery does not guarantee tickets. If you are selected, you will be notified and sent two tickets for a random show in the upcoming season.

How to Get SNL Tickets on Stand By:

By AndyLindgren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By AndyLindgren (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re in New York City and want to take a chance at stand-by tickets, they are distributed on the 49th Street side of 30 Rock at 7 am on the morning of a taping.

People waiting in line for stand-by tickets are asked to stay in line at all times and are given one per person on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll need to have a current photo ID with you.

Stand-by tickets are available for both the dress rehearsal at 8 pm or the live taping at 11:30 pm.

The rehearsal is recorded to tape and is used for backup in case the live show cannot air. Guests selected for stand-by ticket clearance may choose which they’d like to attend.

The 411 on SNL:

Even if you aren’t familiar with Saturday Night Live, seeing a live taping is one of the top things to do in New York.

Since its premiere in 1975, Saturday Night Live has been one of the most popular comedy shows in the world. It has the most Emmy nominations in television history and continues to make audiences laugh with its satirical sketch comedy and hilarious take on contemporary culture.

Attending a performance is one of the best things to do in New York City for fans of comedy, TV, and pop culture.

Former cast members have included Chris Farley, David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, Sarah Silverman, Will Farrell, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

The most recent cast of SNL includes Superbad star Bill Hader, I Love You, Man star and Lonely Island singer Andy Samberg, as well as All That alum Kenan Thompson and Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig.

Should I Go to the Dress Rehearsal or the Live Show?

You may be thinking, “Why would anyone want to see the dress rehearsal and not the real show?”

Reasons to consider attending the dress rehearsal:

Many people who have gone to SNL claim that the dress rehearsal can be even better than the live show. This is due to the fact that many skits in the rehearsal do not end up making it into the live SNL show.

The dress rehearsal tends to be much more relaxed and spontaneous, making it more fun for the audience.

Plus, some of the best skits are not included in the live show, because they are deemed too inappropriate to be aired by the television executives.

Getting to the recording:

If you happen to be given standby tickets the day of the show, you’ll need to be at the studio before 7:15 pm for the dress rehearsal or before 10:45 pm for the live show.

*Keep in mind that a stand-by ticket does not guarantee admission. There have been unfortunate stories of people who have traveled a long distance only to be told at the last minute that their SNL tickets would not be honored because the celebrity host brought too many people in their entourage or that the skit that they are doing that night requires some extra space, so less seats for the audience.

Plan B: If You Can’t Get Tickets

Unfortunately, you weren’t picked for the lottery and you couldn’t get stand-by tickets. Now what?

There is still PLENTY of amazing attractions and things to do during your time in NYC.

The New York City Explorer Pass lets you visit multiple New York City attractions for one low price. Or, build your own attraction pass and save 15-25% guaranteed when you buy two or more attractions together.

If you’re hanging out in the Rockefeller Plaza area, take a tour of Rockefeller Center, go backstage at Radio City Music Hall, see the entire city in the Top of the Rock Observation Deck or stroll through the Channel Gardens.

In the winter time, you can go skating on the famous ice rink or take photos by the giant Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Steps away from Rockefeller Center, you’ll find the Museum of Modern Art, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Fifth Avenue.

There’s always plenty of things to do in New York City, especially on a Saturday night, so you’re sure to have an exciting night, no matter what.

Remember, with the New York City Explorer Pass® you can save up to 50% on combined admission to dozens of top New York City attractions.

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  1. Nathan Feldman says

    Is there a way to buy tickets on the secondary market? I know that you wrote that everyone has to show ID in order to get tickets so is that issue what prohibits the tickets being resold? I would love to get tickets for my wife’s birthday but don’t see any possibility of obtaining tickets. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Jen says

    It’s really unfortunate because I happen to love Saturday Night Live as a show but the method for obtaining tickets is absurd. As mentioned in the article, the only way to get a definite seat is to know someone. For the rest of us without connections or fame, we must go the night before or the morning of and wait online for a standby ticket. Ticket distribution starts at 7am. Two people come out with clipboards, check your ID, add your name to a list, and tell you to show up at the time listed. The tickets do say on them that admission isn’t guaranteed.

    My boyfriend and I showed up that night an hour and a half before the listed time in hopes of getting a good spot in line. Once there, the NBC workers in the shop told us to come back later because your arrival time doesn’t change your assigned spot in line. Once the lining up began, it was an unorganized mess. Even the employees described the system as “archaic” and apologized for the lack of coherency. They explained that standby tickets give you priority and then started shouting out ticket numbers in hopes of corralling the crowd into a line. NBC seems to hand out hundreds of stand by tickets..however, the tickets are only in case the “important” people do not show up. The workers even explain that standby tickets are only for the unfilled seats. It depends who of the valued audience decides to show up.

    We waited for nearly two hours, were ushered through three different areas and a metal detector, and were ultimately denied entry because the studio was filled. We were in the second group of 30, maybe 40th on line, and were still denied. That means that despite handing out hundreds of tickets, they were only able to seat 35 of the people who had received them.

    I understand that standby tickets are free, but SNL is not some morning show summer concert that people should need to camp out for. It is a weekly, long-running, multi-million dollar show. The fact that there is no way for the general public to buy tickets in advance is disgraceful. Being ushered from room to room (in incredible heat due to the crowds) like animals, while watching other groups (friends & family of writers/producers/actors) casually walk through felt a little classist if anything. It would not be that difficult for NBC or SNL to revise its system, to have a reserved/VIP section as well as a section for general tickets.

    For a show that is considered such a part of New York history, it is anything but accommodating to New Yorkers. It is clear regular people are of no real value to NBC or SNL. We are apparently secondary.

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