You know that feeling when you are going for a run, and you turn the corner and are on the home stretch? Or you're reading a long novel and finally crack into the last chapter? That's kind of what it feels like in the studio right before the 9:30 open on a Friday. The mood was light and excited, since 14-and-a-half of the fifteen hours of this week's show were behind us. Lots of activity was going on to round out the week.
Roland Mesnier, White House pastry chef to five former Presidents, was getting ready for his segment. He was chatting with some of the crew, putting the finishing touches on his pastries, and letting some folks sneak a taste of some of his treats. Various crew guys were joking around. Ann, Al, and Natalie were hanging on the couch getting ready for their last segments. Ryan, our production assistant, was dropping off his last set of scripts and info to the talent for the week. Phil Rosenthal, writer of "Everybody Loves Raymond" was hanging and getting ready for his segment, prompting some sitcom chat among everyone in the studio. One of the assistants was giving a tour of the studio to some friends. There were lots of people in there, but nevertheless, the mood was undeniably Friday.
Right before the cameras were about to roll, Mark Traub, or stage manager, informed the talent that we have a "normal 9:30 open coming up." By that, he meant as opposed to chatting with a guest or doing a segment right in the open of the show, it would just be a quick intro before throwing to Al for a weather update. Al immediately quipped back: "Normal? Have we ever done a normal open?" Mark responded: "No. Therefore, the normal will be the abnormal." That pretty much sums up the mood on a Friday morning (or Friday afternoon for some of the people who have been here already for hours and hours). We're all gonna unwind, and look forward to seeing you back here on Monday.