Wondering how to get SNL tickets? This guide covers all the ways to see Saturday Night Live in person with tips for standby tickets and what to write to win the SNL lottery.
There are three ways to get tickets to see Saturday Night Live in person.
- Sign up for and win the annual ticket lottery
- Wait in line for standby tickets
- Know someone at SNL 😉
Let's cover the first two because, unfortunately, I don't know anyone who works at SNL.
How to Get SNL tickets via lottery
Submit an email to the annual lottery during the month of August
- Near the end of summer, expect the Saturday Night Live team to make an announcement on their social media channels and website regarding the annual ticket lottery and submission process. The lottery typically opens in August for the entire month. Meaning you will have several weeks to send your submission and request tickets.
- SNL will share a specific email address that you will need to send your request to and they will share a specific subject line that you'll need to use. Follow their guidance exactly - I won't list what it was the year I submitted my request since it likely changes each year.
- You can only send one email per person; however, you, your friend, your boyfriend, etc. can all request tickets and, hopefully, one of you will win!
- In the body of the email, be prepared to share why you're a fan and why you'd like to attend the show and make your ticket request. I mentioned some specific skits that have been my favorite, and cast members who always make me laugh. Try to be specific in your submission about why you would like to be part of the studio audience versus just generally sharing that you love SNL.
What to expect after sending your submission
You'll receive a confirmation email after sending your email, but other than that, do not expect any updates. Unless you're one of the lucky chosen that is...
What to expect if you've won SNL lottery tickets
- You will receive an email 1-2 weeks before the show you've won tickets for. I received an email approx. 10 days before the show I was selected to attend.
- You will NOT be informed at the start of the season if you've won - just in advance of the specific Saturday show that you've won the lottery for. Therefore, you'll need to be prepared to travel last minute to NYC if you've won.
- You will receive tickets for either the dress rehearsal or the live show (both filmed on Saturday night at 30 Rockefeller Plaza). You do not get to choose which show.
- If you want to know what it's like attending Saturday Night Live, then check out my recap from 2021 when I won tickets for the Billie Eillish show.
Pros & Cons of the SNL ticket lottery
Pros: The submission process is relatively simple and low effort. All you have to do is send an email sharing about why you're a fan. And it's a fun surprise if you win. Plus, (like the other options) it's FREE to attend.
Cons: You do not get to choose which weekend you're attending. This means you may have to travel last minute and possibly booking more expensive flights and hotels. You may have to travel to NYC during the cold winter months or you may end up having a conflict that you can't miss in order to attend the show.
How to get SNL tickets via the standby line
The process for the SNL standby tickets changed in recent years and while it may seem more confusing, I think it's actually easier for fans now and will require fewer hours spent waiting in line.
What are SNL Standby Tickets?
SNL standby tickets are for the open seats still available for each show. They are not guaranteed, but SNL wants a full studio for each show and it's likely that some folks aren't going to show up for their reserved tickets. In those situations they are going to bring in fans from the standby line.
First you request a standby line reservation
Each week before the show, SNL will open an online portal where fans can request up to four standby reservations. This portal opens at 10 am each Thursday before the Saturday shows. You can choose a reservation for either the 11:30 pm live show or the 8 pm dress rehearsal.
Then you wait for a reservation number & confirmation
If your request is successful you will receive an email notifying you of your reservation number. This can take several hours to receive so you won't know immediately if you've been successful.
Next you get in line
If you were successful you'll be notified of your reservation number to join the standby line on Friday night before the show between 6 - 7 pm at the NBC Studios. You MUST be in this line by 7 pm to check-in with photo ID and everyone in your group must be present. If anyone in your group isn't present, then they forfeit their spot.
And you wait until midnight
You'll need to wait in this standby line until 12:01 am Saturday morning. You can leave the line briefly for bathroom breaks or to grab food, but do not use a "line sitter" or leave the line for too long.
Additionally, you are permitted a basic regular chair to sit on, but lounge chairs are not permitted. Neither are sleeping bags, tents, mattresses, nor alcohol.
Receive your standby card
At 12:01 am on Saturday morning you'll receive a standby card. This sadly still does not confirm that you'll be attending the show. But you're getting closer.
Return at the time listed on your standby card
Depending on whether you're attending the dress rehearsal or the live broadcast show, you'll receive a standby card with information on when to return later that Saturday (typically around 6:30 pm for dress rehearsal and 9:30 pm for the live broadcast show).
You'll line up according to your reservation number and wait again. Then, SNL staff will start to bring folks in. Even if you're brought inside you may not make it to the studio, but expect anywhere from a few dozen to over 75 folks to be brought in through security and wait in the main lobby. From here, once you're brought up through the elevator it's very likely you'll be seated for the show. Congrats!!
Pros & Cons of the SNL Standby Ticket
Pros - You can decide which show you want to attend - so if there's a celebrity host you're obsessed with you can choose to try the standby line. You can also choose between dress rehearsal and the live broadcast. The new process also means you only have to wait from 6pm - midnight the evening before the show. Previously, folks would be getting line in line even earlier and waiting until morning for the chance to get a standby card - yikes!
Cons - Still lots of waiting with no guarantee of tickets.
FAQ - Saturday Night Live Tickets
Is it worth it?
For me, ABSOLUTELY. For me, this was and still is one of the coolest experiences I've had in New York City. It's an exciting show to be in the crowd for, you get to see an amazing host and musical performance, plus, there's always the chance other celebs might pop in! The ticket lottery experience was very positive IMO, and we didn't have to spend too much time waiting in lines and everyone we interacted with was very friendly. I hope to attend again next year!
How hard is it to get SNL tickets?
As you can see above, the word hard is going to be subjective. I think SNL does a great job of making the process for tickets as clear as they can in a way that they believe is fair and safe for fans. I imagine they receive thousands upon thousands of ticket requests through their lottery each year. And if you go the standby route, you're dedicating an entire night to waiting in line in all kinds of weather. There are several hundred audience members for each show, so the chance to get one of those lucky seats isn't guaranteed.
Can you buy SNL tickets?
No. Do not believe anyone who tries to sell you tickets either!
SNL Tickets Price | Are SNL tickets free?
Yes, Saturday Night Live tickets are free. The ticket does not cost you anything, but you may possibly spend a pretty penny in travel to NYC to attend.
What to write to get SNL tickets?
In my recap of what it's like attending SNL - I share what I wrote in my email submission for the ticket lottery. I suggest being specific sharing some unique things about yourself and why you want to be in the studio audience as well as what you love about the show, noting any specific skits or cast members.
How old do you have to be to get tickets to Saturday Night Live?
You must be at least 16 years old to attend Saturday Night Live.
What should I wear to SNL?
There is no specific dress code from Saturday Night Live for guests, but use your best judgement that this is a special event. You'll want to avoid anything too casual like sweatpants or leggings - jeans are totally okay! And keep in mind that really bright and colorful clothes could be distracting so go for more muted options. It's NYC so I noticed a lot of attendees wearing black tops like nice sweaters or dress shirts along with jeans and boots or cute sneakers.
Can I bring a bag?
You may have a small bag, like a cross-body purse. Do not bring a backpack as it will not be permitted. I brought my simple Lo&Sons cross-body purse that perfectly fits my iPhone, cards and a few makeup items.
This post was all about how to get SNL tickets
I wish you the best of luck. When I attended I knew I was going to share about it and gather any of my tips and experience - even if it means I have more competition for tickets. It was an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience that I hope you get to enjoy!
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Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.