How to get free tickets to the 'Late Show with Stephen Colbert'

Follow these simple tips to join Colbert's live studio audience

Late night host Stephen Colbert
Late night host Stephen Colbert. Getty Images

Headed to New York and want to catch Stephen Colbert? Good news. Tickets to the late night talk show are absolutely free. Bad news? They can be a little tricky to get.

But if you really want to be in ’s live studio audience, it’s definitely worth the effort.

Free tickets to the ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’

Ready to get your Late Show tickets? Here we go!

  • Visit the official Late Show with Stephen Colbert tickets home page to start. There you will find a calendar with highlighted show taping dates. Click on the date you wish to view the program to see if there are tickets to reserve.
  • Tickets available? Great! Click Join Waitlist and to request and register—you can log in to using Twitter, Google, or Facebook if you like. Be prepared to enter personal information like your name, address, age and more. Note that you can only reserve two tickets, and individuals can only attend once every six months.
  • Once registered, prepare to arrive at the Ed Sullivan Theater, 1697 Broadway, at 2 p.m. to pick up your tickets. Note that tickets are provided on a first-come, first-served basis (earlier tickets will get you closer to the stage, though there are no bad seats in the Ed Sullivan Theater, according to most).
  • Note that all shows are overbooked, so even though you have tickets, you are not guaranteed entry. This is often something first-time ticket holders don’t realize. They may be surprised if they arrive expecting easy entry and are denied.
  • Note that the person who registered for tickets must be the one to pick up tickets.
  • When you get your tickets, Late Show staff members will let you know when to return to the theater for the taping. Typically, the line grows long at that time but moves quickly into the theater.
  • When you return to the entry line, the registered ticket holder must be present for admittance into the theater. Tickets are also non-transferrable, so if you reserved the ticket, you can’t pass it on to someone else if you can’t attend. Bummer, I know.

Late Show Ticket Tips

Whether you have free Late Show tickets, or it’s just not your time, there are a few tips you should take into consideration before you check out the show.

  • Tickets typically become available at the beginning of the month for the following month. Tickets are offered in two-month chunks.
  • If you can’t get tickets, you can try to go stand-by. Standby tickets are issued one hour prior to showtime, depending on the availability. On the day of the taping, go to the Ed Sullivan Theater by 4:00 pm. It can be tricky—and it’s a longshot—but it’s something to consider.
  • You are typically only allowed to request and receive tickets once every six months. If you get tickets and can’t attend, realize that you will have to wait six months to begin the process again. Unfortunately, you cannot rebook.
  • Don’t take your cell phone, smartphone, or camera. Or keep it in your pocket if you do. Any electronic device in use may be confiscated, or you might be asked to leave the theater altogether.
  • Also, leave your backpack at home. Same goes for luggage if you were thinking of coming straight from the airport.
  • The dress code for The Late Show is Broadway casual—you might be seen on TV!
  • You can't bring food and drink into the theater, so finish whatever you bought at Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli before you get into the theater.
  • Small bags, like a purse, are allowed but are subject to search.
  • You will be asked to remain in the theater until taping ends. Show tapings typically from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • If you or someone in your party needs accessible seating, assisted listening devices or sign language services, contact the show as soon as your ticket is confirmed.
  • Oh, and make sure everyone in your party is 16 years or older and has a government-issued ID to prove it. Otherwise, they will not be admitted into the theater.