So, we admit it – it was our first time to a television show taping. But when we rolled up at 1:30 p.m. for what we heard was a 4:00 p.m. taping of The Daily Show, we looked at the short line ahead of us and thought we were set.

Three hours later we had farmer tans, back sweat, and we were eating brightly colored popsicles from an enterprising young ice cream man who kept grinning as he saw us withering in line. It turns out we didn’t know the first rule of Daily Show attendance:

1.100 tickets are given to people more important than you. We scorned these “VIPs” until we realized they were senators and such. Also, the theater only holds 250 people.

Yeah, the math isn’t good. If you’re headed to a taping, we recommend getting there at least by noon. Hey, why not fake a cough – Jon Stewart was sporting one heck of a hacking one – and call in sick to work. If you can set up shop in the morning, you have a pretty good shot.

2.Bring water (and maybe a little booze)

There are some nice young ladies handing out bottles of water sponsored by Clean Coal Technology, but they hold about three ounces and you have to drink out of a bottle with a big piece of coal on the side. Kinda weird. The booze is for the point that the show’s employees start yelling at the audience line. They’re gonna keep doing that, so take a few surreptitious sips and get used to it.

3.Beach bags: Bring suntan lotion, books, and some petitions to help your bank account.

We’ve never signed so many petitions as we did in line for the Daily Show. We now realize that if we started a cause – say, “Pay for our pitchers” – we could have made bank for our night out tonight. Also, our farmers’ tans make us look like Oklahoma delegates. Go for the SPF 45. Finally, grab a book. You never know when you’ll have to hear a really awkward abortion debate when you still have three hours of waiting ahead of you. Actually, that booze might come in handy here, too.

And now, for your moment of Zen: Congrats to Linda Newell, who is running for the Colorado Senate and yelled pre-show for Jon Stewart’s endorsement. Yup, he said yes.