We'll Be Right Back After These Snacks: Food In 5 Talk Show Green Rooms
What is a talk show green room? It is the TV-bedecked comfy-couched middle earth between dressing room and stage. It is sometimes (but not always) actually green in color. It is the place where its inhabitants can actually tell if the person who just walked out of the room and in front of the world really is getting an extra ten pounds via the camera. It is a red velvet rope holding tank where the complimentary buffet can be of legend, both good and bad. But, intriguingly enough, it is not a place where one often has many star sightings (if the talent have any brains they might think eating a dozen mini-sliders with grilled onions right before they turn in a micro-performance in front of a live studio audience).
So who is the Wagyu beef sate (or the congealed deli meats, depending on the quality of the catering) for? It is actually to give Happy Hour sustenance to the entourage, of course; it's for the agents, the managers, the sidekicks and the publicists. And, let me tell you, they have thoughts about talk show green room food, although because they love their chilled shrimp and freebie Vitamin waters all polled insisted on remaining nameless.
Ratings: 2 1/2 stars
Details: "When you're on the show, a guy wheels around this thing to each dressing room that's called by The Jay Cart. On it, they have wine and beer and fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese and on the bottom they have potato chips. There's a spread in the green room too, but it's always empty." Agrees another poll-ee, "No one ever goes to Leno's green room -- it's kind of far away."
Rating: 3 stars -- especially if you're in the market for a sugar rush.
Details: "When they changed studios several years ago, they got a bigger green room area that is dominated by a Candy Bar. Just bowls and bowls of every kind of candy you can imagine. Red Vines, M &Ms. Everything." "I like the individual bags of chips that you can put in your purse and take home," says a green room connoisseur with a penchant for to-go nibbles. "The beverage selection is especially good."
Rating: 4 stars
Details: "This is a good one! They always have spanikoptia, lamb chops, chutneys, chicken fingers, a nice spread. They also have a full bar as well." "After Kimmel, this is my second favorite," says another who is no stranger to Lopez' green room astroturf putting green. "Quesadillas and chicken fingers! Veggie platter! Little brownies!"
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Details: "Ferguson is your best bet on this coast. Their green room is catered by The Farm and then they have an open bar," says one handler. But the show's green room, which was best described as "having the atmosphere of a lounge chatfest," is a half star away from a perfect score for an intriguing reason: "They always have wraps, chips, guacamole, hummus, pita and chicken fingers and a full bar and cookies - Snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, little brownies," explains a particularly persuasive dissenter, "but they put the spread at five o' clock. If you happen to get there late, you only have the dregs. They don't replenish."
Rating: 5 stars
Details: Ever since a fistfight broke out (or something like that) they only serve beer and wine backstage. But what they lack in top shelf liquors, they make up for in video games, a pool table, a party atmosphere and having The Grill as their eager-to-please caterers. "They constantly keep refreshing the food and every day of the week is different. They'll have chips, guac, little grilled cheeses, chicken skewers, pasta. It's a chill area where a lot of people go." "They do everything from small burgers to egg rolls to little cups of mac and cheese," rhapsodizes another green room regular. "It's hot food that is constantly coming out. It's a party in their green room. It's a whole different feeling."
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.