Behind the scenes of the Today Show in Hawaii

As many of you know, the Today Show kicked off its “Great American Adventure” yesterday in visiting Hawaii, Yellowstone, Chicago, Orlando and the Jersey Shore — starting with us, of course, and working their way back east. (Note to viewers, due to the disaster in Oklahoma, the Today Show has changed travel plans and will be broadcasting live from Oklahoma City on May 21 instead of Yellowstone.)

The live broadcast was from 1 to 4 a.m. on Monday morning, and the news of the day was mixed in with pre-taped accounts of their visit here as well as live commentary and demos by Tihati Productions, Jake Shimabukuro, Daniel Anthony of Manaai poi, chef Jon Matsubara and Crystal Pancipanci. If you missed the show, you can click here to see most of the featured clips.

While the crowd had to stay on the outside of the fence, as media, we got to stay inside the production and shooting area to see what they do. Here’s a quick look at what we did behind the scenes throughout the morning:

Today Show in Hawaii

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Here was the scene on Waikiki Beach when we arrived at 11:30 p.m. People had been there since as early as 9 p.m. to get a good spot on the fence.

Bonus: I got to actually meet with the cast of the Today Show. That’s right, I talked to Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist. Here’s my interview with them, which included their favorite local foods, and a lesson in pidgin:

One of the (other) highlights of my morning was watching radio personality Slick Vic Harris teach Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie how to “Chee Huu” like a local. Click here to see my looping Vine video of the event (click the microphone button on the screen for sound, but be aware that my video is loud). Pretty good for their first try, huh? Even I can’t do a proper “Chee Huu,” and I’ve lived here all my life.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to stay up all night, but the pace was quick and it was actually a lot of fun. I was also worried that the cast might be a bunch of divas, since they are national celebs, but they were very personable and down to earth. One thing that I found to be amazing is how they were able to keep a lively conversation going with no dead spots, but as soon as someone signaled to wrap it up, they quickly, but smoothly, let the conversation end without being abrupt. It’s easy to take for granted when you’re watching it on television, but when you watch them in person — especially after doing back to back interviews — you realize what true professionals they are. I wish I had time, off camera, to find out how they do that.

Anyway, good luck to the Today Show as they make their way across the country! A hui hou.