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EW Interviews Matt Lauer

The handsome morning anchor answers our important questions

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In which we lob probing questions at Matt Lauer, 36, the engaging, eye-catching news anchor since January of NBC News’ Today show who is known for his quick-witted ad-libs with Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel — as well as his inclusion in People‘s 1994 list of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.

If you want to grow a beard, do you need permission from ”Today”?
I should probably tell them. I’ve sometimes had what I call the criminal look — a little bit more than not shaving, but not quite a beard. I kind of like it.

What’s the worst flub you ever made?
About five months ago, Washington, D.C., had had a major snowstorm and I wanted to say, ”Joe, here in New York we say the city shuts down when we get two inches of snow.” Instead I said, ”the shity shutsh down.”

Do you get erotic mail?
If you look at a pie graph, erotic might be 5 percent. Maybe 30 percent start out — and I love this — ”I have never done this before, but…”

What did you want to be when you were 13?
A pitcher for the Yankees. My idols were Muhammad Ali and Jack Nicklaus.

What was your best nonbroadcasting job?
I worked in a men’s clothing store during summers in high school. I loved when women walked in the door and said, ”I need something for my husband.”

What’s your idea of perfect time off?
When I’m alone here [girlfriend Kristen Gesswein, 25, is a TV reporter in Waterloo, Iowa], I spend a lot of time playing golf. I like to wear the same thing two days in a row. I like to be alone, ride the tractor at my house in the country, cut the grass.

Do you watch TV?
Not much. I don’t even own a VCR. But the one show that can keep me up past my bedtime is Seinfeld. I’m a Seinfeld nut.

Is anything in ”Broadcast News” true?
We wear earpieces, but the producers don’t talk in our ears all the time. If they did, we’d pull the thing right out. If you say to me, ”My first job was great — of course, it was a weird time for me because I had just killed my grandmother,” and I respond, ”Well, what was that first job?” that’s a problem. If they’re talking in my ear, that could happen.

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