Hoda Kotb still loves Love, Actually and sings Alicia Keys every night
Hoda Kotb has a lot on her plate. She co-anchors the Today show every morning and co-hosts Today With Jenna and Hoda every... late morning. She also just released her fifth nonfiction book, This Just Speaks to Me. But, between all that, she manages to find the time to keep up with her favorite TV shows, books, and more. She spoke to EW to fill us in on the most memorable pop culture in her life.
My favorite book as a child
I think it was probably the Curious George books. My parents weren't big readers — nowadays we sit around and read to our kids, but I have zero memories of my parents doing that, the way some people have those really carved-out memories. I also loved the Nancy Drew books as I grew older.
A book that made me want to be a writer
There's a book that I loved so much, I used to carry it around with me everywhere. It was called Living, Loving and Learning, by this guy Leo Buscaglia, who's written several beautiful books. It just spoke to me in a way that no other book did. In college, I was a pledge trainer and I would force that book on my pledges — they were like, um, I thought we'd go out drinking but okay I'll read that book. In the book, he talked about pain and it inspired me in so many ways. I liked books that healed and I wanted to be a healer.
A movie that I watch over and over again
I know everyone says this, but I don't care. I feel like it was mine first [laughs]. Whenever Love, Actually is on, I will watch it. I don't care if it's on the last frame, if TBS is playing it for 30 more seconds. Also, Sweet Home Alabama. For some reason, whenever I watch that it puts me in a good mood.
A classic novel I've never read
Maybe I'm just old, but I don't remember anything I read in school. I don't think I've read Pride and Prejudice — I saw the movie, though. I went through a phase in my life where I was like, you know I'm going to go back and try to finish all the books that I only used CliffsNotes for in college, but I think that project fell by the wayside.
The last thing I watched that made me laugh out loud
Probably Schitt's Creek. I've always loved it, but after it won all those Emmys I wanted to go back and do a little rewatch. The relationship between the father and the son just makes me crack up.
The last thing I watched that made me cry
It's not a movie or TV show, but this morning I saw a YouTube video that featured mothers of children with Down Syndrome, set to "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. I literally watched it this morning and was just weeping.
The first album I bought
It's gotta be James Taylor. It was Sweet Baby James, I think. I also loved Gordon Lightfoot. I would sit in my room with a 45 — I remember waking up at two in the morning and playing Rainy Day People while drawing cartoons and thinking: I'm an artist. Because that's what artists did, they got up in the middle of the night. My dad walked in, like, what are you doing? I'm like, I'm being creative, Dad.
The song or album that always makes me feel better
If I want to go down memory lane I'll listen to anything by John Denver. If I want to pump up, it's Alicia Keys. She makes me have all the feels. I sing her to my girls before they go to bed — I don't know all the words, though.
A TV show I only pretended to watch
I did watch Downton Abbey for a while, but then I got out of it and pretended to keep watching it. I don't even know why, because it's really good.
Something I had to watch in secret as a kid
My parents were super strict. I had to sneak to watch Love Boat and Fantasy Island — I felt really cool if I could pull that off. All the kids were watching it, but my parents were tough.
My favorite fictional newscaster
It's gotta be Will Ferrell in Anchorman. He's hilarious. That's another movie I could watch one million times.