Matt Lauer must have really thick skin.
The TODAY show co-anchor will be the center of attention — and the target of insults and general humiliation — at a Friars Club celebrity roast Oct. 24. Things could get ugly: The Roastmaster is Lauer’s longtime colleague and friend Al Roker, who knows him as well as anyone.
“I fully plan to, like, bring an iPod in my sport jacket and run the headsets up to where they can’t see it into my ears so I won’t even hear half of it,” Lauer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. “But I will tell you right now: I’m not going to invite my mom or anything like that. I have a feeling it’s gonna be way over the edge for someone like that to be there.”
Lauer, 50, joked: “From what I understand, you basically go in, you pad yourself, you take medication and you sit there and you just kind of brace for the worst.”
He’s well aware of “how raunchy and filthy” a Friars Club roast can get.
“That’s the whole reason I agreed,” he said. “I figured, what the heck? Everybody in their career at least on one occasion has got to go out there and just kinda lay themselves bare. ... It’s for a great cause. They’re a wonderful organization, they’ve done great work over the years, and if you can’t poke a little fun at yourself or have others do it at your expense, then, you know, you should be in a different business.”
Lauer said Roker “knows where all the skeletons are buried.” When asked what the NBC weatherman could potentially use against him, he replied: “Are you kidding? Do you think I’m gonna give him advanced information or give him a heads-up? No way. I don’t know. I’m sure there will be a lot made over our history together. We’ve had some kind of funny ups and downs — and I’m sure those will come out — but, you know, for the most part I think it will be good-natured. Not only with Al — with everyone.”
Lauer said there will be no TV broadcast of the roast, which will be presented at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.
“Half my friends won’t come if there’s gonna be press coverage. ... For example, if you choose a high-profile friend who may happen to work in television, well, they don’t want to be quoted the next day dropping the F-bomb in the middle of a luncheon,” he said.
Come September, he’ll start coming up with retorts for Roker and other roasters (possible suspects: Meredith Vieira and Katie Couric).
“I wanna give as well as I get, and so that’s gonna take some effort,” he said.