The Man Who Replaced Kathie Lee (For a Week!)
By Rob Shuter Posted Jul 15th 2010 05:04PM
I had the opportunity to chat with Geist this week and find out more about morning TV's newest star and why he's grateful that Kathie Lee lent him her bar stool for a week.
What's it like being on 'The Today Show'?
This week we've had champagne, margaritas and a wine tasting on the show, so mostly I'm just hungover. Hoda is a great drinking buddy. I'm grateful that Kathie Lee lent me her bar stool for a week.
How did you get your start?
In keeping with the booze theme, I drove a liquor delivery truck for six months out of college before taking a job at CNN editing sports highlights. I eventually became a producer and later, through a series of egregious clerical errors, ended up on television at MSNBC.
Does your family watch you on TV?
My show 'Way Too Early' is on MSNBC at 5:30AM, so my family members, like most people who are not clinically insane, do not watch live. That's what DVR is for. My three-year-old daughter actually screams to get me off the screen when I come on. She prefers the Wonder Pets to her own father. Sad, I know.
You are surprising tall. What else about you is a surprise?
I'm a student of rap music. I came up the hard way in suburban New Jersey. The other kids were all about Bon Jovi and The Boss, while I was rushing home to watch Big Daddy Kane on Video Music Box with DJ Ralph McDaniels. Also, I rode Secretariat to the Triple Crown in 1973. That always surprises people.
Who would you rather kiss: Hoda or KLG?
Who is your fave celeb?
Jay-Z. I went to his show recently and hyperventilated like a 10-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I've spent some time around Bradley Cooper lately and he's an all-time great dude.
Do Mika and Joe argue off camera too?
Your question implies that they argue on camera. We call it healthy political debate – debate that's followed by long, expensive therapy sessions for all three of us. We work together to move past the pain.
What is it like knowing millions of people have woken up with you this week?
It feels promiscuous. I'm gonna go have some blood work done.
You are borrowing KLG's dressing room this week. What is it like?
Surprisingly understated for a star of her stature. Kathie Lee is a woman of the people. I probably shouldn't admit this in print, but I closed the door to her dressing room, popped in one of her CDs, and tried on every one of the dresses on her wardrobe rack, one by one.
Boxers or briefs?
Long johns. Year round.
If you, Matt and Al were on 'Dancing with the Stars' who would win?
Probably Mario Lopez.
Willie Geist is the host of 'Way Too Early' (weekdays on MSNBC 5:30AM ET) and co-host of 'Morning Joe' (weekdays on MSNBC 6-9AM ET).
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