2008 NBC ‘roast’ proves execs knew the truth about Matt Lauer

BY JILL CUENI-COHEN / DECEMBER 6, 2017 /

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NBC executives who swear they had no idea morning anchor Matt Lauer was a serial sex fiend are shown to be lying after a top-secret “roast” of Lauer–that took place in October 2008–surfaced in news reports this week.

According to Fox News, “The notorious event — now legendary in New York media circles — pushed the outer limits of sexist, racist, homophobic and obscene jokes — and left little doubt that Lauer’s colleagues knew NBC’s biggest star had a troubled marriage and a wandering eye.”

CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, then the chairman of NBC Universal, spoke at the event. Now, he’s seen as a liar after vehemently denying last week that he knew about Lauer’s in-office sexcapades.

“It’s just good to see Matt up here and not under my desk,” Zucker said back in 2008 at the event. “I don’t want to say Matt is a germaphobe, but he’s the only guy I know who uses Purell both before and after he masturbates.”

Zucker also alluded to Lauer’s marital problems.

“Matt was having some trouble at home with the wife,” he said. “He was sleeping on Bryant Gumbel’s couch.”

Last week, NBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said he attended the roast but left early because he felt uncomfortable. According to Scarborough, Lauer’s lewd behavior was not only known, it was celebrated.

“The whole theme was that he does the show and then he has sex with people, with employees,” Scarborough said. “So, was this whispered behind closed doors? No. It was shouted from the mountaintops and everybody laughed about it.”

The 2008 Friars Club roast took place at the New York Hilton and was attended by everyone, including future President Donald Trump, TV legend Norman Lear, Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Nancy O’Dell and Howard Stern, according to the Fox News report.

Of course, the event was also attended by numerous top executives from throughout the industry, and almost everyone who was anyone at NBC News. Fox News has confirmed many details of the roast with a media executive who attended and has also drawn on one contemporaneous account of the roast, which appeared in The Village Voice.

Speaker Martha Stewart joked, “I hear NBC executives call Matt the ‘Cock of the Rock,’” according to the Voice.

Former “Today” co-host Meredith Vieira was especially crude during the roast, joking about Lauer and Roker having anal sex during the Turin Olympics. Katie Couric went on to read a David Letterman-style Top 10 list of facts about Lauer. “No. 10 — According to his wife, he’s not really an early riser, if you know what I mean,” she quipped.

“No. 2 — He loves to eat Curry,” she said as Curry, who was seated in the audience, went pale and the crowd roared with laughter. “What? Indian food! What’s wrong with you people?”

After NBC News fired Lauer last week for inappropriate sexual behavior, NBC News’ bosses Andy Lack and his deputy, Noah Oppenheim, claimed they had no prior knowledge of Lauer’s conduct. They’ve even appointed an  outside, independent investigator to look into who knew what about Lauer’s behavior and vowed to punish those who kept quiet “in the most severe way possible.” Their denials are now laughable.