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Matt Lauer on 'Royal Pains' Cameo, Becoming a Trending Topic (Video)

It's a great opportunity to poke fun at yourself," the "Today" show host tells THR of his guest spot on the USA show. "But my whole DNA is about live TV."

Matt Lauer
Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Matt Lauer

Matt Lauer got to explore his range as a performer with last night’s guest stint on USA’s Royal Pains. But the Today host has no plans to quit his day job.

“It’s a wonderful change of pace,” he said. “And it’s a great opportunity to simply poke fun at yourself. But my whole DNA is about live TV. So doing things that are taped is really difficult.”

In the cameo, Lauer, playing himself, is buttonholed in the supermarket by Paulo Costanzo’s Dr. Evan Lawson, who erroneously believes that he’s been booked to appear on Today.

Lauer tells him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. “There are no doctors on the show this week, he says. “This is baby animal week. Al got the polar bears. I got turtles.”

“My entire part of that show last night probably lasted a minute,” he added, explaining that he did about ten takes for the scene.

“But it takes hours. They do a lot of different takes. And they do it from different angles. And then they want close-ups. And then they want reaction shots. And then the guy’s got a little idea on the script; well what if you deliver a line this way? Now they were great, but that’s very unusual for me. You deliver a line once, you say it right or close [to] right and it’s done.”

Lauer says he does get a number of requests to play himself and has done appearances on a handful of projects including Land of the Lost, The Beaver and 30 Rock – along with his NBC News colleague Brian Williams.

Told that he was burning up the internet after his appearance on Royal Pains, Lauer quipped: “I’m glad to know that I can host the Today show for 16 years and not be a trending topic. And all the sudden I’m on Royal Pains and I’m a trending topic. There’s something a little strange about that.”