Al Roker Reveals What He Misses Most About Filming TODAY Show Pre-Pandemic

By Allison Crist Aug 03, 2020 7:23 PMTags

Al Roker's new book looks to the past, but the TODAY show weatherman has the future on his mind, too!

This is certainly the case for one of his favorite parts of TODAY—interacting with fans in the quintessential 30 Rock plaza—which he hasn't been able to do amid the coronavirus pandemic, as he explained to E!'s Justin Sylvester on Daily Pop Monday.

While Al misses seeing his coworkers, it's the fans that he hopes he's able to reunite with in the future.

"And I don't know...I don't think we'll be able to do that really, at least until there's a vaccine," Al said, describing the fans as "part of our family in a sense."

The name of his new book was even inspired by TODAY's fans!

"It's called You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success," Al told Justin. "The title is basically because, every day at the TODAY show, I'll show up—pre-pandemic obviously—go outside, shake hands, say hi to folks, and every day, somebody will say, 'Oh my gosh, you look so much better in person.'"

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He continued, "And I'm like, 'Well, thank you, I guess?' because that's not really a compliment!"

You Look So Much Better in Person recounts a number of Al's experiences on the NBC morning show, and after working there for more than 40 years, boy does he have a lot to tell (yes, his famous interaction with a stick of butter at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is included!).

However, the book also dates back to parts of Al's pre-TODAY life. At one point, as Al revealed to Justin, he was even discouraged from continuing his career as a weatherman. 

"I had a news director in Washington who liked me, but he said, 'I just don't think you're cut out to do weather. I'd rather see you do movie reviews, TV reviews, fun features,'" Al recalled.

Thankfully, Al wasn't "ready to give this up yet."

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Another challenge Al's faced over the years? Racism...on-air. 

For him, the best way to respond is often with humor because "it points out the absurdity" of racism, though some occasions and instances—like George Floyd's death—"deserve, need [and] have to have outrage, anger [and disgust]." 

"We see where we are now and hopefully we get to a better place," Al added. 

Watch the complete Daily Pop interview in the above clip. 

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.