Tom Cruise returns the favor to Lauer

October 24, 2008 4:49:51 PM PDT
Tom Cruise took some shots at Matt Lauer on Friday - this time for fun. But Lauer got in the last word. The actor was a surprise guest at a Friar's Club roast of the "Today" show host. He joined Martha Stewart, Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira to sling insults, proving some of TV's sunniest personalities could work blue.

Cruise said Lauer was the man "we wake up to every morning - only because we had the channel on NBC before we fell asleep."

Three years ago, Cruise had berated Lauer on a "Today" show interview for suggesting that psychiatric treatment might help some patients. It was the same year he jumped up and down on Oprah Winfrey's talk show couch, excited about falling in love with Katie Holmes.

Cruise joked that Lauer had given him some advice before his interview with Winfrey: "Go crazy. Trust me. Trust me. People will love you for it."

Couric, Lauer's former "Today" co-host, suggested Cruise was threatened by Lauer. "He wants to be the only heterosexual man in the room who everyone thinks is gay," she said.

NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, former executive producer at "Today," revealed the origin of Lauer's popular travelogue feature, "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?"

"We got that idea when I got a call from his wife one morning at 3 a.m.," he said.

His colleagues and comedians like Richard Belzer roasted Lauer for being a germophobe and having a clothes budget rivaling GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

"I always say, a lot of the outfits you see him wear on the `Today' show, they also make for men," Williams said.

The celebrity-filled dais at New York's Hilton Hotel included Aretha Franklin and Donald Trump.

Apparently Cruise didn't have time to spare, since he made for the exit shortly after his speech. That led Lauer to call after him.

"Tom, can you stay?" Lauer said. "I'll get a booster seat."