Matt Lauer takes Jay Leno inside his Pamela Anderson costume trauma

The morning show format doesn't lend itself to going in-depth on any one topic. It's a lot of happy chit-chat and local weather. That's what the late night talk show can do -- really drill down into the subjects that most affect our lives. "Today" host Matt Lauer crossed the continent on Tuesday to join Jay Leno in his "Tonight Show" studio in Burbank to take the curious public deep inside one of the most complex issues of our day: Lauer's cross-dressing Pamela Anderson Halloween costume.

Back in October, the "Today" crew dressed up as various TV icons to celebrate Halloween. Al Roker showed up as Mr. T, Carson Daly was a police officer from "CHiPs" and Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales became Laverne and Shirley. But when Willie Geist decided to be David Hasselhoff from "Baywatch," that left only one person to be his Pamela Anderson, Lauer himself.


We saw the cringe-inducing video of the once noble newsman running in fake slow-motion across a little strip of sand in the Rockefeller Center plaza and wondered how the mighty could have fallen so low. Now, Lauer is telling tales.

Ever the hard-hitting interviewer, Leno demanded to know if the costume party had been Lauer's idea.

"Clearly not," Lauer said. "I don't have veto power, which is obvious."

Lauer revealed the hardships the Anderson incident had brought upon his family, with his children telling him, "You're making it hard at school."

He even gave the public a brief peek inside the psychological games he has played with himself to keep things together. When Leno pointed out that Lauer once said he would never dance on the air, but then he danced with former "Baywatch" star Carmen Electra to Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend," Lauer was quick to clarify, "No, Pam Anderson danced with Carmen Electra."

But when we saw the footage, there was no Pam Anderson there. Only Matt Lauer wearing fake cleavage.

Lauer then showed Leno the most difficult part of the whole experience, a flesh-colored bit of clothing designed to make a man appear more feminine. He called it the Concealer and described it as "like Spanx injected with plutonium."

What exactly did the Concealer do? As he delicately told Leno, "It puts them where you can't see them. Then when it comes off, you pray they come back."

Perhaps to put some distance between himself and the pain, Lauer brought the "Concealer" in a little plastic bag for Leno, casting it far away where the white-maned healer of Burbank could keep it safe.

Perhaps little Matt Lauer will sleep in peace now.