Before all these rumors and innuendos get out of hand, I want to set the record straight regarding me and Penelope Cruz.
In case you have not heard, both Penelope and I recently were on the Today show on exactly the same day. As I am sure you are aware, Penelope is a top female star who has been romantically linked to Tom Cruise. Before that, she was romantically linked to Matt Damon and Nicolas Cage. Penelope is just one of those female celebrities who are natural linkers. Whenever she gets into a confined space with a male celebrity -- boom, they become linked, and nothing can separate them, until another male celebrity comes within range.
So as you can imagine, the Today show created a potentially torrid situation when it booked both me and Penelope to appear on the show only minutes apart. She was there to promote her latest movie by being glamorous and charming; I was there to promote my latest book by making flatulence noises with my hands. You could have cut the sexual tension with a meat cleaver.
But let me make this very clear: Penelope and I did not experience any kind of linkage. For one thing, we are both very happy in our current relationships. For another thing, we did not, technically, meet. Yes, there was a brief, tension-charged moment when I glimpsed a dark object that I have reason to believe was the back of Penelope's head. I can't say for sure, because Penelope was surrounded by an entourage the size of my high-school graduating class. But that is all that happened. So I am calling upon the international news media to stop spreading these vicious rumors, which can only cause pain to me, and Penelope, and Tom, and their respective entourages. We have all suffered enough.
Now that I've cleared that up, you probably want to hear about the other celebrities I met that morning, and what they were like in person. Probably the biggest name was the late George Harrison of the Beatles, whose sister, Louise, was on the show. I rode in the elevator with her, in person, and although we did not speak, she seemed very nice.
Also on the show was Julia Roberts, but she had been videotaped earlier, so I can't tell you what she was like in person. I can tell you that, on the videotape, which I watched in person, she seemed to be not at all "stuck-up," and very easy for Katie Couric to talk to. In person, Katie Couric -- and you may quote me on this -- is very nice.
I personally shook hands with Al Roker, the jovial and portly NBC weatherperson. I would imagine that, at one time or another in his career, Al has shaken hands with many top celebrities including Brad Pitt, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Donald Rumsfeld and J. Lo, although none of them were there on this particular morning. Nevertheless, in person, Al was every bit as jovial and portly as you would hope.
One little celebrity "tidbit" that I can pass along -- and I know this is true, because she looked me right in the eye and told me so herself -- is that Claudia Kaneb, the wardrobe person at the Today show, who personally removed the dandruff flakes from my sport jacket, has also, in her career, worked on sport jackets belonging to Mr. Geraldo Rivera. I asked Claudia what they were like, in person, and she told me that they were -- and this is a direct quote -- "very nice jackets."
I was interviewed by Bob Costas, who was filling in for Matt Lauer, who was on vacation at an undisclosed location, which I am sure is very nice. While we were off-camera, Bob brought up a column I wrote about baseball several months ago in which I mentioned Bob's name in connection with the song "Who Let the Dogs Out," by the Baha Men. Bob stressed to me that he has nothing to do with that song. So let me state for the record: BOB COSTAS IS NOT NOW, NOR HAS HE EVER BEEN, ONE OF THE BAHA MEN. Although I am sure they are nice.
After I got off the air, I called my wife to ask her how I did on national television. My wife did not want to talk about that. All she wanted to talk about was whether I thought Penelope Cruz is as beautiful as everybody else seems to think she is. I assured her that, from what I could tell, Penelope, in person, is a woofing dog. I try to be nice, but I am not a total idiot.