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Matt Lauer zings Bob Costas with classic joke about red eyes

Bob Costas returned to his position as host of NBC’s Olympic coverage in Sochi on Monday, and his eyes are looking much better. While wearing sunglasses on a cloudy day during an appearance on “The Today Show” Friday morning, Costas fell victim to a cheap joke from Matt Lauer.

Lauer appeared to be making innocent conversation when he asked Costas when he will be leaving Sochi. Costas said he is leaving Monday. And then the punchline:

“You are?” Lauer said. “Taking the redeye home?”

Now THAT is a low blow. Costas handled it like a champ and admitted he walked right into it. He took a shot at himself over the red eyes before drinking vodka on live TV toward the beginning of the Olympics, so Costas has been a good sport about it all along. Good for him.

Bob Costas pink eye glasses

H/T Jimmy Traina’s The Big Buzz 

Matt Lauer temporarily replacing Bob Costas for Olympic coverage

Bob Costas pink eye glasses

Bob Costas has temporarily accepted defeat. If you have watched any of NBC’s Olympic coverage since the start of the Sochi Games, you know that Costas has been battling a nasty case of pink eye. He made fun of himself for the infection earlier in the week, but it has gotten worse in recent days and spread to both eyes. As a result, Costas is being replaced by Matt Lauer on Tuesday.

“As a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light,” Costas said in a press release on NBC’s Olympic website. “I’m hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”

Costas has had a great sense of humor throughout the entire ordeal. He said he would continue doing the broadcast if it was simply a matter of being uncomfortable, but the infection has gotten so bad that he can barely see. He called into “The Today Show” to speak with Lauer on Tuesday morning.

“Well, even worse than when you saw me this morning, Sochi time,” Costas said when asked how he was feeling, via USA Today. “So, reluctantly, I was trying to throw a complete game here, but I think we’re going to have to go to the bullpen. I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but you’re Mariano Rivera, at least tonight.”

Costas drank vodka on television with Mary Carillo on Monday night and said his eyes can’t get any redder, but he may have been wrong. While we have poked fun at him and made poop particle jokes like everyone else, we wish Costas a speedy recovery. You hate to see anyone on the shelf with an injury.