Willie Geist, the host of Sunday Today with Willie Geist, broadcasts his best facts to Us.
1. The first album I ever bought was LL Cool J‘s Bigger and Deffer in 1987. Twenty-eight years later, I won my episode of Lip Sync Battle against my friend Andy Cohen by singing LL’s “I Need Love” dressed as 1980s LL … as LL watched from the stage.
2. I met my wife [Christina] in Mr. Kaplan’s 6th grade homeroom class at George Washington Middle School in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
3. My mom taught me how to drive on her stick-shift Jeep CJ-7 that had no power steering and no first gear. She said, “If you can drive this, you can drive anything.” A metaphor for life.
4. During college, I was a landscaper for three summers and a pizza delivery guy using that same beat-up Jeep.
5. My 10-year-old daughter [Lucie] is a great dancer and basketball player. She was LeBron James for Halloween.
6. My 8-year-old son [George] is a great drummer and baseball player. He’s obsessed with Saturday Night Live and recites 20-year-old Will Ferrell sketches at dinner.
7. I subsist almost exclusively on Skippy’s Super Chunk Peanut Butter.
8. My great-grandfather Herbie Lewis won two Stanley Cups as the captain of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1930s. He’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
9. I was the captain of my high school football and basketball teams, but I’m not in either sport’s Hall of Fame.
10. My dad was a combat photographer in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star. My mom has been a social worker for nearly all of her adult life.
11. My brief but storied career in summer-stock theater began at age 10 when I was the only boy in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage in Annie.
12. I attended the first Wrestlemania on March 31, 1985 at Madison Square Garden. Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Mr. T, Muhammad Ali and Liberace were there.
13. My amazing wife founded two companies, including Boombox Gifts. She also writes bestselling children’s books. Did I mention she’s amazing?
14. I was playfully heckled by President George W. Bush while speaking before a group of hundreds of people last year. He didn’t like my shoes. I think he was jealous of them.
15. Dream guest Bill Murray announced on a recent visit to 30 Rock that he wanted to be on Sunday’s Today. He was my guest on our second anniversary show on April 15.
16. My wife and I both went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, a great town that figures prominently in our retirement plans.
17. I broke my tailbone at my brother-in-law’s bachelor party 7 years ago. He insisted we do a Spartan Race and I haven’t sat comfortably since.
18. If you’re not careful, I’ll eat a sleeve of frozen Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies on you real quick.
19. My wife gave me a blackjack table for my birthday. It’s where my kids learned to do addition…but only up to 21.
20. I almost cut off my index finger while unwisely opening a bottle of bourbon with a knife at Savannah Guthrie‘s house. Her husband heroically drove me to the ER — and I still have my finger.
21. My sister, Libby Wildes, and her team won a Best Documentary Oscar last year for O.J.: Made In America.
22. There was a time in my life when I could recite every word of the movie Boyz N The Hood from start to finish.
23. I’m a big Yankees fan. When I was a kid, I used to send postcards from our vacations to the team’s star Dave Winfield.
24. My pet peeve is when the table at a restaurant is wobbly. I can’t join the conversation until I’ve stuffed packets of Sweet N Low under the offending side to even it out.
25. The best part of having a platform and a voice is being able to help groups like Operation Mend, which helps severely injured military veterans get the medical care they need and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which helps people like my father suffering from Parkinson’s.
Catch Geist on Sunday Today, which airs every week on NBC at 8 a.m. EST.
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