The 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade found a new star this year after a man dressed as a stick of butter twice interrupted host Al Roker, finding the Today show host at two points along the parade route. The butter in question was Donny Willis, a pastor from Westchester County, who was actually dressed as a walking dairy product as part of the parade — the early part of which featured performers in costume as fried eggs and sticks of butter.
Willis told Variety that he didn't set out to interrupt Roker's segments and that his run-ins with the host were by happenstance.
"I had no idea that this was going to be a thing," he said. "At all."
During Willis and Roker's first encounter, Roker attempted to evade Willis with a playful shove, telling him, "I hate to butter you up, but you’ve got to move on."
The second time around, Willis caught up to Roker, who was riding in a motorcycle sidecar, and yelled, "We’re buttering you up! Butter your turkey, butter your ham!" to which Roker deadpanned to the camera, "And that's why everybody loves clowns."
Willis, who was acting in a volunteer capacity as one of Macy's "Breakfast Clowns" in the parade, also shared a full explanation of "the #butter story" on Twitter. He wrote that when he reached Columbus Circle, someone yelled to him, and when he turned around, he saw Roker and a film crew.
The pastor added that Macy's "encouraged the clowns" to run in the streets to "incorporate a personal touch with the audience," which is how he came upon the host a second time.
"This however, put me behind with my group and I was not supposed to get behind...So I had to sprint to catch up. As I was sprinting I quickly ran up on Al Roker again," he explained. "It was not my intention to get in front of the camera again."
"I was simply the guy dressed like a stick of butter with the goal of making people who had been standing on the street since 5 a.m. smile and be happy that they came to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade," he wrote. "It was an honor to play a part in the Al Roker/Butterman encounter."
Speaking to Today on Friday, Roker said that he "had no enmity" against Willis and described the situation as "the goofiest thing."
Photo Credit: NBC / NBC Universal