Almost a week after their antics went viral during the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al Roker and the “Butter Man” he was seen pushing around reunited on the Today show Wednesday. The unlikely duo had won over viewers at the annual holiday fare, and after the man in the dairy-themed costume was revealed to be Pastor Donny Willis, he stopped by the long-running morning show to open up about the experience and the impact it’s had.
“There’s been so much love and positivity that’s come out of this, and it’s been a blessing for sure.” Pastor Donny Willis aka "butter guy" is here to talk about his viral moments with @alroker at the #MacysParade pic.twitter.com/PinjUHFtv4— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 4, 2019
“The man behind the buttery face, Donny Willis, a father of three young kids and a pastor of more than 10 years, currently at Westchester Church in New York,” Savannah Guthrie introduced Willis. “He says he’s grateful his small role had a sweet impact, tweeting, ‘I was nothing more than a small part in a massive event…with the goal of making people who had been standing on the street since 5 am smile…’”
Calling the moment “a blessing” that has seen “so much love and positivity” come out of it, Willis explained that he had taken to the streets of New York City in the butter costume because he “wanted to make people smile that day.”
“I was thinking, so many people get to that street corner at 5 o’clock in the morning, they’re there, they wake up way before then, and just give them a little excitement. That’s all we were trying to do,” he said, adding that he had been inspired to join the parade following an experience he had in 2017.
“I got my kids up early, we went to the parade, praying that no one had to use the bathroom,” he joked. “You know, you see the big balloons come by, you see the singers trying to get down the street because they have to perform.”
“But there was, there was a group of clowns that were running that fence line, and I thought that personal touch is so important. That’s what I remembered,” he continued. “I don’t know who sang, I don’t remember the balloons that flew, but I remember someone saying, ‘hey, thank you all for coming to the Macy’s parade.”
Willis added that one of his biggest take aways from the moment is to “embrace big moments like a hot potato.”
“It’s like, enjoy it, enjoy the moment, butter the moment,” he quipped. “But at the end of the day, don’t hold onto to it so much that it becomes your identity, because it’s a singular moment, but it’s not that totality of your life.”
Although video of Willis chasing down Roker and being jokingly pushed by the Today co-anchor made the rounds on social media, people dubbing it a hilarious “feud,” both Willis and Roker agreed that there are no hard feelings between them.
“We’re like best friends now,” Willis revealed.
As for whether viewers can expect to see him catching up with Roker at next year’s parade, Willis said, “Twitter says I have to be!”
Photo credit: NBCU / Today Show