Jimmy Fallon had some fresh comedic material after Today host Matt Lauer was axed from NBC, which also hosts The Tonight Show.
Fallon began his late night gig by firing a few swift punches at the veteran news anchor’s situation following a seemingly innocent opening line.
“The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree was lit tonight,” Fallon said cheerfully. “Also getting lit tonight: the HR rep over at the Today show.”
Lauer was terminated by the network after a single complaint of sexual misconduct, but NBC Chairman Andy Lack said the network had “reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.” On Thursday, the network said two more women have come forward to accuse Lauer of harassment.
“NBC has fired Matt Lauer at the Today show after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior,” Fallon continued Wednesday night. “So if you’re wondering where in the world is Matt Lauer, he’s probably at a bar with Charlie Rose.”
Fallon poked fun at Lauer’s annual “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” segment, which ran from 1998 to 2009 and featured some of the world’s more awe-inducing sights like the Great Wall of China and Cairo’s Sphinx.
Other late-night comedians also ran with the pun on Lauer’s former series. On The Late Show Wednesday, CBS’ Stephan Colbert joked that the scandal “certainly explains their old recurring segment, ‘Where in the World Are Matt Lauer’s Hands?’ “
Comedy Central’s The Daily Show tackled Lauer’s situation in a more general light, clumping him with other high-profile news affiliates who’ve been accused of similar misconduct, including CBS’ long-time morning news host Charlie Rose.
“Soon they’ll have enough guys to start their own Perv News Network!” host Trevor Noah joked.
He issued a statement Thursday morning on NBC, during which he expressed "sorrow and regret" to those he has hurt.