Al Roker may have undergone prostate cancer surgery just a few weeks ago, but he certainly didn’t let that dampen his spirits on Thursday as he filmed outside in the Today plaza for the first time since March – a momentous occasion that left him screaming for joy.
The 66-year-old, who underwent a five-hour procedure to remove his prostate on November 9, left his Today co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb in fits of laughter as he ran around the space outside of the studio, yelling out: ‘It feels so good!’
He then proceeded to press himself up against the glass window of Studio 1A where the delighted anchors were seated, unable to contain his excitement.
Happy as can be! Al Roker could not contain his excitement as he filmed from the Today show plaza for the first time since March 13
‘It feels so good!’ The 66-year-old was literally shouting with joy as he marched around the outdoor space, which is adjacent to the Today studio
Hello! At one point he banged on the window to the studio to say hello to co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, leaving them in stitches
‘I gotta tell you, the last time I was on this plaza was March 13,’ he said, while running up to the window of the studio.
Savannah, 48, then encouraged Al to yell out his signature catchphrase – ‘My people!’ – which he did with gusto, despite the fact that the normally-crowded plaza was almost entirely empty amid the ongoing pandemic.
But the lack of live audience certainly didn’t seem to have an impact on Al’s enthusiasm, and he joyfully marched around the plaza with his arms outstretched as if it was filled with thousands of people.
‘You get the idea! You’re my people,’ he shouted through to Hoda, 56, and Savannah, leaving them in fits of laughter.
Footage of Al’s one-man plaza parade sparked an outpouring of praise on Twitter, with users hailing the Today star a ‘national treasure’ while voicing their upset that the plaza remains closed to viewers.
‘You are a national treasure! Thanks for the laugh this morning!’ one viewer wrote, while another added: ‘Love, love, love this! Thank you @alroker!’
A third person said: ‘Dang… Really missed being on the plaza this year. Hope to be back soon!’
There he goes! Al took himself and viewers on a walk around the plaza, yelling out in excitement as he strolled around
Frosty: The Today host was bundled up warm in the chilly weather
Entertained: Savannah, 48, and Hoda, 56, couldn’t stop laughing at Al’s antics
It has been a busy 24 hours for Al, who joined his Today co-hosts for the official Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting on Wednesday evening – another typically-packed event that was closed to the public this year as a result of COVID-19.
Still, Al managed to keep his festive spirits high, grinning happily in several images that were snapped by his co-stars.
The exciting events come less than one month after Al underwent surgery to treat his ‘aggressive’ prostate cancer, which he revealed to the public just days earlier.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success and Al made a triumphant return to Today just two weeks after he was admitted to the hospital.
Al made his first appearance in NBC’s Studio 1A alongside his delighted co-hosts, who were quick to express their joy at how quickly he made it back to the show.
‘We’re all together!’ Savannah exclaimed at the top of the November 23 show. ‘We can be happy because our Al has returned to Studio 1A just two weeks… it was just two weeks ago today that you had surgery for prostate cancer. And look at you now.’
Festivity! On Wednesday night, Al joined Hoda, Savannah, and Craig Melvin for the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting
Holiday fun: The ceremony was closed to the public this year in light of the ongoing pandemic, however the Today hosts were on-site to film the event
Tada! They all posed up for photos together before the tree was officially lit
Sharing an update on his condition, Roker revealed that he is ‘feeling good’, before praising his doctors, his wife and children, and his colleagues for their unwavering support before and after his procedure.
‘Well I tell you, I have great surgeons, Dr. Vincent Laudone at the Josie Robertson Surgical Center there at MKC [Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center], I had a lot of love from my family, from [his wife] Deborah, and [his children] Nick and Leila and Courtney,’ he said, before going on to thank the Today viewers for their kind thoughts.
‘And a lot of you, and all of you here just really took care of me.’
Ever the joker, Roker was quick to make light of his recovery, telling his co-hosts that he was just happy to have his catheter removed, one week after the surgery.
‘I feel good, I really do. Let me tell you, after the first week and you get that catheter out, suddenly life is feeling good!’ he said.
Roker also stunned his fellow Today stars by revealing that, as part of his recovery process, he has to do kegel exercises – which traditionally are done by women in order to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, particularly after giving birth.
However, men who have undergone prostate surgery are also encouraged to do kegel work in order to prevent incontinence before and after the procedure.
He’s back! Al returned to the Today show on November 23, exactly two weeks after he underwent surgery for ‘aggressive’ prostate cancer
‘Blessed’: The weatherman said he is ‘feeling good’ while praising his doctors for taking such good care of him
Celebration: ‘We can be happy because our Al has returned to Studio 1A just two weeks… it was just two weeks ago today that you had surgery for prostate cancer,’ Savannah Guthrie said
‘I’m feeling good, I’ve been trying to exercise, and now I’ve got something that I share with Deborah and all of you ladies who have children… I’m kegel-ing right now!’ Roker joked – leaving several of his co-stars open-mouthed in surprise.
Al went on to explain that he will now undergo blood tests every six months for the next five years, with the first appointment currently scheduled for January.
‘The first week of January, I’m going to have blood work and hopefully my PSA has dropped considerably. And for the next five years, I’ll get tested every six months,’ he explained.
Roker admitted that the process has been difficult for his family at times – particularly his daughter, Leila, 22, who is based in Paris and wasn’t able to get home to be with her father because of the pandemic.
Support: The NBC star heaped praise on his wife Deborah (pictured), who he said has been ‘the greatest’ throughout his treatment and recovery
Right-hand man: He also thanked his children – daughters Courtney and Leila, and son Nick (pictured) – for their help and love throughout the process
‘Nick  was really concerned, as was Leila [who is] stuck in Paris, so she was upset she couldn’t come. And Courtney  has been fantastic and my boy has been taking care of me, and of course Deborah has been the greatest,’ he said.
‘I am a blessed man,’ he continued, before joking: ‘Usually you are dead when you get all of this love!’
Roker’s return to the studio comes on week after he gave viewers an update on his prostate cancer battle from home, happily sharing that he appears to be cancer-free after a successful surgery to remove his prostate as well as surrounding tissue and lymph nodes.
The Today weather anchor underwent the five-hour surgery performed by Dr. Vincent Laudone at New York City‘s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on November 9, three days after he publicly announced his prostate cancer diagnosis.
‘Walking around, the number of people who have just given me a thumbs up and said, “Way to go, hope you’re doing well,” has meant all the world to me,’ Roker told his co-stars Savannah and Hoda on last Tuesday morning’s show.
The host received a pathology report on Monday that found there is no evidence of cancer in his body outside of his prostate, which he had surgically removed.
Roker was with his wife Deborah Roberts, 60, and son Nick, 18, when he heard the good news, though he noted he’s ‘not out of the woods.’
‘It was this great relief,’ he said. ‘For a first start, this is terrific news. I’m going to be up for — and a lot of people who live with cancer — up for lifelong testing to make sure this doesn’t come back.’
Not only was the surgery a success, but he also recovered quickly. The weather forecaster was up and doing laps around the hospital hallways just hours after the procedure, according to Today.
Three days later, he was back to enjoying his five-mile walks through Central Park — not matter what the weather. He took to Instagram over the weekend to share a video of himself walking in the rain while urging his followers to get tested.
‘I feel good,’ Roker said. ‘The technology has gotten so good — they did it with a robot — that I felt much better after the surgery than I did with any of my joint replacements.
‘I didn’t feel like I had major surgery, but I’ve got this swelling around my stomach, so clothes don’t fit quite right right now. I’m very vain, so right now I feel like the Michelin Man.’
Roker was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine physical revealed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is a screening tool for early detection.
A biopsy confirmed he had a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, but, fortunately, it was caught early enough to be removed during surgery.
‘The prognosis at this point in time based on how the surgery went and based on his pathology report, everything looks very favorable,’ Dr. Laudone said on the show. ‘We would say that Al has no evidence of any cancer, but we’ll continue to monitor him for several years.’
Recovery: The weather forecaster, pictured when he had his shoulder replaced in August, said he feels ‘much better’ after the surgery than he did with his joint replacements
Expert opinion: Dr. Vincent Laudone, who performed Roker’s surgery, said ‘everything looks very favorable’ for the weather anchor
He explained on the show that he went public with his prostate cancer battle to raise awareness for the disease, which one in nine men will be diagnosed with.
The odds are even higher for African American men, who are 50 per cent more likely to develop the disease in their lifetime and twice as likely to die from it.
Getting out there: Roker was photographed walking through Central Park on Sunday. He is expected to return to the Today show next Monday
Roker stressed that men over 40 — especially African American men — should get tested regularly.
The Today star has received an outpouring of love from his colleagues, friends, and fans since his diagnosis, which he said he is incredibly grateful for.
‘Al, did you realize how many people loved you, man?’ Kotb asked.
‘I truly didn’t. You don’t hear about this until you’re dead,’ Roker joked.
Carson Daly also praised Roker for going public with his cancer journey when he joined the conversation on Tuesday’s show.
‘You’re terrific, Al, because you were brave to do this on the air. It’s a personal choice. Think of the millions of people that you’re helping,’ he said. ‘You’ve literally saved millions of lives and are a superhero.’
Roker shared that he plans to be back on air next Monday. He will also be one of the hosts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — and it seems like he is looking to reignite last year’s ‘feud’ with a man in butter suit.
‘That’s what everyone’s been asking, is there going to be a Thanksgiving Day parade? We’re telling them yes, but it will be different,’ he said. ‘But it’s happening. My only question is, will I find butter?’