Savannah Guthrie insisted she didn’t flip Matt Lauer the middle finger recently on “The Today Show” after he made a remark that questioned her house-cleaning abilities.
The tempest over Savannah’s finger flip — which centers on the question of whether she brandished her middle finger or her index finger — has now come to be known as “finger-gate,” a designation apparently coined by Jay Leno and heard for the first time Monday night on NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
The occasion was Savannah’s appearance on the show, completing a mini-parade of “Today Show” stars to Leno’s California studio that began last Thursday.
That’s when Lauer turned up on “The Tonight Show” and Leno asked him about Savannah’s infamous finger-point. He too insisted that it was Savannah’s index finger even though it looked like Savannah’s middle digit to thousands of viewers who voiced their opinions on social media.
On Monday night, Savannah also said it was her index finger, though she didn’t deny that the intent was similar to what one intends when gesturing with one’s middle digit.
“The facial expression says middle finger to me!” Leno said.
To which Savannah replied, “Let’s put it this way: It’s the most aggressive index finger you will ever come across!”
We’re not sure Matt deserved a middle finger or its facsimile when he made a throwaway remark on “The Today Show” recently, implying that Savannah has no experience working a vacuum cleaner. The remark came at the tail end of some sort of vacuum demonstration on the show. In fact, if not for “finger-gate,” this vacuum cleaner segment would have been forgotten almost instantly.
Just as interesting to us are these almost back-to-back appearances on “The Tonight Show” by the “Today Show” co-hosts. The bookings could have been coincidental, with Lauer and Guthrie each in L.A. for unrelated reasons, and their “Tonight Show” appearances scheduled to take advantage of their visits to the West Coast. (For her part, Guthrie was in L.A. to visit the set of “The Voice.”)
Or, it could be that NBC has recruited Jay to help out in the network’s quest to promote “The Today Show” and propel it back into the No. 1 spot in morning TV — a position it lost a year ago to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” If this is the case, credit Leno with being a good sport in helping out NBC, even though the network is poised to replace him with Jimmy Fallon a year from now.