Matt Lauer is trying to show he has a sense of humor about the fallout he's faced since Ann Curry's messy exit from "Today" last summer: He jokes that polio is more popular than he is.
"I'm a bit surprised to be asked to host this dinner," he told an audience Tuesday, according to the New York Post. "If you've been following the papers lately, you know it's been a bit rough for me. These days, I only get asked to host dinners if polio is busy. Yup, I have a lower Q rating than polio right now."
The Q rating a metric developed by Marketing Evaluations, Inc. to measures the popularity of brands, companies, television shows and celebrities.
Lauer made the quip while emceeing a United Jewish Appeal of New York's Broadcast Cable & Film Division event honoring Bloomberg Media Group CEO Andrew Lack.
Lauer continued his self-deprecation as he introduced Katie Couric to the stage.
"Katie has a way of making headlines. Who can forget when she was co-host of the 'Today' show? She got a colonoscopy on TV," he said. "Not to be outdone, two weeks ago, I got one in The New York Times."
Lauer was referencing Brian Stelter's piece, "At NBC, a Struggle to Revive the Morning Magic," which quoted an anonymous "Today" senior staffer saying Lauer was losing his connection with viewers.
Stelter also reported that Lauer's Q score has dropped by more than half of what it used to be -- from a 19 to a 9 -- since Lauer was paired with Curry in June 2011.
Last month, Lauer spoke publicly about the Curry debacle for the first time in an interview with the Daily Beast and put the brunt of the blame for the backlash on the network.
"I don't think the show and the network handled the transition well. You don't have to be Einstein to know that," Lauer said. "It clearly did not help us. We were seen as a family, and we didn't handle a family matter well."