Brian Williams took his trademark blend of levity and gravitas to New York’s 92Y last night. There, exactly an hour after his Nightly News broadcast ended, he provided an in-depth look at the highlights and lowlights of his life. He touched on his connection to the Jersey shore, his early jobs working in a DC college press office and as a broadcast trade association typist and his current post as NBC news anchor.
Williams poked fun at NBC’s pharmaceutical advertisers, vented his anger about the handling of Hurricane Katrina and made poignant comments about the Newtown shooting. However, none of moderator Jonathan Tisch’s queries or the audience’s pre-screened questions addressed his network’s recent ratings decline or the status of Williams’ struggling news magazine show, Rock Center.
Here are selected quotes from Williams on a broad range of topics:
His Early Years:
On food he ate growing up: “For us, mixed greens were something that came out of a mower.”
On his fondness for firefighters: “I still hang out at the firehouse. It’s like I’m their human dalmatian.”
On his education: “I did spectacularly poorly at community college. I’m still only a high school grad; I’m not into that completion thing.”
On his reaction when his mother told him he’d be a good TV reporter: “I’d only been on closed circuit camera at 7-Eleven.”