October 16, 2015 06:05 PM

Steve Mack/Getty

His kids may give him a laugh a minute, but Matt Lauer knows when to get serious.

“I’m lucky, I have very funny kids,” the 57-year-old Today Show host told PEOPLE Thursday in New York City, where his longtime friend Bryant Gumbel was honored with Marist College’s Lifetime Excellence in Sports Communication Award.

“They make me laugh every day,” he adds of his three kids with wife Annette Roque: daughter Romy, 12, and sons Thijs, 8, and Jack, 14.

Lauer says a humorous attitude is essential as his trio approaches the teenage years.

“I don’t think anything can prepare you for it,” he shares. “There is no owner’s manual and you just have to have a sense of humor, but you also have to remember you’re their parent, not their best friend.”

But Lauer did get to learn from the very best when it comes to broadcasting.

“He is also my best friend so you don’t want to talk in these terms of awe about somebody you also hang out with, but he is someone that has probably shaped my career,” he tells PEOPLE about learning “how to present yourself, how to be both a broadcaster and a journalist,” from Gumbel.

And Lauer says Gumbel’s fans can be assured what they see on camera is the real deal.

“If you can be who you are on camera, which is not easy, then I think you’re going to be successful,” he explains. “If you ran into Bryant on the street corner, he’d be the same guy you see on Real Sports or on The Today Show or anything else he does.”

— Lydia Price

You May Like