Throwback: Watch ‘Today’ Hosts Butcher Name of Upstate New York Town
Well, this is embarrassing.
We know that there are towns here in the Hudson Valley that some outsiders have a tough time pronouncing. But if you're doing a story that features the name of a town, you'd think learning the pronunciation would be something you'd want to do before the cameras roll.
One Wednesday, Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush were reporting on the upcoming arrival of this year's Rockefeller Christmas tree. As we reported last week, the tree was cut down by a Newburgh landscaping company from a front yard in Oneonta. Apparently, the hosts have never heard of the upstate town, because moments into the segment, the show went right off the rails.
When filling listeners in on the tree's original home, Jenna Bush said "it's from Own-uh-netta?" Hoda agreed with the pronunciation saying "I think so." Not satisfied with the way it came out, Jenna tried again saying "Onetta?"
Luckily, someone off-camera put the duo out of their misery and correctly pronounced Oneonta. Hoda and Jenna both finally yelled the proper pronunciation triumphantly, as if they actually knew it all along.
It's surprising that the two women didn't know how to pronounce Oneonta because they're no strangers to upstate New York. Hoda and her former co-host, Kathie Lee, famously used the word Poughkeepsie as a euphemism for having an orgasm. No, really. As for Jenna, in January of 2019, she and her family spent a long weekend with Today anchor Savanna Guthrie in Rhinebeck. The families were seen around town and even shared photos from the upstate excursion on the show.
7 New York Cities That Are Commonly Mispronounced