Jenna Bush Hager and her co-host, Hoda Kotb, talked about the Cats musical and the movie inspired by it during Tuesday’s episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna. A video of their conversation was later shared on their show’s official Instagram page.
The Cats movie hit theaters nationwide today. Ahead of the premiere, Jenna and Hoda got transformed into characters from the film. With the aid of a little digital magic, Jenna’s face replaced that of Taylor Swift’s character, Bombalurina. Meanwhile, Hoda was given the fluffy body of Judi Dench’s cat, Old Deuteronomy. Jenna thanked the Today team responsible for creating the Cats images for “making my Christmas miracle come true.” She even got into character by giving the camera a sassy cat-like growl.
According to Jenna, she and her family members love cats so much that they all picked out their own feline names to answer to when she was younger.
“When we were little, we only went by cat names,” she told Hoda.
She revealed that her mother’s cat name was Marmalade, while former President George W. Bush went by the moniker Tommy Tough. Jenna picked out the name Stripes for herself.
The feline names were seemingly inspired by the Broadway musical Cats, which the Bush family went to go see when Jenna was a child. She turned attending the show into a family tradition a few years ago by watching it with her daughter, 6-year-old Mila. Jenna’s mother, former first lady Laura Bush, was with Jenna and Mila when the little girl made a hilarious comment about one of the musical’s characters.
“I took Mila to see the Broadway show of Cats — my mom and I took her — and she loved it so much. And my mom kept saying, ‘Mila’ — she was three — ‘What’s your favorite cat?,’ and Mila would go, ‘The one with the boobs.'”
While Jenna is a hardcore Cats fan and was thrilled to be transformed into one of the movie’s characters, Hoda wasn’t feeling her co-host’s feline form.
“The whole thing is scary,” Hoda said after seeing Jenna as a cat.
However, during a previous episode of Today, Hoda predicted that the Cats movie would be a “hit.” She said that she found the film’s trailer “creepy” at first, but she warmed to it after seeing James Corden’s character. During that same Today episode, Jenna informed Hoda that she wanted to see what her co-host looked like as a cat.
Fans of the show loved seeing Jenna get her wish.
“@hodakotb’s reaction to her cat is priceless,” wrote one fan on the Today with Hoda & Jenna Instagram page.
“Ha ha ha love this,” read another response to the Cats video.
“You two are just hilarious,” remarked a third fan. “Merry Christmas to all and your families.”