Larry Emdur is quick with the one-liners. When TV WEEK tells him about the readers who've been writing in, asking for him to be featured, he jokes, "That's my mum writing letters again to the magazine."
The truth is, it's not just his mum who loves him. Larry Emdur is hot right now, hotter than at any point in his nearly 40 years in television. He's on our screens twice a day, hosting two hit shows, The Morning Show and The Chase Australia.
"I've done some crappy shows over the years, like crappy, crappy shows," he admits. "From a host perspective, you go, 'Wow, it would be really great to work on a big network game show and it would be great to host a live morning show.' I feel very, very lucky that I get to work on both of these shows and they're both really successful."
Growing up in Sydney near the beach, Larry had no ambitions to be a TV host. He didn't even care about school.
"I failed everything miserably," he says. "I was wagging a lot. I was going surfing all the time."
At the age of 16, he got a job as a newspaper copyboy, which suited him because he could work at night and surf during the day. Despite having failed school, he turned out to have a talent for telling stories. Soon he was working in a TV newsroom.
In 1993, he started hosting The Price Is Right, the game show he's still remembered for.
"It won't be too late in any day where someone yells out, 'Come on down!'"
But then came the "crappy shows". Larry doesn't hesitate to give examples.
"I can give you plenty: Celebrity Dog School, Family Double Dare, Celebrity Splash, Cash Bonanza… in reality, I've worked on more terrible shows than I've worked on good shows."
There have been times when he's been axed and he's questioned his future.
"I come home to my wife and go, 'That's it. I'm done here. I'm going to go and open up a Blockbuster Video store.' I've gone into a spiral where I'm just hosting crap shows, I'm a hosting joke in the industry... Many, many times I've thought that."
The 56-year-old says his wife Sylvie, mum to their children Jye and Tia, has been his "pillar of strength".
"I'm sure anyone else would have walked out a thousand times because I've been through some pretty terrible times in my job and I've never been able to say to my family, 'Yes, I guarantee I can feed you or pay the mortgage.' She's just been so strong. I adore her."
Larry's love for Sylvie, who he met when she was working as a flight attendant, is legendary.
"We spend so much time together. We love each other dearly, desperately. She's away now for a couple of days and I can't sleep. It's so sad! I'm like a little baby. She's everything to me."
It was 2007 when Larry started co-hosting The Morning Show with Kylie Gillies. The two hit it off and viewers warmed to their sense of fun. But for much of last year and this year, with COVID, Larry found himself delivering bad news. For him, that was challenging.
"My face isn't built for that. I've just got a stupid smiley face with buck teeth. Many days I'd go home and just feel horrible about having to be that guy who was in your lounge room going, 'Sorry, can't see your family again for another six months.'"
One thing that made him feel better was hearing how important The Morning Show was to people in lockdown.
"I've heard this a lot, that Kylie and I became a very special part of people's lives, particularly lonely people who couldn't get out. They knew they had a couple of friends in Kylie and me."
When Seven was auditioning for a new host for The Chase a year ago, Larry didn't have himself in with a chance, "at all". Even when he was offered the job, he wasn't sure he was the right person.
"I was quite stressed about that. 'Am I smart enough to do this show? Oh gosh, there's going to be all these big words I don't know.'
"The early days certainly were terrifying, but now I feel like I'm having fun."
Life is good for Larry right now, especially with COVID restrictions in Sydney having lifted. He and Sylvie are making up for lost time with Jye, 27, and Tia, 22. During lockdown, Tia was working at Seven, in news, but not starting till after Larry left. He did consider staying back.
"Sometimes I was tempted to just walk past her at the door, wearing a mask, so I could see her."
Larry doesn't think Jye or Tia have ever watched The Morning Show, but he feels part of their lives, even when he's not around.
"There's a thing now, Jye was telling me, when their friends are going out on a bender, they call it a 'Larry Emdur', so I've made it!"
To become a slang term is an honour indeed, but it's something Larry deserves after nearly 40 years in TV.
So what's the reason he's lasted so long? He put it down to a combination of saying yes to everything, getting along with people and just being himself.
"I don't have to put anything on, I don't have to be anyone that I'm not, so maybe that's part of it. Maybe it's because I'm a happy-go-lucky bimbo that it's worked out in my favour by accident!"