"I thought it would be funny because it was so weird," she says while appearing alongside Geraldo Rivera on "Watch What Happens Live."
The reporter stopped by "Watch What Happens Live" Tuesday, where Cohen brought up Couric's 2012 "WWHL" appearance that resurfaced soon after news broke of Lauer's firing from the "Today" show over allegations NBC described as "inappropriate sexual behavior."
"I was playing Plead the Fifth with you...and I said to you, 'What's Matt Lauer's most annoying habit?' You said, 'He used to pinch me on the ass.' I laughed thinking you were joking," Cohen said to Couric.
"I was joking!" Couric replied. "I was joking. It was a total joke, and in fact, when that started circulating, Andy, I was like, 'Oh, my God -- I was on 'Watch What Happens Live!' It was so antithetical to the nature of our relationship. I thought it would be funny because it was so weird. It was totally a joke, but I was really sorry I had made that joke because people misconstrued it."
Couric and fellow reporter/guest on "WWHL" Geraldo Rivera were both put on the spot when a caller asked them what they thought about Michelle Wolf's monologue at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. The caller also asked if they thought President Donald Trump should have attended.
"I wish the president would have attended, because for so many years, it's been sort of a tradition for the president to be there," Couric said. "I thought some of [Wolf's] jokes were funny, and some of them really fell flat, and some of them felt a little mean spirited."
Rivera added that "at a point, [Wolf's jokes] weren't funny anymore." He also described Sarah Huckabee Sanders as "a nice person" and added, "You may disagree with her politics, but to savage her in that way -- I don't know, it just wasn't funny to me."
Then during a game of Plead the Fifth, Cohen asked Rivera if he believed Stormy Daniels and the other women alleging having had sexual relations with Trump while he was married to current wife Melania.
"I think there's no corroborating," Rivera replied. "'Me Too' has made me want to believe every complainer -- every person who makes an allegation -- but with Stormy Daniels, I don't see any corroborating evidence other than the fact that they were together."
Rivera told Cohen he's been candid about his own issues with infidelity and added, "All the relationships I had, you always had photographs, you always had text messages, you always had some kind of evidence."
Rivera didn't seem to think Karen McDoogal had much of a case against the president, either. He also said that POTUS "has evolved as a person."
"He came as I did -- from the madmen era -- and I think he's evolved as a person," Rivera noted.
Regarding Melania's seeming unwillingness to hold her husband's hand in public settings, Rivera laughed and said, "I don't want to get between them, [but] I think there is meaning in every one of those gestures."
Rivera is only one of 46 people Trump follows on Twitter, and when Cohen asked Rivera what their friendship is like, Rivera said, "My relationship with him is complex in the sense that -- my wife, she can't separate his policies from the person. I can because I've known him for so long -- over 40 years. To me, he's a pal even though I'm pro-gun control and pro-choice and pro-immigration reform, and he's not any of those things. I cut him some slack because he is my friend and because I know that he's always been nice to me."
Rivera laughed and said, "If I could do a public service for America, I would be his tweet editor,"