Andy Cohen Dishes on Madonna, Cher, and the Big Shake-Up at CNN
“Real Housewives” exec also talks making out with cast member Tamra JudgeJune 14, 2023
Carpe diem may be a cliché, but after talking with Howard on Wednesday it was clear Andy Cohen did more day seizing last year than many people do in their entire lives. The late night host, reality TV mogul, SiriusXM broadcaster, and bestselling author returned to the Stern Show to promote his new book, “The Daddy Diaries: The Year I Grew Up,” which details a 2022 filled with celebrity hobnobbing, dating as a single dad, producing “The Real Housewives” while hosting “Watch What Happens Live,” and of course raising his two young children.
“The book is a snapshot of being a single dad, but it’s also a snapshot of pop culture in the year 2022,” Cohen told Howard.
His journal begins with a hangover—one he earned during a booze-filled New Year’s Eve broadcast on CNN. As it turned out, doing shots on the air with co-host Anderson Cooper led to more than just a headache. It also led to a string of hot takes suggesting the famed friends had gotten too loose on live TV. A few months later, it led to a company-wide prohibition as CNN’s new chief executive Chris Licht told broadcasters they could no longer consume alcohol on the air.
“What a bungle,” Cohen said. “People want to see me make Anderson giggle, and they love to see him do shots.” Andy told Howard, explaining he and Anderson were forced to get creative this year and drink pickle juice on the air. “We did everything we could to get around [the alcohol ban], but it was just a stupid move.”
Last week, Licht was ousted from CNN following the release of a lengthy Atlantic profile which revealed — among many other things — that the news network’s employees were largely unhappy with his performance. Howard was curious of how Cohen felt about the big shake up.
“Was [Licht] the wrong guy for the job?” Howard asked.
“I don’t know the answer to that — I guess, because it didn’t work out,” Andy responded.
So does the news of Licht’s ousting make Andy happy.
“I didn’t really care. I just wanted to drink on New Year’s Eve, and I just want Anderson to be happy,” Andy explained. “It was my hope that had he remained that maybe we could’ve said to him, ‘Listen, this clearly did not work out last year, so let’s revisit this issue.’”
Moonstruck by Cher
While Andy’s new book is chock-full of celebrity encounters, not every run-in with an A-lister went precisely how he’d hoped. For instance, he was delighted when timeless recording legend Cher reached out to him … only to be disappointed upon learning she was just using him to get in touch with Anderson Cooper.
“She’s definitely not calling to talk to me,” Cohen told Howard with a laugh. “There are the two ‘A.C.s,’ and I’m the devil and he’s the saint. It’s like Goofus and Gallant.”
As it turned out, Cher hoped to offer Anderson some support while he was reporting from a war-torn Ukraine. Howard and Andy could both understand why. “I’m kind of used to him flitting around the world to these horrible things, but when he left for that one I was like, ‘Dude, you have two kids,’” Cohen said. “It’s scary as a friend.”
Justifying His Madonna Love
“Watch What Happens Live” has featured an impressive array of guests over the years, from Oprah Winfrey and Mariah Carey to Jon Hamm, who appeared just this week opposite longtime “Mad Men” co-star John Slattery. However, one superstar still hasn’t graced Andy’s show with their presence: Madonna.
“I hope she does … [but] I’m actually kind of over it,” Andy said. “In my Notes app, I was keeping a long list of interview questions in case she ever did the show, and she’s kind of answered a lot of [them].”
Cohen is such a big Madonna fan that his SiriusXM channel, Andy’s Kiki Lounge, plays one of her songs every 75 minutes. So naturally he was stunned when the Material Girl kindly requested that he stop having people “trash” her on his show.
“I said, ‘I speak so positively, I am such a fan of yours … [but] only the bad stuff gets picked up in the press,’” Andy recalled. “I could make a four-hour montage of me licking Madonna’s ass on ‘Watch What Happens Live’ or on the radio … That’s how big of a fan I am.”
Friend to the Stars
Another of Andy’s famous friends who made it into the book was musician John Mayer, whom Howard wondered if Andy was in love with. “We are in love with each other,” Cohen confirmed before swearing on his children that the friendship never became sexual.
Also featured is “And Just Like That” star Sarah Jessica Parker, a friend of Andy’s for close to 25 years. He said their relationship in the beginning was somewhat surreal. “As a gay man … the first five years of our friendship … every time we were out to dinner, I was like, ‘Holy shit,’” he revealed. “I could not believe it, and this was also the height of ‘Sex and the City,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m like out with Carrie Bradshaw right now? This is the coolest. It does not actually get cooler than this.’”
Over time, Cohen got over the celebrity aspect of his bond with Parker. “I’m still titillated by our friendship, but I’ve gotten over the excitement of the newness of it,” he insisted. “At some point 20 years into a friendship you digest that it’s there.”
Commuter of the People
Despite Andy’s fame and success, he remains a man of the people when it comes to commuting. So much so, he once accepted a ride from a trucker, though he stopped short of calling it hitchhiking. “I was standing, trying to get a cab, and no one was coming, and this truck driver goes, ‘Where are you going?’ And I told him, and he picked me up and I got in,” he recalled. “I needed the ride.”
Just five days later, the host was at it again, this time getting in the car with a couple who recognized him late at night. “I’ll take selfies for a ride when I can’t get a cab,” he said matter-of-factly.
For getting to work, Cohen is loyal to the New York City subway system. “I’m trying to get to Sirius in the quickest amount of time … during rush hour, the quickest way into Midtown is on the train,” he declared.
He experiences the same issues as ordinary straphangers, too, like the time he and comedian Amy Sedaris had a harrowing wait at a subway stop. “We went down there and there was a man doing all sorts of shit, and she was like, ‘This is how we’re going to meet our end because you wanted to take the subway,’” he recalled with a laugh.
Hooking Up With Housewives and Getting Down With Straight Stern Show Fans
Cohen, who executive produces Bravo’s many successful “Real Housewives” shows, didn’t shy away from revealing what the small-screen stars were really like in person. He said “Real Housewives of New York City” star Sonja Morgan was the wildest woman on their roster but most every cast member, including “New York City’s” Ramona Singer, has as big of a personality in real life as they do on TV.
When it came to Tamra Judge, Andy confessed he shared a “sexual energy” with the “Real Housewives of Orange County” star. “She has shown me every incarnation of her bare breasts,” Cohen told Howard. “I hosted a live New Year’s Eve debacle on Bravo one year … and I think she and I made out on the air in front of her husband.”
Andy, who his openly gay, believed his sexuality was partially responsible for their connection. “If I’m straight, maybe she wouldn’t have done that,” he said, explaining Tamra likely felt safer flashing a gay man. He then went on to say some women’s interest might understandably be piqued by the possibility of becoming Andy’s first female lover.
“Wouldn’t you have bragging rights if you were the one that was, you know, that I was like, ‘let’s just do this’?” he asked Howard. “If there was a Stern Show fan — I’m going to put it out there — who came to me and said, ‘Andy, I’ve never done anything with a dude, but you’re my man,’ I would feel a certain way. I would feel like, ‘Wow, this is special. How great.’”
Andy Cohen’s new book “The Daddy Diaries: The Year I Grew Up” is available now.