Cooper and Co­hen

Gay TV per­son­al­i­ties ready to dish

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“We’re great friends, we have re­ally good chem­istry and a rap­port with each other and we’re kind of danger­ous be­cause we get a lot out of each other. You’re kind of eaves­drop­ping on the two of us re­ally dish­ing. We’re nam­ing names and telling sto­ries.”

—Andy Co­hen

By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS

One night last year, openly gay talk show host and Bravo net­work mas­ter­mind Andy Co­hen was on a pro­mo­tional tour for his sec­ond book, “The Andy Co­hen Di­aries: A Deep Look at a Shal­low Year,” when he found him­self be­ing in­ter­viewed by long­time friend and openly gay CNN an­chor An­der­son Cooper in a New York theater. Some­thing clicked.

“He was in­ter­view­ing me about my book and it was just great, we were in front of this theater of a thou­sand peo­ple,” Co­hen tells Ge­or­gia Voice from his New York home. “It was a mag­i­cal night and we said it would be fun to de­velop into a show.”

That idea turned into “AC²: An In­ti­mate Evening with An­der­son Cooper and Andy Co­hen— Deep Talk and Shal­low Tales,” the tour that has taken them through Bos­ton, Miami and Chicago and hits the Cobb En­ergy Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre on June 20.

From blind date to just friends

Cooper and Co­hen first crossed paths back in the early 1990s when they were set up on a blind date that never hap­pened. Co­hen didn’t know the rea­son it never hap­pened un­til Cooper re­vealed it at a re­cent show on their tour.

“He says I was too ‘en­thu­si­as­tic’ on the phone for him. I thought the phone call was kind of good, I didn’t re­al­ize the real rea­son the date didn’t hap­pen,” Co­hen re­veals. “We be­came great friends in­stead.”

While many would as­sume the two bonded over be­ing high pro­file gay men and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­i­ties, that isn’t ex­actly the case, with the ma­jor­ity of Co­hen’s ca­reer oc­cur­ring be­hind the scenes, as a pro­ducer for var­i­ous CBS news pro­grams and, later, as a pro­ducer for Bravo hits like “Top Chef” and the “Real Housewives” fran­chise.

“Most of our friend­ship I have been to­tally un­known. I just got in front of the cam­era seven years ago or so,” Co­hen says. “He’s been a great re­source and friend to me. He’s been a good sound­ing board for me. Our friend­ship has just been our friend­ship, it hasn’t had much to do with be­ing in front of the cam­era.”

Of course, now it’s hard to miss Co­hen, whether he’s host­ing his talk show “Watch What Hap­pens Live” or host­ing (or more ac­cu­rately, ref­er­ee­ing) the nu­mer­ous “Real Housewives” re­u­nion shows.

‘We’re nam­ing names and telling sto­ries’

As for what to ex­pect when the two hit the stage later this month, it be­gins with the pair in­ter­view­ing each other on a va­ri­ety of top­ics.

“We’re great friends, we have re­ally good chem­istry and a rap­port with each other and we’re kind of danger­ous be­cause we get a lot out of each other,” Co­hen says. “You’re kind of eaves­drop­ping on the two of us re­ally dish­ing. We’re nam­ing names and telling sto­ries. I get him re­ally go­ing on stuff and he gets me go­ing on it.”

Then they open things up to the au­di­ence for a Q and A, and au­di­ence mem­bers in other cities so far have not held back.

“Some­one asked me how big my dick was!” Co­hen says, laugh­ing.

So the “shal­low tales” re­ferred to in the sub­ti­tle are cov­ered, but what about the “deep talk”? Look to Cooper.

“An­der­son has a re­ally in­ter­est­ing back­ground. He lost his dad when he was 10 and his brother com­mit­ted sui­cide when he was 17 or 18 and he’s had a fas­ci­nat­ing life and in­ter­viewed every­body and spent most of the time on the front lines,” Co­hen says. “That’s where most of the deep talk comes from is him, not me.”

Re­gard­less, as those who have wit­nessed Cooper’s oc­ca­sional gig­gle fits on CNN will at­test to, the man has a funny side.

It’s the kind of project that marks an­other notch in Co­hen’s in­creas­ingly var­ied ca­reer in re­cent years, in­clud­ing a hit talk show, two best­selling books and a na­tional tour.

“This is just a joy­ful thing, a great thing that came to­gether to­tally or­gan­i­cally. Ev­ery­thing good that’s hap­pened to me has hap­pened or­gan­i­cally,” Co­hen says. “The book led to An­der­son in­ter­view­ing me lead­ing to this tour. I’m a firm be­liever in never plot­ting.”

And as to whether “Real Housewives” fans can ex­pect an ap­pear­ance at the Cobb En­ergy Cen­tre from one of their fa­vorites?

“The re­u­nion is al­ready shot, but you never know who will show up.”

An­der­son Cooper and Andy Co­hen were set up on a blind date in the 1990s that never hap­pened, but be­came close friends. (Cour­tesy photo)

Andy Co­hen says the ‘shal­low tales’ mostly come from him, while most of the ‘deep talk’ comes from Cooper. (Cour­tesy photo)

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