Deep talk, shallow tales CNN meets Bravo in this traveling duo

Bravo’s Andy Cohen, left, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will share the stage Saturday in Washington. Photo courtesy of Icon Entertainment Group Inc.

Bravo’s Andy Cohen, left, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will share the stage Saturday in Washington.
Photo courtesy of Icon Entertainment Group Inc.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Bravo’s Andy Cohen are taking their schtick on the road.

The two men, who have been friends for a quarter of a century, will bring their AC2 chat with the audience to the Warner Theatre in Washington on Saturday night, blending video clips about each other, name dropping and a smattering of Yiddish words.

“It would be a shandah if he didn’t” use Yiddish, Cooper said about Cohen, host of the bawdy late-night TV show, WWHL—Watch What Happens: Live.

Cooper, the non-Jew in this gay male duo, went on to lament how he never had a bar mitzvah.

“I begged my mother for a bar mitzvah when I was in the eighth grade,” the New York City native said.

“I was pretty much the only person in my class who didn’t get bar mitzvahed. I knew all the readings.”
Cohen’s Jewishness seeps out during his interviews, particularly when his guest also happens to be Jewish.

“Jewish people are always fascinated about who else is Jewish,” said Cohen, who also has a show on SiriusXM radio.

In Cohen’s second book — he’s currently working on the third — he writes of the High Holidays of 2013.

“Today was Yom Kippur, and I went to the gay temple, and once again I did not find a boyfriend,” he writes in one passage. “Cruising the Jewish boys during the long service is certainly a wonderful diversion.”

In another section of The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year, Cohen writes about checking out some good-looking men when reality set in: “I remembered that I am a 40-something-year-old short(ish) Jewish dude. That’s why I’m not dating a basketball player.”

“I try to be authentic to who I am when I am on TV, and one of the things I am is Jewish,” he said in an interview before the show here. “I am gay, I am Jewish. I am loud.”

Cohen hopes the loud part will permeate the shows he and Cooper are taking across the country.

“We really want [the show] to be a conversation with the audience,” Cooper said.

Cooper said that the audience should feel like they are “going out for a drink with us.”
The pair met on a blind date but didn’t really hit it off. Ever since, they have been friends and a support system for each other.

“We both have shows, are in a similar profession,” Cooper explained, adding it is nice to have “a friend who sort of knows the shorthand of television, knows what we are going through.”

Cohen agreed. “Anderson has always been there for me,” he said. “It’s fun sharing war stories from very different wars.”

While Cooper covers the news and issues of the day on Anderson Cooper 360, Cohen is meeting everyone he can, discussing their latest outfits, new rumors and inside jokes.

“He gets away with things I can’t believe,” Cooper said. “I am amazed at what Andy can ask. That’s his ability. He’s very disarming. He makes people feel he’s on their side.”

It’s not just his guests who he plays around with. He even takes on himself. Last week, in an episode of Jeopardy! the answer was a basic description of Cohen. The camera zoomed in on the blank stares of all three contestants; no one had a clue.

Rather than being embarrassed, Cohen featured the incident on his own show, saying, “It was so worth it, just for the laugh.” Apparently, he said, he is “failing to make an impact on America.”

Expect the Jeopardy! incident to be brought up at this weekend’s AC2 tour stop, which is billed as “an intimate evening of deep talk and shallow tales.” The tour is just one of many projects the television personalities are working on.

At the time of his phone interview last week, Cooper was deep in preparation, “reading hundreds and hundreds of pages” for the Democrats’ first presidential primary he moderated Tuesday night.

While Cooper enjoys the lightness of the AC2 tour, he much prefers “being in the field and certainly being on stories that are still going on while I am there,” he said. He pointed to his on-air work during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010. He also recollected filming in Israel near Gaza as rockets were flying all around him.

“That was an extraordinary experience,” he said.

Cooper also is working on a documentary about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, for HBO and is a correspondent on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

When asked if there was anything else he was working on, Cooper immediately asked, “Why? Have you heard a rumor? You know on TV, that’s how you find out.”

spollak@midatlanticmedia.com
@SuzannePollak

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