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“Andy Cohen’s Got The 411” couldn’t be truer in this novel
I for one am a self confessed Bravo addict. I don’t know when the addiction began, but it is real and true. Part of that addiction is the man at the helm of this article, Andy Cohen. Andy, who only a mere couple of years ago was only known for being a producer of content for Bravo TV, emerged as a contender in late night programming with the wildly successful “Watch What Happens Live”. He has also been the host for the riveting “Real Housewives” reunions, as well as developing some of our TV mainstays such as “Top Chef” and “The Millionaire Matchmaker” to name a few (not on this list- “NYC Prep”. Yikes Andy Cohen. Bloop). With all the success that Andy Cohen has had over the past couple of years, both on and off camera, he has taken his crazy life stories and written about it in two books. The first one was released earlier this year, titled “Most Talkative: Stories From The Front Lines Of Pop Culture”, which chronicled how he got to where he is now. He recently released his second book titled “The Andy Cohen Diaries” which gives us a day to day visit into his life and the totally exciting chaos that ensues on a daily basis. As much fun as the first book was to read, I was totally excited to read “The Andy Cohen Diaries” as it would give me a better glimpse into someone who I view as a bit of a hero when it comes to making yourself in this world. I got that, and so much more.
There are a lot of facets that I love about Andy Cohen just from reading this book. There are times while reading it where I genuinely get a Kathy Griffin vibe from him, meaning that he is really the celebrity for the people and that he is just one of us. What I mean by that is when he details his nights at “Watch What Happens Live” & when a big celebrity appears, he wants to make sure that everything goes well in order to make sure the night runs smoothly (See: Will Ferrell, Steve Carrell, even Shaq). It comes off as a mixture of wanting to be a good host yet also wanting to make sure that the audience watching at home and in the studio is having a good time, which comes across as genuine and that he really cares. There is even a part in the book where he worries about becoming a self obsessed narcissist as he has heard that it is near impossible for other late night hosts not to get that way. Very interesting.
The book sometimes really does read like Andy Cohen is the gay male version of Carrie Bradshaw, most notably noticed by Sarah Jessica Parker herself as written on the back of the book. From reading this book it seems like Andy leads quite the glamorous life, with hosting fantastic events, attending some of the best bars and clubs that New York City amongst other cities has to offer, and hanging around some huge A-listers as a genuine friend to (Kelly Ripa, Anderson Cooper, etc). Something that I love about these parts of the books are the normal people that he meets along the way, such as “Baby Jane Flight Attendant” on his trips to LA and his “future husband” that he meets on at trip that coincidentally lives in the same building as him. His also honest take on how New York City has become completely commercial is a huge breath of fresh air, especially when it is something many New Yorkers like myself have been noticing for years. So when he brings up the greedy landlords that keep closing some of the best restaurants in New York City down due to price hikes to make way for yet ANOTHER Duane Reade or TD Bank, it is just another reminder of why NYC is not what it used to be. Kudos to Andy Cohen for bringing that up.
It to me is so funny that the theme song to “Watch What Happens Live” starts with “Andy Cohen’s got the 411”, which couldn’t ring truer in this novel. The 411 meaning the biggest name dropper of 2014. There are so many names that Andy discusses in this book, both inside and outside of the housewives realm. Something that I wish he could’ve been a little more open on are the housewives that got fired and he omitted their names while discussing. That would’ve made this book even more salacious as a lot of us would love to know his true opinions on the Housewives, although he seems to play favorites (Nene, Brandi, etc). That being said, some of the highlights for name dropping is his cavorts at “The View”, most particularly his epic visit when Barbara Walters read him the house down for his assumption that her generation didn’t understand “American Hustle”. Yikes. Of all the name droppings in the book (Gaga’s was a hoot) the one that I genuinely liked the most was his honest description about Miss Britney Spears. I grew up loving that girl so much that I was voted Most Obsessed in my 8th Grade Yearbook. So when he talks about meeting her in Vegas, and pretty much detailing his honest thoughts about her (get the book, its good) it brings us a much more candid version of who Britney really is on a day to day basis, and that is was a real person’s experience and not a tabloids. Fascinating stuff.
The best parts of this book are two things- Wacha and his parents. Wacha, the rescue dog that he adopted from a kill shelter in West Virginia, is a pivotal point in this book as he appears throughout. From Andy’s lack of committing to anything including a dog, it really was fun to see the growth that he experiences with Wacha from the first time he meets him to the bond he develops with the dog to this present day. It really is heartwarming and as a dog lover myself can empathize about the daily struggles of having a dog but loving it unconditionally as they love you that way. Then of course there are his parents. I truly believe if Andy gave them their own reality show it would be a hit, as they are both hilarious in their own nutty ways. Evelyn’s (mom) texts to Andy about a myriad of things runs similar to how Kathy Griffin describes the brutal honesty that her mother Maggie bestows about her on a daily basis. It is part caring, part keeping it real, and part hilarity all wrapped up in one, and something you will see quite often as you read the book.
Overall, I think Andy Cohen is like Charlie Brown meets Andy Warhol. Just a normal guy from St. Louis who happened on this incredible life and stories for the masses to read, just like Andy Warhol did with his book back in the 80’s I would highly recommend anyone getting this as you will find some sort of relatability throughout. For more information on all things Andy Cohen, log on to his site.