Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture
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The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show
From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo's reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie's Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that everyone didn't know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.
The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today's celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.
building with Dan, whom I barely knew. Dan’s legend preceded him: He had a heart of gold but could be tough and exacting and maybe a little on the edge of losing it sometimes. Oh, and he seemed to be a magnet for crazy. Things happened to Dan Rather. This was the man who’d been punched at the ’68 Democratic National Convention. This was the man who’d been taken for an endless taxi ride in Chicago by a possibly unstable cabbie trying to jack up the fare, resulting in Dan hanging out the window
Housewife was, nor did he care. Nor should he have. I was just grateful for the distraction. “Go over to Fredbird,” the publicist instructed me, ripping me away from my future boyfriend-in-my-head. Ever resilient, I joked with Fredbird, the mascot for whom I was nicknamed, as the announcer introduced me. Then came the very best part of the night: running, in slow motion, to the mound, framed by the Gateway Arch, as the crowd cheered. I caught a glimpse of the Jumbotron; a shot of the back of my
ability to talk over each other at peak decibel level; it’s like being trapped in an Evelyn Cohen echo chamber. When they go at it, there’s no interrupting them. And yet, as loud and nasty as they got, there was something that always amused me about watching Jill and Ramona fight over almost anything, be it a tennis match, RSVPing to a party, or what happened in front of a step and repeat. Watching any Jill vs. Ramona kerfuffle is like indulging in a slushie—it’ll give you a headache, but that
am. But something happened in 2010 that made me realize that I had indeed become something of a public figure. And I wouldn’t mind giving this moment back. It involves a terrible storm, Diana Ross, and a bunch of Munchkins singing. And I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t The Wiz come out in 1978? The story really starts my senior in college, on Academy Awards night—the gay Super Bowl. That night I was bored to tears: Dances with Wolves cleaned up, winning award after award. I hadn’t seen the
a guardian angel at a moment when I least expected it. In early 1999, Graciela told me she was getting married. I responded with mixed emotions. I was thrilled for her but also deeply sad that now, officially, she and I could not spend our lives together. I worried I was losing my accomplice. She’d still be around, but it would be different. I knew I couldn’t be selfish, at least not outwardly, and I had to find a way to properly send her off into her new life. So I organized what I think was