WHAT I LOVE ANDY COHEN
Here’s What Happens
Five nights a week on Bravo, Andy Cohen hosts the highly rated late-night talk show “Watch What Happens Live” in a studio filled with knickknacks and tokens of pop trivia. He sits in one of a set of Danish modern chairs that swivel and lean back; he sips from a highly toxic blend of Fresca and tequila, and shoots the breeze with celebrities ranging from LaToya Jackson to Meryl Streep.
When it’s over, he jumps in a cab and goes home to a two-bedroom apartment in one of the Bing & Bing buildings in the West Village, where his living room is filled with more knickknacks and tokens of pop trivia, as well as another set of Danish modern chairs that swivel and lean back.
Mr. Cohen, 44, bought them about a decade ago at a store in Brooklyn called Baxter & Liebchen, and what he most loved about them was that they “look like such midnight-talk-show-host chairs.”
“They reminded me of Dick Cavett and Tom Snyder,” he said on a recent afternoon. “And I thought if I ever got a late-night talk show, these chairs would be the chairs.”
On a coffee table in front of him was a backgammon board and an unopened copy of Madonna’s “Sex” book. “I also have an opened copy. I happen to have both. As it were.”
On two rows of bookshelves by the kitchen were numerous other books, many of which Mr. Cohen professed to be embarrassed by: A Kitty Kelley book on Nancy Reagan. “One of my faves,” he said. A signed copy of “Hollywood Wives, ” by Jackie Collins. “I love pop-culture artifacts, so to me a first-edition signed Jackie Collins, that’s something.”
Hanging on the walls were a framed Bob Mackie sketch of Tina Turner in a glittery gold dress and a Warhol photograph of Diana Ross, who was almost the first celebrity Mr. Cohen met when he moved to New York back in 1990.
At the time, he’d just graduated from Boston University and was working for CBS’s morning show, where one of his first real duties was producing an interview with Ms. Ross.
In his book, “Most Talkative,” which is to appear in paperback on April 2, Mr. Cohen describes in horrifying detail his oh-so-awkward lunch with Ms. Ross. They went to Planet Hollywood, and he made practically every mistake in the book, aside from dropping food on her.
Mr. Cohen started off in a $531-a-month apartment on West End Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets. Then he moved to the West Village, going from a place on Perry Street to another in the meatpacking district.
He began moving up the ladder at CBS News, where he grew fluent in the art of wooing celebrities, working both as a senior producer of “The Early Show” and for “48 Hours.”
In 2000 he joined the future Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick as vice president for original programming of Trio, a kooky fledgling cable network that was sort of like a cross between public-access TV and a night out with the B-52s.