While Anderson's vacation may be over, the Ladies of ATA are still vacationing. We are however checking e-mail and a faithful reader alerted us to an article about Anderson's NYE coverage with Kathy Griffin that appeared in the NY Times on Sunday ~
FASHION & STYLE | TABLE FOR THREE
Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin Are Naughty and Nice
By PHILIP GALANESDEC. 26, 2014
Anderson Cooper is so good at playing the comic foil he can do it without a comic in the room. Before Kathy Griffin even arrived for lunch, Mr. Cooper, 47, the television journalist and Emmy-winning host of “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN, said, “Kathy was very concerned about what I was going to wear today.” Then he handed over his cellphone, cued to a text from Ms. Griffin. “Don’t embarrass me,” it read, along with a full-frontal nude selfie, in which Ms. Griffin covered her most private part with a bright red apple.
Moments later, Ms. Griffin, 54, a prolific stand-up comic, who starred on the Emmy-winning reality show “My Life on the D-List” and was recently named as the replacement for Joan Rivers on “Fashion Police,” walked in. “Stop talking without me!” she said.
Over sushi at Koi Restaurant in the Trump Hotel in SoHo, the pair discussed their oddball chemistry, which will be on full display when they host CNN’s “New Year’s Eve Live” celebration for the eighth year in a row; Ms. Griffin’s unlikely friendship with the author and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, Mr. Cooper’s mother; and how childhood traumas shaped who they are today
Philip Galanes: We were just admiring your apple.
Kathy Griffin: You know, I’ve never sexted anyone in my life except Anderson. I can’t resist. I just know he’s going to be so ——
Anderson Cooper: The one before this was in the middle of election night coverage. We were on air for 10 hours, and in the middle of it, I get a text from Kathy with the lower half of her body exposed.
KG: I had very serious rug burns.
AC: She wrote: “I was with David Gergen [the political commentator] last night. This is what I look like today.”
PG: For the sake of everyone’s reputation, tell us how you really got the rug burns.
KG: A couple of days before, I made a cameo appearance in Britney Spears’s Las Vegas show. She brings someone up from the audience to be her slave during one of the songs. She put a dog collar on me and had me crawl around. That’s how I got the rug burns. But when I saw David Gergen on Anderson’s show, I got inspired.
PG: Let’s talk about odd couples: Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor ——
KG: Is that who we are?
AC: I went to Studio 54 with Michael Jackson when I was a child.
KG: Don’t act like you walked in by yourself. Your mother took you.
AC: My mom took me to Studio 54 twice. Once, we saw Grace Jones perform. And the second time was for the premiere of “The Wiz,” when she was dating [film director] Sidney Lumet, after she had divorced him. That’s the time I saw Michael Jackson.
KG: Anderson is an onion. Just when you think you’ve got him figured out, there’s another layer to peel away. But when you get to the center, he’s a crying little boy who knows he will never live up to everything his mother is. He’s never redone his apartment in quilt, for instance, the way Gloria did. Or had a matching quilt dress.
AC: It’s true. I think Adolfo designed a quilt dress — not like an Amish quilt. But she had it put on the floors and walls and ceilings. Should I Google it?
KG: It was probably her attempt to soften him. You’ve been to weddings where there’s an ice sculpture? That’s Anderson. And I’m whatever chips away at the ice.
AC: I’m so heavily medicated I don’t know what she’s saying. Oh, look! Here it is: the quilt room and the quilt dress.
[He passes the phone around.]
PG: Do you watch each other’s work when it’s not New Year’s Eve?
KG: I watch his show every day. He’s not aware of what I do.
AC: She watches a lot of CNN. Don’t get her started on ——
KG: Chad Myers [the CNN meteorologist], when the weather isn’t going his way? Because he’s very emotional about the weather.
AC: See? And I go to her shows.
KG: Maybe once a year. He has a vague notion that I tell stories.
AC: I saw her show at Carnegie Hall. And I watch her Bravo specials.
KG: He even hosted the after-party at Carnegie Hall.
PG: Let’s go back to “Anderson as onion” for a second. I was shocked to learn that you worked at the C.I.A. during college.
AC: Really? You need to get out more.
KG: You didn’t work at the C.I.A.
AC: Only in the summers.
PG: What did you do there?
AC: What do you think they gave a 21-year-old to do? It was a boring summer job.
KG: I worked at Langley, too.
AC: That’s where we met. I was Mandy Patinkin to her Carrie ——
KG: Mathison. I’ll be any Carrie. On “Homeland” or “Sex and the City.”
PG: How did you really meet? On the New Year’s Eve show?
KG: No, I had this show on MTV in 2001, very much ahead of its time ——
AC: It wasn’t that far ahead of its time.
KG: Called “Kathy’s So-Called Reality.” I thought: This reality TV thing has got legs. So I did a recap show. And I was obsessed with Anderson’s reality show, “The Mole”...
PG: Another line on Anderson’s résumé that surprised me: reality TV host.
AC: It was the early days of reality TV, and I thought it would be fun. I did it for two seasons. Then Kathy went on “Celebrity Mole” the year after I left.
KG: And I won!
PG: Mazel tov. So why did you stop after two years?
KG: Does the term “high and mighty” ring a bell?
AC: No. Honestly, because 9/11 happened and ——
KG: Way to bring it down.
AC: The show was off-production, and I wanted to get back to the news. And CNN called.
PG: So, whose idea was it to put you two together for New Year’s Eve?
AC: Kathy was doing “My Life on the D-List,” and she came on the show as a guest one year. As soon as she came on, it was just super fun.
KG: I think I stayed the whole show.
AC: If you had tried to leave, I wouldn’t have allowed it. I started working New Year’s Eve because I find it dreadful in New York. You can’t get a cab, and Uber is four times the normal cost. There are lines for everything. So, I volunteered to work.
KG: I wanted Wolf Blitzer.
AC: I love doing the show with her. I actually look forward to New Year’s Eve.
KG: All the higher-ups at CNN love me, too. They fire me every year.
PG: Really? I thought they only banned you once for potty mouth, then un-banned you.
AC: In all honesty, every year they say: “Why are we doing this?” It’s on the Drudge Report the next day ——
KG: And they always want me to apologize. And I won’t.
PG: But that’s one of the best qualities in your work, Kathy: your relentlessness. You’re like a lawn mower going over a canvas sneaker.
KG: Guess who’s the canvas sneaker, Anderson?
KG: Don’t be fooled. I get yelled at during every commercial break.
AC: You get cautioned, not yelled at.
KG: There have been times when you’ve said, “Please don’t talk about that.”
PG: Why do you put up with this nonsense?
AC: Because I’m genuine friends with Kathy, and she’s funny as hell.
KG: You don’t possibly think you could do it by yourself, do you? Because if you said that, I would take your Ralph Lauren suit, shred it and send it back to Ralph, personally.
AC: No, I cannot imagine doing the show without Kathy.
KG: Now hold my hand.
[He takes her hand grudgingly.]
KG: See? You don’t know what it takes to get him there. How about when I make you walk through the crowd every year?
AC: Because she’s freaking obsessed with Ryan Seacrest.
KG: Only because you think he’s a real person. And I know he’s a robot. And I will happily call him right now and tell him. Watch: Anderson is already texting an apology.
AC: That’s not true.
KG: Only because Ryan dumped you.
AC: That’s true. I used to have his number, but now I don’t.
PG: Before you were publicly out of the closet, did Kathy’s teasing you about sex on the show bother you?
KG: That’s not fair! Listen, I know two straight guys: my boyfriend and my dad. So, if I talked to Anderson like a gay guy, I didn’t mean to out him, I was just talking the way I talk.
AC: Why would I care what other people say?
KG: He only cares about what people think he looks like. He’s much simpler than you’re making it.
PG: Were you this tough as a kid?
KG: When I walked down the halls of my school, the boys would bark and call me “Dog.” I’m a comedian. How do you think I was as a kid? I felt terrible all the time, so I made people laugh not to get my ass kicked, while the nuns did nothing.
PG: You don’t honestly think you’re ugly, do you?
KG: I’ve gotten pretty. Did you see me two noses ago?
AC: Were you really teased?
KG: Viciously. I have the typical female comedian story. And a lot of it is tied into my looks.
AC: I think I was much more interesting as a child than I am as an adult.
KG: What happened?
AC: My dad died when I was 10, and I got introspective and quiet.
PG: But how do you square that with your career as a child model? You pushed yourself out into the world. I’m sure your mother wasn’t pressing.
AC: Well, there aren’t a lot of ways a kid can earn money.
PG: But why did you need money?
AC: Because I wanted to be independent, on my own.
PG: I don’t understand. You lost your father as a little boy, and your brother killed himself a few years later. I’d expect those things to make you cautious and fearful of more loss. But they had the opposite effect. They pushed you to war zones and jungles and child modeling.
AC: There’s something about experiencing loss very young. My mom used to talk about it all the time because her dad died when she was an infant. In my case, it was my father and brother. You never feel safe, but at the same time, you know everything is possible — both good and bad. That’s why I wanted to protect myself and earn money.
PG: Makes sense.
AC: I wanted to propel myself forward.
PG: It’s the opposite of Kathy. You’re 18, and your parents want you to go to college.
KG: They want me to be a stew.
AC: A what?
KG: A stewardess. You can’t say that word anymore. So they could fly for $50.
PG: But instead, you got them to move to Los Angeles with you so you could break into TV. You brought your parents with you, when most kids want to ditch theirs.
KG: Because they wanted to retire somewhere where they could play golf. The weather was warm in San Diego and Los Angeles. But I knew I couldn’t work in San Diego, so I convinced them there were more golf courses in L.A.
PG: It’s a little contradictory: Naughty girl gets along with her parents. You’re tight with Anderson’s mother, too.
AC: My mother is giving her a dinner tomorrow.
PG: Did you introduce them as a sacrificial offering? Here she is, Kathy, now leave me alone?
KG: That’s my opening line tomorrow night: “Hello, sacrificial offering.”
AC: No, my Mom really loved Kathy on the New Year’s Eve show. So, I put her on the phone when my mother called me afterward.
KG: And I about fainted.
AC: And now they hang out all the time without me.
KG: Gloria invited me to this one dinner, with Wes Anderson and Nobel laureates and Joyce Carol Oates. And they were all talking over my head, and I felt very insecure until Glo said, “Kathy, what’s going on with the Lohans?” Then I held court for a minute because I know everything about the Lohans. Everyone was interested. I was shocked. Like: Joyce Carol Oates wants to know what’s going on with Dina and Allie?
AC: And I don’t make the list anymore.
KG: Anderson gets this little tick when I talk about his mother. He scrunches his hair.
AC: I do not.
KG: Because he knows his mother and I talk about everything, from our own vaginas to other people’s body parts.
AC: O.K., I don’t need to go there.
KG: My goal is to have him email me in two hours: “I can’t believe you said that!”
This interview has been edited and condensed.
We will post highlights from the NYE program when we return from vacation after the first of the year. Most likely Sunday, January 4th or Monday, January 5th. Hope everyone has a fun and safe NYE and a Happy New Year!