Thursday, June 07, 2018

Anderson Cooper 360 on Thursday, June 7, 2018

Anderson Cooper anchored AC360 from the NYC studio in the 8pmET hour.

We found three articles on Anderson & Andy's upcoming AC2 shows.  First from the Orlando Sentinel ~

Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen: This isn't CNN

Hal Boedeker
Contact Reporter Orlando Sentinel

When Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen brought their stage show to Orlando two years ago, the event raised funds and spirits after the Pulse nightclub attack. When “AC2 — An Intimate Evening With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen” returns this month, the men say the show will have more energy and new stories.

Yet they will repeat their greatest hits, including Cooper’s physical comedy, a bit far removed from his CNN anchor duties.

“Andy always says this is the best version of me,” said Cooper, 51. “It’s the version that my friends get to see. It’s not something you see on television. It’s a looser, outgoing, fun version of me.”

“Watch What Happens Live” host Cohen, 50, explains that Cooper is “not wildly outgoing in real life.” But Cooper is different in “AC2,” in which the gay friends share stories about their lives, travels and careers. The two will perform June 16 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.

“He’s like incredibly outgoing, as you would need to be, to hold the stage,” Cohen said. “He’s also way funnier than people would ever think he could be.”

One highlight is Cooper’s physical shtick in bowing to queenly country singer Wynonna Judd.

“I am still doing that. That seems to be a crowd favorite,” Cooper said.

“Anderson’s physical comedy is surprising and excellent,” Cohen said.

Cohen has his own Judd story. Naomi, Wynonna’s mom, invited Cohen to Thanksgiving. When he said he was spending the holiday with his family in St. Louis, Judd eerily predicted: “Your blood will turn on you.”

Cohen’s update: “They still have not turned on me.”

Cooper adds, “Every Thanksgiving, I call him to see if it’s happened yet.”

The last time in Orlando, Cooper and Cohen dropped names, including Madonna, Shaquille O’Neal, Mariah Carey, Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey.

As the show ended two years ago, Cohen handed Cooper lines to read — words you will never hear the anchor say on CNN.

“I may be a silver fox, but that doesn't make me any less of a cougar,” Cooper said then. The journalist, who is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, also read: “I don't keep up with the Vanderbilts — I am the Vanderbilts.”

“That is one of my most miserable moments during the show,” Cooper said, adding he wants “to avoid saying anything like that, which is why Andy enjoys it so much.”

Cohen happily agrees that his goal is to make Cooper uncomfortable. “I do pretty good,” he said.

“I would say he’s batting a thousand, but I don’t really know what it means in terms of the sports analogy,” Cooper said. “He makes me uncomfortable all the time.”

People don’t really know what to expect from the show, Cooper said. “We do call the show ‘Deep Talk and Shallow Tales.’ There’s not that much deep talk,” he said.

Yet Cooper speaks frankly about loss in poignant ways. His father died when he was 10, and his brother later committed suicide. “I learned early on the language of loss,” Cooper told the audience two years ago, adding there is no timetable for grief.

“People don’t talk much about grief. That’s one of few serious parts of show,” the CNN anchor said. “I do get a lot of feedback from people who are in grief now. … It’s a nice thing to be able to talk about openly.”

Cooper and Cohen take questions from the audience, and they can provide updates on recent TV work. The two hosted the New Year’s Eve show on CNN. Cohen keeps busy with the “Real Housewives” shows and “Watch What Happens Live” on Bravo. Cooper’s recent reports include a high-rated “60 Minutes” interview with adult film star Stormy Daniels, who said she had a fling with Donald Trump.

“It’s not really a political show,” Cohen said. “We talk in a humorous way about the similarities between how politics has become reality television and what I do in reality television.”

But both men said that the audience isn’t coming to hear politics. “I think they’re coming to take their minds off things and to laugh,” Cohen said. “That’s what we want to do for them.”

A good night is just hearing the laughter, Cooper said. “I’m not a stand-up comedian, but just to be a storyteller telling funny stories and have the audience react in real time is amazing,” he said.

Cohen added: “It’s like going out to a bar with us and hearing our best stories.”

From The Charlotte Observer ~

Anderson Cooper abruptly ended this interview, but we (and Andy Cohen) understand why 

One never knows where a conversation with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen might lead.

Cohen (the Emmy Award-winning host of Bravo’s late-night interactive talk show “Watch What Happens: Live” and “The Real Housewives” executive producer) might talk affectionately about Cooper’s giggle. Cooper (the Emmy Award-winning CNN anchor and correspondent for CBS’s “60 Minutes”) might make a joke about them starring in an ice-skating show together.

The chemistry between the two old friends, the freewheeling banter, the “where-will-they-go-with-this-next” feel of their interactions — that’s exactly the appeal of the show the duo is bringing to Charlotte’s Belk Theater on Friday, June 15.

“AC2: An Intimate Evening With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen — Deep Talk and Shallow Tales” is an unscripted, uncensored night of conversation that features the journalist and the late-night talk show host interviewing each other about pop culture and world events and taking questions from the audience. They’ve presented the act in select cities around the country for the past three years.

Our recent phone conversation with the two ACs featured an ostentatious entrance by Cohen and — thanks to a breaking news story — a hasty exit by Cooper. In between? Lots of banter that should give you a pretty good idea of what their show here will be like.

Q. How’s your day going?

Cooper: It’s going OK. I just flew back to New York. I was down in Virginia doing this town hall last night but just got —

Cohen: (Joins the call.) Hi!

Cooper: Andy has arrived.

Cohen: The money has arrived!

Cooper: (Chuckles.) Is that how you’re referring to yourself now?

Cohen: Yeah, the money, that’s how most people refer to me.

Q. Well, to start with, could you just give me the elevator pitch for the show?

Cooper: I mean, so many people always say to us that they’d like to go out for a drink with us, and that’s really what the night is like: It’s hanging out with us having some drinks and just telling funny stories. ... I think for both of us, it’s really not even work. We just love doing it, and it’s so much fun, and the audiences seem to have a great time. There’s really nothing like the energy of standing in front of 2,500 people or however many people it is, making people laugh and telling stories and interacting with people.

Cohen: Absolutely. We love it. It’s a great night out. I think people are often very surprised how funny Anderson is. It’s almost like I’m the straight man on stage and he’s the humor. He really comes alive and you see a different side of him.

Cooper: Andy always says it’s the best version of me, which is probably true.

Q. Is he funnier than you, Andy? Or as funny?

Cohen: Umm ... yeah, he is.

Cooper: I think it’s ‘cause people don’t really expect me to be funny, ‘cause they don’t really see that obviously on the news. They expect it from Andy, so it’s one of the surprises of the night, I think, for people. One of many.

Q. So I understand you guys only do 10 or 15 dates a year. How did you decide Charlotte would be one of them this time?

Cohen: It’s actually been on our list from the beginning. But it’s hard, because of both of our schedules.

Cooper: Yeah, Andy doesn’t like to work in the summer, so we usually take July-August off. We have Charlotte and Orlando, and I think those are our last until the fall.

Cohen: Oh, he’s just merciless about the fact that I don’t want to do this tour over July and August. I mean —

Cooper: I like traveling with Andy. So, you know, it —

Cohen: I do too, I’d just rather travel with you for leisure during July and August.

Q. I know you two have told the story of how you met probably about — I don’t know, at this point, how many times do you think you’ve told it?

Cohen: A lot. (Chuckles.)

Q. So it’s probably perfect by now, right?

Cooper: Yeah, I mean, I assume you would like to hear the story?

Q. Absolutely.

Cooper: Basically, we have mutual friends, and because we both worked in news at the time, and we were both kind of starting out in news, they kept saying, ‘Oh, we should get you together, we should get you together.’ And so finally we had a phone call to set it up, and I just knew within less than a minute that I was never gonna go on a date with Andy Cohen.

Cohen: OK, OK. Alright.

Cooper: (Chuckles.) Andy hates this part. But yeah, he was just very enthusiastic, and ... I’m a little introverted, so it just came on a little heavy. And he violated my cardinal rule asking me about my mom, within the first minute. (Cooper’s mother is heiress Gloria Vanderbilt.) That’s a red flag. I mean, usually if it’s like 10 minutes in, OK, I can see that. But a minute in? Seemed a little early. He just seemed to be chomping at the bit.

Q. If he hadn’t brought up your mom at all, would there have been a date, or were there other things going on there, too?

Cooper: I think there probably would have been a date. I mean, I could have dealt with the enthusiasm. You know, I would have said, ‘Oh well, maybe he just —’

Cohen: God forbid you go on a date with someone who’s enthusiastic! (Gasps.)

Cooper: (Laughs.) So yeah, there probably would have been a date if not for that. But it worked out all for the best.

Q. When was the next time your paths crossed, and how did that conversation go?

Cohen: We kept running into each other, and we have a lot of mutual friends, and then we have some mutual friends who travel together, so we wound up going on some trips together. That’s where we really got to know each other well, over the years. When you travel with someone, that’s kind of the best way to really get to know someone intimately.

Q. Anderson, were you quick to give Andy a second chance?

Cooper: I mean, not a romantic second chance. But certainly when we started traveling together, I saw how genuine he is and how funny he is. Andy is just as you see on TV: He’s the life of the party, and he makes a room come alive when he enters the room. He’s just got this infectious energy that you want to be around. ... He’s also a very good friend. He’s very loyal and gives great advice. Then as he started moving from behind the scenes to actually being on camera ... it was nice to know somebody else who works in live television. And though we work in different subject matter — although it’s become, as Andy will tell you, increasingly similar — it’s just nice to have somebody else who’s going through the same pressures or the same experiences.

Q. And Andy, what would you say drew you into the friendship?

Cohen: Oh, he’s a really interesting guy. He’s fun to talk to. He knows a teeny bit about a lot.

Cooper: What did he say? (Chuckles.)

Cohen: I’m just kidding. No, he’s one of the most interesting people I know. And I love making him laugh. He’s a fun person, he’s got a great giggle, and there are great rewards when you make him laugh, so I enjoy trying to do that.

Q: Is it hard for you to make him laugh?

Cohen: Uh, no, he gets pretty giggly around me.

Cooper: I mean, in general I’m pretty reserved, but yeah, Andy definitely brings something out. I think we have a really interesting chemistry.

Q. So now that you guys are becoming known as a duo — you’ve done well on this tour, you’ve been to dozens of cities at this point, you co-hosted New Year’s Eve for CNN — what other things could you guys see yourselves doing together in the entertainment realm?

Cooper: Well, we’re working on an ice show. Like an Ice Capades kind of show.

Cohen: A-ha-ha.

Cooper: No, I’m kidding. We’re not seriously doing that.

Cohen: I don’t know, I feel like we’ve pushed it as far as we can. I mean, Anderson is a serious journalist and I am a serious muckraker, so I think the intersection of New Year’s Eve and this stage show is kind of the limit.

Cooper: And Andy’s got a ton of stuff going on. I am just a small part of his enormous empire.

Q. You both have a ton of stuff going on — busy lives and schedules. So when you’re not off traveling to a show together, or on vacation together, how do you two stay connected? I mean, do you text each other every day or talk on the phone regularly?

Cohen: Yeah, we text each other a lot, we talk on the phone a lot, we see each other at the gym, we’re in pretty good contact.

Cooper: Yes, I’ve already seen Andy once today at the gym, and we’ve texted probably three or four times already this morning.

Q. At the gym. So do you do the same workouts?

Cohen: Mine’s a little more intense, I think.

Cooper: (Laughs.) I knew he was gonna say that. I don’t know that that is actually true. I think Andy spends a lot of time talking to his trainer. He seems to do Instagram stories a lot while he’s working out. So I’m not sure how intense it actually is.

Q. Going back to the show itself, has the structure of it changed much over the course of the three years?

Cooper: We’re always adding and taking out stuff depending on what’s going on in our lives. There are certain stories that people really like and we know the audience really responds to, but we try to keep it to stuff that people haven’t heard from us being on TV, or we show some videos that we don’t show on TV. We want it to be really unique things. And it’s nice — if you go online to try to find out about what’s in the show, you won’t hear very many of the details. Audiences have been really great about just coming and having it be this intimate evening without being on the Twitter machine and communicating what we’re doing.

Q. And how much room is there for spontaneity during the show?

Cohen: Oh, a lot. ... We also open it up for questions at the end of every show, so in every city, the personality is different, the tone is different —

Cooper: Hey, you know what? I’m sorry, I’m getting beeped from my office (about a major breaking news story). I gotta jump off.

Q. No worries. I totally understand.

Cohen: Bye, Anderson.

Cooper: Alright — thanks, guys. Bye. (Hangs up.)

Cohen: There you go. That’s what he does. He always has to leave. ... Anyway, so like I was saying, we do about 20 minutes at the end where people can ask us anything.

Q. And what’s the most out-of-left-field question you’ve gotten from an audience member?

Cohen: Oh my gosh, there’s almost nothing we haven’t been asked, to tell you the truth. I mean, they ask very personal questions. I’ll answer pretty much anything. Anderson kind of sometimes punts to me. I mean, at his core, he’s a journalist. He can be very silly, but sometimes he needs to keep it together.

From ~

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen backstage with Pulse owner Barbara Poma at the first benefit. (COURTESY OF SARA BRADY)

Spotlight: Cooper, Cohen — and Good Company 
The award-winning journalist and the late-night talk show host invite fans to tag along for an intimate, onstage happy hour.

“I hope you know,” I tell Anderson Cooper, when his voice comes onto the other end of the line, “that never in a million years will you be able to pay for your own drinks in this town.”

Not that the CNN broadcast journalist of the silver hair and sober mien is actually much of a drinker. When Lady Gaga talked him into knocking back a glass of Jameson, he became too woozy to continue his interview with her. He may qualify as a man of the world and look like he could play James Bond, but he didn’t know the ingredients of a martini—shaken, stirred or otherwise—until Anthony Bourdain enlightened him.

So it’s safe to say that Cooper is less likely to indulge than either the people in the audience or his Fresquila-sipping, pop culture-dishing best friend, Andy Cohen, when they return to the Dr. Phillips Center on June 16 with another installment of AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen. The nationally touring, pop-up happy hour gives the award-winning newsman and the Real Housewives reality-TV pioneer the chance to mock each other with faux interviews, show mutually embarrassing film clips, and dispense the latest celebrity intel.

“People are always telling Andy and me they wish they could hang out with us some evening,” says Cooper. “That’s what we try to make this feel like.”

Cooper will forever be remembered by Orlando viewers for his sensitive reportage of the Pulse nightclub tragedy two years ago. He and Cohen also brought AC2 to Orlando two weeks after the attack as a benefit and a way to help the community heal.

He is, typically, in the middle of an exclusive of national significance during our 20-minute conversation, calling from a phone in the editing room where his 60 Minutes interview with presidential porn star Stormy Daniels is being pieced together. That’s the day job. AC2 is more like a paid vacation. Ordinarily, if politics and current events come up either as part of the loosely scripted show or as Cooper and Cohen field questions from the audience, it’s likely to be handled minus the gravitas and hand-to-hand combat of the news-hour scrum.

“The evening is time out from all that,” he says. “I’m enmeshed all day long in my work. So is everybody else. People like to have a night off, put politics aside, have a laugh whether they are gay people or straight people, Democrats or Republicans.”

Escape is somewhat of a theme in Cooper’s life. He is a Vanderbilt on his mother’s side: When, as a little boy, he was shown the statue of his great-great-great grandfather Cornelius that stands in front of Grand Central Terminal, he took it as evidence that when old people die, they turn to stone. But he’s embarrassed by his carriage-trade genealogy and has no interest in inheriting the fortune that’s part of the package: It has been arranged that he won’t get so much as a cent from the mother he adores, 94-year old fashionista and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, and he’s fine with that, having eschewed trust-fund-baby status in favor of the millions he’s accumulated on his own in his journalism career.

His ratings are enviable: Anderson Cooper 360 is CNN’s top-rated prime-time show. His interview with Daniels netted the iconic CBS in-depth show its biggest single-episode audience in more than a decade. But having spent half his life as a talking head, Cooper, who describes himself as “painfully shy,” is positively giddy – well, what apparently passes for positively giddy if you are Anderson Cooper – about spending an evening with a rowdy crowd and a wingman who gives him the giggles.

“Being on stage in front of a live audience, getting that immediate response – it’s not staring at a camera. It’s intimate. That’s an extraordinary feeling for an introvert like me.”

He has been covering tragedies ever since deciding, at 24, that he wanted to be a foreign correspondent. It was a choice driven by both ambition and desperation. As he explains in a poignant memoir, Dispatches from the Edge, he was trying to outrun his grief at losing his older brother, who had committed suicide by leaping from the balcony of his family’s 14th-floor Manhattan apartment.

Cooper kicked off his career single-handedly, buying a home-video camera, drafting a friend to forge a press pass for him, and flying to Myanmar to cover a revolution. His footage there and elsewhere was eventually picked up by networks, and he has since covered the likes of a tsunami in Sri Lanka, mass starvation in Nigeria, battles in Baghdad and Bosnia, and, back in the U.S., flooding in New Orleans.

But among all those tragedies, his compassion and hard-fought composure in covering the Pulse nightclub attack has a place all its own.

Cooper, the second network news correspondent in the country to come out as gay (MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was the first), had just arrived in London for a brief vacation when he heard about the attack and asked CNN if he could return to cover it.

He adheres to a personal policy of never uttering the name of an attacker in mass shootings on camera. Instead, in a shaky but resolute stand-up outside the nightclub, he recited the names of all 49 victims of the massacre and delivered a brief biographical sketch of each. Somehow, he made it all the way through.

When he interviewed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, he challenged her about her track record on gay marriage. When he interviewed Christine Leinonen, whose son, Drew, was killed in the attack, he held her hand from start to finish.

“I wasn’t even aware of doing it,” he says.

“I didn’t know I needed it. But he knew,” remembers Leinonen.

He later did the first in-depth interview with Pulse owner Barbara Poma on the anniversary of the attack.

“He’s my favorite, and he was even before Pulse,” says Poma. “He is just an amazing human being.”

It’s tempting to view Cooper as the brains of AC2, and Cohen, whose most recent book is Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries, as his comic-relief sidekick. Not so, says Cooper.

“We couldn’t be any more different. I’m shy, and he’s the life of the party. He’s an optimist and I’m a catastrophist. But people are a little surprised when they discover how thoughtful he is.”

It was actually Cohen’s idea to bring AC2 to Orlando for the 2016 benefit, which raised $240,000 for the OneOrlando Fund. Like Cooper, his success represents a gay rights milestone: He is the first openly gay host of a network talk show, Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. Also, like Cooper, he’s not afraid to take a stand. He was slated to emcee the Miss Universe pageant that Donald Trump staged in Moscow as a way of currying favor with Russia in 2013. But he wound up resigning from the show as a protest against that country’s institutionalized prejudice against gays. Among other things, the peacock insignia of NBC, one of the sponsors of the event, was broadcast in black-and-white because it was feared its rainbow colors might represent a gay-friendly vibe.

Though the two have both recently ended long-term relationships and often vacation together, they say they’re not romantically involved. “Eww – awkward,” says Cooper, when the question comes up.

The inspiration for the onstage Cooper-Cohen partnership is a bit of a shadowy, “Luke, I am your father” origin story: An agent, mentioning the successful two-man talk-show tour of comedian Dennis Miller and conservative Bill O’Reilly, suggested that the two of them could put something similar together.

Thanks to O’Reilly’s dismissal from Fox News after the revelation that he had paid $50 million to settle several sexual harassment lawsuits, the Miller and O’Reilly tandem is no more. AC2 is still going strong.

“I feel like what people will wind up seeing on this show is the best possible version of myself,” says Cooper.

You could argue that we’ve had a pretty good view of that already.

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1 comment:

noonwyn said...

Wow! thanks for all three articles. I think the orlandomagazine one is the best but they were all interesting.
Just heard about Anthony Bourdain'death and by suicide! Must be really hard for Anderson. I do not know if they were very close but the segments with the two of them in a restaurant were always so much fun, especially those in Anderson's kitchen.