Face it, Andy Cohen probably has your dream job. The out Bravo executive vice president concocts programs like Top Chef and Real Housewives by day and hosts a boozy talk show at night. Plus, he’s good friends with Sarah Jessica Parker. But you can have his life: Cohen, who’s coming to Chicago this week to host the Center on Halsted’s Human First Gala, says he offers how-to-make-it-in-the-TV-business tips in his new book, Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture (also out this week). And in case you were wondering, he was voted “most talkative” in high school.
Let’s talk about your book.
It’s the story of me. How I was obsessed with pop culture, growing up in St. Louis and being two inches in front of the TV screen to making TV and pop culture during my ten years at CBS News, all my years at Bravo and now being on TV. It’s kind of a dream-come-true story. And a lot of funny stories that I’ve been sitting on for years.
You had a blog where you dished about your social life, but it was never too gossipy. Do we get any gossip in the book?
There’s just a lot of funny stories, like a pitch meeting I took with Cybill Shepherd where she stripped down to her bra and had me take my shirt off. It was a crazy pitch meeting. There’s one part about me lying to Oprah Winfrey in order to get an interview and kind of getting caught by her.
Whenever you’re in Chicago, I always hear about Andy Cohen sightings in Boystown.
Well, I do like a gay bar.
Will you be making any cameos on this trip?
I don’t know because I’m going to be in the middle of my book tour, and I feel like I’m going to be kind of exhausted. But I’ll do my best.
There’s plenty of drinking on your talk show, Watch What Happens Live. Favorite guest so far?
I loved Rachel Maddow. She was so fun and funny. I had never met her before. I love Jimmy Fallon; he’s always a great time.
What about a dream guest who hasn’t been on yet?
Michelle Obama. I would see if I could get her to do one of these Jimmy Fallon shotskis. He gave me a shotski, and now every Wednesday night we do shots on the show.
You have a lot of celebrity friends, like SJP and Kelly Ripa. Any stories about them in the book?
Nope. Not one.
Do you talk about your date with Madonna? When you guys went to the premiere of A Single Man together?
Will you talk about it with me?
Did she just reach out to you and ask you to accompany her to a movie?
Uh, basically. I don’t know. It’s a long story. Maybe that’s for my next book.
Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture is released Tuesday 8; Center on Halsted’s Human First Gala takes place May 12 at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Find more information at centeronhalsted.org.