By Lesley Rousso
As most you know, I’m a big Bravo TV fan and an even bigger fan of Andy Cohen. I’ve met Andy twice, here in Miami when I attended his book signings at Books and Books. For the last couple years though I’ve been dying to visit the Clubhouse and be an audience member on Watch What Happens Live, Andy’s late night talk show, which airs live most nights on Bravo at 11pm. His guests range from your favorite Bravolebs to your favorite Oscar winners to Lady Gaga. The show revolves around Andy chatting it up with two guests (usually), while playing silly games and having cocktails. Tickets to a taping are hard to come by if you don’t know someone or have three grand to drop to get them. (Yes, you can purchase them through CharityBuzz.com which is a fabulous auction site where you can bid for tickets to this and many other experiences. It’s a pretty cool concept if you have some f*ck you money lying around, burning a hole in your pocket.) Anyway, lucky me, I have a friend who has a friend. This friend happened to get me tickets on the night of my birthday when I would be in NYC. I almost couldn’t take it. I’m not kidding, I seriously did a happy dance in the middle of my kitchen. My children were visibly amused and mortified all at the same time.
Finally the big night came and it was much needed after the difficult week we had previously. Time for a little fun. I had my hair blown out at DryBar, put on a cute outfit and off we went. We hopped in a cab and headed to Soho. The studio is in the oddest location. It’s inside a very nondescript seven story building that houses a small college. There’s a really friendly security guard who checks you in. He asked us if we were guests or audience members. Now that’s pretty funny! Even funnier he seemed t have no idea who Andy Cohen is and said he’s never seen him. Explains why he thought Darren and I were on the show.
After our interesting encounter with the guard, we took the elevator up and got off on a floor that reminded me of a medical building, very unassuming for a well known late night talk show. We walked back to Embassy Row Productions where the Clubhouse is, well, housed. The door was open to a small waiting area with a reception space that doubled as a bar. There was a sign on the bar that offered the choice of cocktails. You could have Andy’s patented Fresquila, a combo of Fresca and tequila; or a Mazel, which consists of Vodka, OJ, and cranberry juice; or a Whiskey Gingey, which I’m sure you can guess is a whiskey and ginger ale. I love my tequila but I’m super picky which is only because I’m allergic to silver tequila. I’ve tested the theory, it’s no joke. So while I was having my pre, put on my makeup, get dressed drink, I opted for vodka and continued the trend with a couple of Mazels and Darren had a couple of Fresquilas, minus the fresca. It’s cool to go to a show and have them give you a cocktail. It’d be cooler if they didn’t serve Svedka vodka, sorry, not sorry (it’s like lighter fluid). You’d they could spring for some Absolut or Ketel One. They are a television network after all. You know there’s no Svedka in the green room.
The waiting room which backed right up to the studio started to fill up. Darren decided to step out to the bathroom, which was right there in the hallway. Think office building bathroom you need a key for without the key. He exited the bathroom and says, “Andy was just in the bathroom with me, I talked to him.” I’m all, “Yeah right” and he’s all, “No seriously.” I had never been so jealous in my life. I decided to go into stalker mode and lingered in the hallway. Then, out of the bathroom comes Andy! What did I proceed to do you ask? Was I my cool and calm self? Nope, I audibly gasped. He looked right at me like I was nuts.
Shortly after my little momemt we were led into the actual Clubhouse. It is seriously the size of a pin. My bedroom is bigger. Hell I think my bathroom is bigger. The seating consists of three benches and four barstools. The guests on this particular night were Liam Neeson and John Benjamin Hickey. We were psyched, I mean Liam Neeson, that’s a major A lister and I love Hickey too. I continued to act like a fool when Andy asked if there were any questions before the show. I yelled out, “it’s my birthday!” That’s almost as bad as “I carried a watermelon.” Again I got the side eye as he said, “Happy Birthday!”
The staff continued to serve drinks during the show (I’m warning you, if you ever go to a WWHL taping, go to the bathroom. You are not allowed to get up once the cameras are rolling.) During the commercial breaks, interns parade in and out with props for games and more drinks for the guests. Those are the drinks from the real bar, in real glasses. Wacha, who I saw being carried in the hallway gets brought in during the last break. The best way to describe it? Just so fun. It was kind of rushed at the end so I didn’t get a pic with Andy, which sucked. At 12:02 am however I did get an unsolicited birthday tweet from Mr. Cohen and had a running twitter convo with him the next day. Obviously my gasp, my birthday blurt, whatever my husband might have said to him in the bathroom made a lasting impression. Bucket list item…check!