My Night in AC-Andy Cohen Talks Live with Anderson Cooper

Hoping to meet Andy again for a better photo op. (and a job..pick me Andy, pick me!)

Hoping to meet Andy again for a better photo op… (and a job..pick me Andy, pick me!)

On Friday November 14th Bravo fans flocked to the 92nd Street Y on New York’s swanky UES (that’s Upper East Side for you out of towners).  The crowd, like so many I have been a part of, was there to meet a Bravoleb but this was no ordinary Bravolebrity, and it wasn’t even an ordinary meet and greet. This was the pen-ultimate Bravolebrity appearance. The fairy godfather of the Housewives himself, Andy Cohen,was taking to the stage to share a few laughs and promote his new book The Andy Cohen Diaries , with…wait for it…Anderson Cooper.

Dandy Andy and The Silver Fox (as I’ve heard the other AC is called in some circles). Thank The Lord for my guardian former intern That Housewife Guy (Brent Osborne) who knows by now that half the time I’m so buried in my to-do list that I miss these opportunities unless they are placed right in front of my face. This was one ticket that I didn’t mind buying. Let’s face it, I’m not “comped by Andy Cohen” successful…yet. The $70 ticket got me entry to the event and the book. It also got me seated in the balcony next to some cackling battle-axe who smelled like offensive old lady perfume and shushed me when I arrived (late as usual). (Go ahead and flame me folks, but I stand by that I’m not mean, I’m honest!)

Due to traffic that made our last mile to 92nd street take 25 minutes, we missed the grand intro and entrance, but luckily our books, all copies were sold out, were still waiting for us. So was a lot of fun and gossip. Andy and Anderson will probably hate me for saying this, but their chemistry is amazing. They know each other so well and it’s tough not to wonder why they aren’t together in THAT way. They talk a lot about their adventures with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. (Seriously…can we be sure they aren’t in some best kept entertainment industry secret love connection?)

Anywho Andy divulged much from his Shallow Year that is outlined in the book. His audience question answers, however aren’t. So I took some notes:

*********************ENTER OUR LATEST GIVEAWAY AND SAVE ON SOME OF MY FAVE PRODUCTS!  **************************************

If Andy could do an all-star Housewives cast it would include Nene (Leakes), Vicki (Gunvalson), Teresa (Giudice), Lisa Vanderpump, and Bethenny (Frankel). Speaking of Bethenny, she initially came back to Bravo trying to pitch a new show. It took some time, but Andy planted the seed that eventually brought her back to RHONY. Though Andy likes to showcase large personalities on TV, he himself would never do a reality show, though he loves doing Watch What Happens Live, and knew he had made-it when the show was picked up for 5 nights a week. Somebody you will never see on WWHL is Howard Stern. Apparently they have tried and Stern thinks he is too big for The Clubhouse. However, Andy still aims high even after his Oprahcalypse. His wish list includes Madonna (who he once was on the same plane with) and Michele Obama who said she may do it late second term.

I tried to get a question about Housewife divorces delivered, but that bad breathed old hen next to me made it impossible for me to get my index card to the usher. It didn’t matter however, because I got my moment. After the show Andy agreed to sign all the books in the audience. I wonder if he had known how many books there were if he would have still done that. Alas, a benefit to being stuck in the way back of the balcony next to Madame le Stench, those front rowers were screwed! We got a decent spot in line, and though there wasn’t much time to take a decent picture, Mr. Cohen did stop mid signature while reading my post it. “Are you on Twitter he asked?”

“Yes, I’m The Bravo Blonde, I have a blog where I write about your shows.”

“I know you! I know you from Twitter,” Andy exclaimed, excited to see somebody he sort of recognized in that crazy sea of fandom.

“Yes, and you know my Miami writer, Lesley Rousso, Mommy Rou.”

“She came to my show!”

Then I was shooed off by a guard but not before I was able to say, “My goal is to work for you!”

See Andy, I can dream big too!

Here’s What Happens…

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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!

Kathy Wakile Shows Her Sweet Side

imageAs many of you know I love to cook, especially bake. It’s a skill I learned very young and I’m always looking to expand my culinary knowledge. So when Kathy Wakile announced she would be publishing some of her recipes for the magnificent bite sized treats she’s always showcasing on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, I made a note on my mental wish list. I mean, I have had this woman’s cannolis at more than one event and they literally are to die for!

The book, Indulge (St. Martin’s Press) recently released and the Wakiles, yes Richie is by his wife’s side every step of the way, are on a book tour. On September 11th they held a book signing event at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ. Kathy answered questions from fans and foodies, along with one nervous newlywed who claims she can’t cook beyond Easy Mac. Kathy assured her that there are recipes for cooks at every level in Indulge (which she wrote with Miriam Harris).

Broken into reimagecipes by season, so that we can use the freshest and most abundant ingredients, Indulge is a treat in itself with vibrant photos of food and family. In the audience was Kathy’s own niece, who had driven over an hour to surprise her aunt who she fondly remembers with the 80’s big hair and a “lip phone”. As Kathy said to me, cooking for others is the fastest way to “make people happy.”  I believe the beautifully bound Indulge will help bakers of all abilities make many people happy…but don’t go looking for the cannoli recipe…as sweet as Kathy is, she’s still smart about her business. Read on to find out what else she told me…

 

TBB: How many recipes are in the book?

KW: There are over 75 recipes in the book. I didn’t count them, but I know there’s over 75.

TBB: Which one is your absolute favorite and why?

KW: You know, that’s like asking me which on of my kids is my favorite (laughs). I’m only kidding! I think the lemon tiramisu or the lemon cheescake are really my favorites taste wise, just because I love lemon, but there’s a really sentimentel one, and it’s called Figs In a Basket. It has a lot of sentimental significance to me.

TBB: Because…

KW: …because the day after Rich and I got engaged my mother and father invited his family over for dinner. At that point our families didn’t know eachother really well and my parents spoke with an accent and his parents spoke with a different accent. After the dinner was over we all went out to the deck and my father presented my in-laws this big basket of figs and their eyes just lit up like “these people are just like us.” There was this mediterranean commonality. It meant so much. It was the best harvest we’ve ever had with the figs. After that (my father) planted (figs) in their yard too. It was just a really nice day.

TBB: How long did the process of writing Indulge take?

KW: Over a year, a long long year. It took a lot of time.

TBB: You have such a passion for baking, any cooking shows in the works?

KW:  You never know, you never know! I am working on some things right now so we’ll see what happens!

TBB: What recipe should beginning bakers try first?

KW: I think the apple crumble is just the perfect thing for a beginner to do and if you don’t like apples and you want to substitute it with peach that will work too.

TBB: Have you been watching the new season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey?

KW: Yeah, I’ve been watching.

TBB: What are your feelings on the new cast members?

KW: I haven’t gotten a chance to get to know Amber (Marchese) too well, I only filmed with her a little bit but Nicole (Napolitano) and Teresa (Aprea) I got to know and I like them, they’re a lot of fun. I honestly think it’s hard when you’re invested in a previous cast and their families. It’s hard being the new kid on the block, being the new kid at school, and I feel for them because I was the new kid at school too but I think they’re a lot of fun.

TBB: I have to ask, has your other famous cookbook writing cousin congratulated you yet?

KW: No, no comment.

***Stay tuned to TBB as we will be testing one of Kathy’s recipes!…Ok probably more than one!