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Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture

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Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture

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May 8, 2012


The man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show

From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo's reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie's Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that everyone didn't know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.
The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today's celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.

May 8, 2012

Über den Autor

Andy Cohen is the host and Executive Producer of "Watch What Happens Live," Bravo’s late night, interactive talk show. The series is the only live show in Late Night, and features everyone from "Bravolebrities" to big names in pop culture, including Oprah, Cher, Lady Gaga, Meryl Streep, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Fonda, Anderson Cooper, Ellen Barkin, Kelly Ripa, Diane Von Furstenberg, Mike Tyson, Kareem Abdul Jabar, and many many Real Housewives. He also serves as Executive Producer of "The Real Housewives" franchise and hosts the network’s highly rated reunion specials. Cohen has an active following on social media, where he commands over two million followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. In May 2013, Cohen became a New York Times best-selling author for the second time with the release of the paperback version of his book, Most Talkative: Stories from the Frontlines of Pop Culture published by St Martin's Press. The hardcover, published by Henry Holt, also achieved similar success back in June 2012, spending 13 weeks on the list. Cohen served as Bravo's Executive Vice President of Development and Talent from November 2011 to present. He was responsible for creating original content, developing innovative formats and identifying new talent. He also served as Executive Producer on Emmy and James Beard award-winning "Top Chef." Cohen started at Bravo in 2004 as Vice President, Original Programming and in 2005 he was elevated to Senior Vice President of Original Programming & Development. He upped to Executive Vice President of Original Programming & Development in December, 2010. Since then he has overseen an aggressive slate of unscripted series and specials including hits such as the Peabody Award winning "Project Runway," Emmy winning "Top Chef," "Queer Eye," "Work Out," "Being Bobby Brown," "Top Design," "Make Me a Supermodel," "Blow Out," "Kathy Griffin My Life On the D List," "The A List Awards" "The Millionaire Matchmaker," "Million Dollar Listing," "The Rachel Zoe Project," "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," "Bethenny Ever After," "Tabatha’s Salon Takeover," "Shahs of Sunset," "Flipping Out," and "The Real Housewives" franchises. Previously, Cohen was Vice President of Original Programming for TRIO (pop, culture, TV), beginning in July 2000. He was responsible for developing and supervising all of TRIO's original productions including the critically acclaimed original documentaries "Gay Republicans," "Easy Riders/Raging Bulls," "Brilliant, But Cancelled," and the original series "Pilot Season," "24w/" and "Parking Lot." Cohen received an Emmy award when season six of "Top Chef" won Outstanding Reality Competition Program at the 2010 primetime Emmy awards and has been nominated for 17 additional Emmy Awards as Executive Producer of "Project Greenlight," "Project Runway," "Top Chef" and "Queer Eye." In 2005, Cohen was awarded a Peabody Award for his role as Executive Producer of the TRIO documentary "The N Word" and another in 2008 as an Executive Producer of "Project Runway." Cohen is a regular on the "Today Show" and "Morning Joe" and has cohosted "Live! with Kelly and Michael," "The View," "Anderson Live" and the 10:00am hour of "Today." He has also been a guest on "Late Show with David Letterman," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." Cohen interviewed Lady Gaga for the December cover story of Glamour Magazine. In June of 2013 he was named to Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business List. Cohen has also hosted the CFDA Fashion Awards, interviewed Rihanna live on Facebook, Jerry Seinfeld on, and Martha Stewart at the 92nd St YMCA. In December of 2012 GQ Magazine named Cohen one of the 25 Best Dressed Men of the Year. In 2011 and 2012, he hosted the "Miss USA" and "Miss Universe" pageants live on NBC. Cohen has appeared on the covers of several magazines including Parade, Entertainment Weekly, Hamptons, and The Advocate and has been profiled by The New York Times, Glamour Magazine, Vanity Fair, People and Fortune magazine. In 2012 he was chosen as one of Broadcasting & Cable’s "Digital All-Stars" and in 2010, he was listed as one of TV Guide’s "25 Most Influential People in Television." Prior to working at TRIO, Cohen spent 10 years at CBS News as Senior Producer of "The Early Show," overseeing the production of entertainment segments. Cohen also served as a producer for CBS News' "48 Hours" and for "CBS This Morning," where he produced live segments, celebrity profiles and covered breaking news including the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Andrew, the California wildfires, and the crash of TWA Flight 800. Born in St. Louis, Cohen is a graduate of Boston University where he received a B.A. degree in broadcast journalism. Cohen is currently on the board of directors for charity Friends In Deed and currently resides in New York City.

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  • Alex and her Australian husband, Simon (proud owner of the glossiest red leather pants mankind has ever seen), were from a completely different mold: outsiders striving to be insiders who were breeding their kids for overachievement.

  • I was kicked off the water polo team during our final practice of the season for (guess what?) talking while the coach was giving us a pep talk at the very end of the practice.

  • I held a funeral, invited all the neighbors, and read a eulogy encouraging mourners to go to the neigh- borhood candy shop and buy Pork Chop’s grieving “master” some sweet nib- bles.

  • This was the man who’d been mugged on the street by a disturbed stranger who kept demanding, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?!” (which in turn inspired a hit song by R.E.M.).

  • A good editor, by the way, is the heart and soul of any story, and editors are certainly the unsung heroes of the news business and reality TV as well.


Most Talkative - Andy Cohen



I’m standing on the corner of Sixty-seventh and Columbus Avenue in Manhattan waiting for a meeting that will change my life. It’s December 11, 1987. I’m nineteen years old and about to have my first encounter with a celebrity. Not just any celebrity. The Queen of Daytime, and my first diva: Susan Lucci.

I fell in love with Erica Kane the summer before my freshman year of high school. Like all red-blooded teen American boys, I’d come home from water polo practice and eat a box of Entenmann’s Pop’Ems donut holes in front of the TV while obsessively fawning over All My Children and Erica, her clothes, and her narcissistic attitude. My sister Em and I even got my mom into the show. Which was a coup because Evelyn Cohen doesn’t suffer fools: She gets the New York Times—not Soap Opera Digest—delivered to our house in St. Louis. And in general, Jewish women don’t tend to sit around watching soaps. Don’t ask me why.

Dinner conversation at the Cohens’ meant my sister, mom, and I relaying in brutal detail the day’s events in a state of amplified hysteria, while my father listened to his own smooth jazz station in his head. After dinner, my dad would rejoin the living, and I would inevitably hear the three words I dreaded more than anything else: Wanna play catch?

No, I did not want to play catch. Ever.

I would turn to my mom for a reprieve, who would instead give me a look that was simultaneously threatening and begging. Just humor your father and go TOSS THE DAMN BALL! I got out of it most times by just making a run for it and sliding into my home base, in front of the TV.

Susan Lucci was the biggest star in the daytime galaxy, and she served it up hot and fresh and chic five days a week. Before there was Joan Collins’s Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan on Dynasty, there was Erica Kane Martin Brent Cudahy Chandler Montgomery Montgomery Chandler Marick Marick Montgomery on All My Children.

A few months earlier, the professor in my Boston University news writing and reporting class assigned us a feature story and challenged us to nab an interview with one of our idols. He said if we got someone good, we could get our article published in the BU newspaper. Finally, my ticket to something big—a byline—and a chance to meet and interview one of my two idols: Susan Lucci or Sam Donaldson.

I didn’t say Sam Donaldson just to impress my professor, either. I really loved him. During the Reagan years, he was the only member of the White House press corps who actually asked the man a direct question and held him accountable. (To this day, when I’m interviewing someone, I try to channel Sam. Of course, today my hardest-hitting interviews are usually with Real Housewives.) My admiration for Donaldson aside, when you give yourself two celebrity options on an assignment like this, you can bet that the one without the weird hair system is going to win every time.

I wrote Lucci’s publicist an impassioned declaration of love, which secured me an interview, which was then postponed … multiple times … until this day. Fearful that I was one more postponement away from cancellation, I woke up at 7 a.m. and began calling that publicist’s office to nail down the details and get my instructions for the day. All I knew was that I was supposed to meet Susan Lucci. The rest was a mystery, and I wanted it solved. I dialed and dialed and the phone rang and rang. By 9 a.m. I was convinced this interview, like the others, wasn’t going to happen. But I was already in New York City! I couldn’t go home empty-handed. Ruefully, I decided that Sam Donaldson’s publicist never would have blown me off, if Sam Donaldson indeed even had a publicist. Probably not. Sam Donaldson was too down-to-earth, and there’s no way a publicist would have just let that hair thing go.

Three hours after I’d begun, I deliberately punched in the now memorized sequence of numbers in a last-ditch effort. One ring. Two rings. Three, four, five, six, seven … and then someone, an assistant I guess, finally picked up. I was told to report to the ABC studios on the Upper West Side at 12:30. And that’s how I learned that people in New York don’t start working until 10 a.m. How cushy.

I get momentarily dizzy when I see the marquee that says, In Pine Valley, Anything Can Happen. Of course, I’ve arrived outside the studio an hour early wearing bar mitzvah attire: button-down, paisley tie, sport jacket, and a trench coat that could have been from the Mini–Dan Rather Collection. My hair is more awkward than normal, as I’m in the midst of growing it out to Deadhead perfection. I tamed the Jewfro when I woke up, but its stability is threatened by the humidity of an unseasonably warm December day.

But I haven’t shown up with sixty minutes to spare just to stand around and gawk like a tourist. I have something else on my agenda. In addition to the Lucci interview, I’m working on a creative writing paper examining whether Pine Valley is an accurate representation of society. (Just the sort of deep topic my parents expected me to be exploring when they signed my enormous BU tuition check.) I’ve brought my tape recorder to nab on-the-street interviews with actors from the show.

Occasionally a Pine Valley resident walks out of the stage door and I first internally freak out (OMG IT’S CLIFF!), then attack them with my recorder. I see myself as a Sam Donaldson type; they probably see me as a John Hinckley Jr. type.

IS PINE VALLEY AN ACCURATE REFLECTION OF SOCIETY?! I yell at every familiar face in a high-pitched panic. They are all initially terrified and must take a moment to process what is happening: overly hyper kid with tape recorder and ’fro yelling stupid question. Once they realize I’m probably not going to shoot any of them to impress Jodie Foster, I get quick interviews with Donna, Cliff, Ross, Travis (who has dried shaving cream on his ear), and even the man who plays Palmer’s butler, Jasper. Their answers are gripping—Not really. No. Maybe.

At 12:30, euphoric after my journalistic ramp-up to the main event, I walk into the building and announce that I’m there as a guest of Ms. Lucci. Susan Lucci, I say, triumphantly. I am Andrew Cohen and I am here to see Susan Lucci.

The guard nonchalantly mumbles into a microphone, and his voice crackles over a loudspeaker, Susan Lucci, guest in the lobby. I am stunned at his informality and offended by his lack of respect when summoning the actress who plays Erica Kane.

I wait in terror, convinced that something, yet again, will go awry: I’ve gotten the day wrong, or Ms. Lucci’s changed her mind. Or it could go exactly as I’d imagined—a minion would appear to spirit me away to Erica Kane’s penthouse lair. After a couple of minutes, the double doors open, and she glides toward me. Susan Lucci. Radiant. Confident. Really, really small. Like, child-sized, even. My moment of disconcertion at how this person who is larger than life to me could be so alarmingly pint-sized is short-lived, as she opens her mouth to speak.

You must be Andrew, she coos.

She is wearing a red knit dress, red hoop earrings, black heels, a full-length mink coat, and massive sunglasses. Her hair is teased three stories high: a masterpiece of eighties glamour and engineering.

I finally stammer out something that sounds like HI!

Well, I hope you like Mexican food, Andrew, because I’m taking you to lunch, she purrs.

In fact, I hate Mexican food. I have a lifelong aversion to beans, and I wanted to see the studio. On the other hand: Susan Lucci and I are going to lunch? On a date? ¡Me gusta!

"Oh my god, I looooove Mexican food!" I scream.

The publicist shows up just as we’re walking out of the building. She’s tall, wearing a butter-leather jacket, with frosted hair pulled back, a smoker’s voice, and an air of cosmopolitan authority. We walk a few blocks to a restaurant called Santa Fe. On the way, some nutbag on the street asks Lucci if she received his card.

Your card? she asks. She seems concerned. Oh nooo, I didn’t! I’ll check with the guard, she says very sincerely, turning to me with a wink. She and I know she’ll not be checking with the guard. I’m in on the joke with Susan—on the inside of inside. I marvel at her ability to be tolerant and kind with this weirdo, making him feel as if he really matters to her, treating him as nicely as she’s treating me. As we get further down the street, a guy in a truck yells, Erica Kane! We love you! She waves. I imagine little cartoon birds fluttering down to pick up the hem of her mink coat so it doesn’t drag on the ground.

At the restaurant, we sit down at the table, and Susan and her publicist start talking quietly about a photo shoot that’s coming up, and Susan says that ABC has finally gotten it right. Susan is happy. I can’t believe how super-confidential their convo feels. There is a business behind this soap I’ve spent my life ogling from my seat on a sofa in the middle of the country, and it is fascinating. I zero in on what Susan said about ABC finally getting it right. What was wrong before? I wonder. Was Susan unhappy with ABC? Perhaps, as our friendship deepens, she will learn that she can trust me enough to confide in me regarding these matters. Strictly off the record, of course.

By the time they remember I’m there and turn to me, I’m convinced that my hair has expanded at least an inch in diameter since Sixty-seventh Street.

They ask me about my major, my goals. I am absolutely bullish on my future, and tell them awwwwlllll about it, while they sit there, nodding patiently, smiling patiently, and agreeing patiently. I tell them that I’m a sophomore Broadcast Journalism major and I want to be the next Dan Rather. Then, hearing myself say that and realizing that Dan Rather barely ever goes through an interview blathering about his hopes and dreams, I abruptly start reading from a list of questions I’ve prepared about Erica Kane:

"Is Erica modeled after Kate in Taming of the Shrew?"

How will the pregnancy story line affect her?

Who is the love of Erica’s life?

(These are all perfectly fine questions. What I won’t know until years later when I re-listen to the interview—yes, I recorded every word—is that I interrupt her every answer to tell her what my mother and I think will happen. In fact, I talk about my mother constantly. Thank God, I got over THAT! My mother would hate it.)

The waiter comes. Lucci orders a cheese enchilada and a chicken enchilada. Her publicist orders the same. I order a beef taco, and, feeling very capable and adult, I firmly tell the waiter that I do not want any beans on the plate whatsoever, and the waiter does not question my decision.

Emboldened, I turn to Susan and ask her the worst thing Erica ever did. She says, Kill Kent.


She giggles. This is a man I can talk to!

Susan Lucci called me a man.

We get into a great conversational rhythm. It’s a real interview. I ask about the red knit dress she’s wearing. It is her own, not Erica’s, she says. I lament the injustice of her eight Emmy losses and question the legitimacy of the Daytime Emmy judges. She is humble and grateful, as though it is her first time discussing this travesty. Near the end of the interview, I ask her what her salary is. And quickly apologize, telling her my professor made me ask. (Asking a difficult question while simultaneously apologizing is a skill I will implement twenty years later with the Housewives.) I feel so triumphant about asking the question that it doesn’t register that she never answered.

When all the enchiladas have been consumed and all of the questions have been asked, I give her a BU sweatshirt and she carries on like I’ve presented her with a diamond ring. Oh, Andrew, you couldn’t have brought me anything better. It is so soft! I can’t get over how soft it is. I love sweatshirts!

In my letter, I may have promised the publicist that this would be a cover story in the BU Free Press, not what it really is: an assignment for a class that I’ll pitch to the paper. But post-lunch, feeling chummy and in the club, I am comfortable clarifying that the feature is not exactly locked. That comfort curdles, however, when the reaction on the publicist’s face indicates this is the number one most wrong thing to say. Yet I can’t stop myself, next telling them, I’m such a huge fan that I probably would have lied about the story altogether just to get a seat at a table with Susan Lucci! I’m a runaway train of misdirected enthusiasm and late-blooming honesty.

The publicist’s face only grows more contorted.

I quickly change my story. This is a guaranteed cover! I assure them. Amazingly enough, this seems to get things back on track. They in turn assure me that they can provide color art, which is a magical-sounding phrase that I later learn means We’ll send some slides to the paper. (The piece will eventually run in the Daily Free Press, saving me from my white lie.)

The check arrives. Susan and her publicist compliment me for being well prepared, and I realize our time together is coming to an end. I begin angling to go back to the set with them. Susan tells me—sweetly, pityingly, of course—that visits like these are set up months in advance, and it’s not going to be possible today.

I’m devastated. I actually might cry. I’ve waited six years to get on the inside, and just as the door has opened, it’s slamming shut again. I keep it together and refocus on Susan’s radiance.

She asks where I’m from.

I tell her I grew up outside St. Louis.

Oh, St. Louis! There are very bright people outside the coasts, she proclaims. Her publicist agrees! At any other time, at any other table, I would have been highly offended and preached from my soapbox about the spirit and intelligence of the Midwestern people, but because Susan Lucci said it, I feel … weirdly vindicated. Perhaps the St. Louis tourism bureau could use her words as a tagline—There are very bright people outside the coasts!

In front of the restaurant, we take photos and say good-bye. As I watch Susan Lucci disappear down Sixty-ninth Street, I wonder if I’ll ever see her again. I wonder how my life will ever take me back to this place, where I can sit with an idol and talk about something I love. I feel the tears I pushed down moments before welling back up. I don’t let them. Instead, I run to a pay phone on Central Park West so I can report the day’s news to a string of people. Starting with my mother.

I didn’t know it then, but I’d end up working at CBS News and having a front row seat for every pop culture and news-making event of the 1990s, meeting nearly every idol I’d had as a kid. I didn’t know I’d go on to be ringleader to a fabulous galaxy of women starring in a real-life soap opera. And I definitely didn’t know that this would not be my last encounter with Ms. Lucci. But sadly for me, none of our other meetings would go as well as our first. In the TV business, that’s what we call a tease. So, stay tuned.

The bar mitzvah photo. Oy.


I hate hearing about other people’s childhoods. Unless you Mackenzie Phillipsed your way through high school, chances are I won’t care about your first kiss. I promise this part won’t be long and I will try to make it relatively painless, like my childhood itself. And I’m not writing about my first kiss; it was uneventful and with a girl and that’s about all you need to know.

I was a good kid, but I’ve had one Achilles’ heel that’s stayed with me through the years: talking. I simply could not shut the fuck up—I still can’t—and that small issue has gotten me in all sorts of trouble. For instance, my third grade teacher, a rigid old redheaded German battle-ax, was so appalled by the volume (and relentlessness) of my voice that she made my entire class write Screaming Causes Cancer fifty times on a piece of paper that we then had to tape to our desks. Now, my mother is a take-no-prisoners kind of woman, a pint-sized fight-for-what’s-righter who is often inclined to march somewhere and give somebody the what-for, and when I let that story spill at the dinner table, Evelyn Cohen demanded a next-day sit-down with the Fräulein and the principal. At the meeting, that sour Kraut informed my mother that beyond becalming my loud voice, she should have me reading The Runaway Train instead of The Secret Garden, a book I loved and read over and over. Then in the next breath she told my mother that my father should be spending more time with me. Mistake.

My mother went into action like this more than a few times. For instance, in high school, I was kicked off the water polo team during our final practice of the season for (guess what?) talking while the coach was giving us a pep talk at the very end of the practice. He dinked my teammate Jeff Goldstein, too, and our parents were furious—at the coach, not us. At dinner that night my mother shrieked at my poor dad: What are you going to DO about what’s happened to YOUR SON? She wasn’t going to be happy until my dad kicked the coach’s ass with such conviction that he let me back on the team in his last gasp of breath. But my father failed in his effort to get me reinstated on the team, thus enduring years of ribbing from my mother. I’m glad you weren’t sent to negotiate during the Iranian hostage crisis, Lou. You’d have GIVEN THEM MORE AMERICANS! Are you listening to me??? By the way, it probably bears pointing out that for my part in getting kicked off the team, I suffered no punishment. I was particularly skilled at getting out of punishment, and usually did so by slowly winking at my mom while she was in mid-yell. It stopped working postpuberty, and now pretty much the only winking in my life is from Vicki Gunvalson during RHOC reunion shows.

My talking was legendary among my extended family as well. Once I talked for two days straight in the backseat of my uncle Stanley’s station wagon as it careened toward the west coast of Florida. I was probably fourteen, on a road trip with my sister Em and our cousins, and in my boredom, I came up with the brilliant idea of using Em’s hairbrush, with its clear plastic handle and black bristles, as a microphone into which I did a constant play-by-play of the trip, with no commercial breaks. I sang pretty much every mile marker—"mile marker two-hun-dred and sev-en—from Missouri to Georgia. I did the weather, monitored goings-on in other cars (Hairy man in pickup truck to our left is picking a winner! Does he have a problem?), and interviewed the other passengers. I reported" on various tidbits of information I’d picked up at Camp Nebagamon that summer, like the rumor that Diana Ross was actually a bitch to the other Supremes.

There were plenty of other things I could have done in that car besides broadcast the station wagon news. I had the new Go-Gos cassette and against my mom’s orders had brought my favorite book, a history of I Love Lucy, which I’d checked out of the public library (again) at the beginning of the summer, each renewal more and more upsetting to my mom. I thought it was great that I was showing an interest in something—even if that something was Lucy’s offscreen relationship with Vivian Vance. (According to this book, Lucy demanded that Vivian be twenty pounds heavier than she during the run of the show. That didn’t seem like a friendship to me!) My mother had told me she never wanted to see that pink book in my bedroom again. It wasn’t pink, it was salmon, but I instinctively resisted the temptation to correct her. After all, I was the boy who, just a few years earlier, used to go door to door in my neighborhood with a broom and ask if I could sweep people’s kitchens.

Back to the car trip. I kept on talking. And talking. I honestly thought everyone was enjoying my commentary, until the truth came out at a Ruby Tuesday’s off the highway in Georgia. My aunt Judy expressed her displeasure not by saying, Shut up, stop talking into the hairbrush!—which I totally would’ve understood. No. My aunt—my own flesh and blood by marriage—dumped an entire pitcher of iced tea over my head! Okay, maybe she had asked me to shut up for the love of God once or twice before that. But maybe she should’ve said it more like she meant it. Anyway, I was shocked.

I sat and sulked in the backseat for the rest of the trip to Sarasota. My bitterness was accompanied by a growing panic about the TV situation that awaited us at the condo. Every year before one of these trips I’d make my parents triple-check that there’d be two TVs in our condo, but sometimes the condo owners lied. Here was the awful problem: Not only was my aunt Judy the type of person to douse me with beverages, she was also the type of person to watch Days of Our Lives, and my cousin Jodi had inherited that defective gene. Days came on at exactly the same time as All My Children. How could we watch both our shows when they were on simultaneously? I knew I would be outnumbered, forced to watch a daytime drama of inferior quality, at peak tanning hour, no less. For the life of me, I didn’t understand the appeal of Days. It was all fantasy and improbable plotlines. I hated NBC soaps. And Days looked especially weird to me, like the tape was old or gauzy or something. (You do NOT want to get me started on CBS soaps—so dark!) ABC soaps, in case you care, were bright and urban and smart—at least that’s what I preached.

I don’t even remember what happened that year when we arrived at the condo. Maybe there were two TVs and everything was fine. Maybe I missed an entire week of AMC because I was moping in my room, or because my aunt drugged me with Dramamine even though we were no longer driving. I’m not saying she definitely did, I’m just saying everything is a blank and I wouldn’t put it past her.

I do know that I probably spent some time enjoying the company of my cousins, because we were close and we shared a certain passion. Jodi and I wasted a solid year and a half portraying Donny and Marie in her parents’ bedroom. We danced in unison routines, performed witty banter, pretended to skate around the room like the Ice Angels, and sang I’m a Little Bit Country and May Tomorrow Be a Perfect Day. Her brother Josh was a drummer and Em played a supporting Osmond. I loved doing impersonations. My specialty was the Reverend Ernest Angley, who wore a white suit and a big toupee and healed people. I often took my Reverend Angley act out onto the street and preached around the neighborhood. From my perspective it was a big hit, though now I wonder what people thought of the screamy little Jewish boy pretending to be a Bible Belt preacher.

Lording over the remote in what looks like a moment of deep pubescent

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  • (5/5)
    This was a great book. I felt like I was sitting right there next to him as he tells me how he got where he is today.
  • (4/5)
    I was first attracted to this book because I saw Andy Cohen promoting it on The Colbert Report, and I thought he was easy-going and funny. Even though I don't watch The Real Housewives, I was still interested in the stories Andy had to tell.And my goodness, does Andy Cohen have some stories! For Real Housewives fans, know that this is a memoir. Though he talks about the show, it's not all about it. But Most Talkative has something for everyone, I think, as it's mostly about Andy's path from intern to producer and the funny situations and obstacles he encounters along the way. Who hasn't embarrassed themselves, and who hasn't messed up at work? His stories are easy to relate to and you'll have a laugh while hearing about them. There are some truly funny moments, and there were situations that made me shake my head in embarrassment for him. But the upbeat and self-deprecating way in which he tells about it lessens the empathetic pain.The narration took me a bit to get used to. In terms of telling a story, Andy talks a little too fast for me. At first, I kept getting confused because I often missed what he said, but after a couple of chapters, I got used to it and had no problems with it. I did love the fun, easy-going style his narration has. He takes time to make asides and directly address the listeners, which I also loved. It fit in with the tone of how Most Talkative is written, and I didn't feel like I was listening to a memoir, really. It was more like sitting down and listening to a friend recount old stories. And that's the brilliance with this audiobook, I think. Andy talks to the readers just like they're old friends, so I instantly felt a connection with him and was with him the whole way through. I felt his pain through the difficult stuff and felt the elation with the successes. I definitely recommend the audiobook over the printed version for this one. Andy Cohen has a lot of personality, and it shines through his narration.*In exchange for my honest review, I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox's Solid Gold Reviewer program.*
  • (3/5)
    Andy Cohen turned out to be a much better author than I would have expected. This book delighted me with humorous stories of how he worked his way to the top (of BRAVO) and impressed me with a level of sensitivity in delving into challenging historical issues (ie: coming out of the closet, Russell Armstrong's alleged suicide, the Salahi-White House dinner scandal and others).

    Cohen's love affair with Susan Lucci was precious, and her repeatedly classy responses to him clearly and ironically reflected a blatantly missing element from BRAVO's "Real Housewives" franchise(s). Lucci played a part throughout this book, so it seemed confusing to me that this text was dedicated to Madonna, who was mentioned only once or twice. Susan Lucci deserved more, especially given the time and space allocated to her throughout several pages. I could not help but wonder if Andy did this purposely to mimic the absurdity of Lucci being nominated 19 times before being awarded, finally, for her role as Erica Kane.

    Another disconnect I had was that there were some sections of the book that seemed unnecessary and only though they served only as filler. As such, they (along with the Lucci non-dedication) caused what could have been a five-star rating from me to drop to that of three. I liked the book; but, I wanted to love it.
  • (5/5)
    I won this book as part of Early Reviewers. I have to say, I went in this not really knowing who Andy Cohen was, and came out wanting to become a regular viewer of his show! The book chronicles Andy's rise to fame, and talks about his entire career from an intern at CBS to being the executive producer of The Real Housewives series. I found it to be a funny quick read and shared just enough information about the celebs he's come into contact with. He is a good writer and I thought this was much more entertaining that some of the memoirs Ive read. The book reminded me of a blend of Wade Rouse and Bossypants (Tina Fey). I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a fun read!
  • (5/5)
    Listening to Andy is like sitting at his feet! It's a must read for any bravo lover!
  • (1/5)
    Vapid. Utterly vapid. He seems devoid of conscience. Extremely shallow. And boring.
  • (4/5)
    good, wish there was a bit more about the housewives
  • (4/5)
    Andy Cohen is Bravo’s executive vice president of Development and Talent and the executive producer of several shows on Bravo, in addition to hosting Watch What Happens Live and Love Connection.Most Talkative is Andy’s life story from his childhood growing up in St. Louis up through 2012 when this book was published. Hi primary focus is his professional life. He includes some funny celebrity anecdotes from when he worked at CBS. For instance, he’s a Susan Lucci super fan and his encounters with her over the years are amusing. He’s also a huge Oprah fan and has had a few, shall we say, interesting encounters with her. One of them didn’t go so well and he’s not afraid to be truthful and take the blame.To be honest, I chose this book because my secret shame is that I have recently become obsessed with The Real Housewives of Orange County, the first installment of The Real Housewives franchise that Andy produces. Unfortunately, although he does write about the origin of the series, he doesn’t go into any juicy details about the individual housewives on RHOC. He does have some tidbits about some of the other housewives shows. And he does write in depth about how the death of Taylor Armstrong’s husband was handled on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Fans of that show will appreciate that I’m sure.Even though I didn’t get the dirt I was looking for, I definitely enjoyed this audiobook. Andy reads it himself and if you’ve ever watched him on TV, you know that he is high energy and engaging. He’s the same way reading this book.He has written two more books since Most Talkative was published: The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year and Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries. I plan on listening to those as well just in case they have the behind the scenes info I’m looking for. I’ll keep you posted!
  • (3/5)
    Part of me can't believe I read this (although part of me doesn't want to admit to watching the Real Housewives either). This book isn't deep (although he does almost go there when he talks about coming out) and it isn't the best memoir I've ever listed to but its fun and mindless and gives you a little bit of an inside scoop into a world that we all (don't kid yourself -you too) are a little bit fascinated by.
  • (3/5)
    Disclaimer: I really didn't know who Andy Cohen was when I picked up this audiobook. I don't watch a lot of TV, and I can't recall anything specific that I may have watched on the Bravo network. But when this audio came my way, it seemed like it would be a humorous memoir, so I grabbed it. Andy Cohen narrates his own audiobook. I initially found his voice annoying. However, I got over that fairly quickly and found myself more or less enjoying his retelling of his entrance into the working, and ultimately, the entertainment world. His whole "coming out" was interesting, and he has a good sense of humor. There was a lot of name dropping throughout the book, but given that this is a memoir based largely on television production, I supposed that's to be expected. Honestly, I was enjoying the book until about 2/3 of the way through. At that point it became all about The Real Housewives. If you're a fan of the show (I am not, and I'm not sure that I was even aware that there was such a show), you might get into this part of the book. If not, you might as well stop at that 2/3 mark. I found the descriptions of the show, the wives, and their behaviors petty & childish, and it didn't pique my interest in the least. So ultimately, that last portion of the book ruined it for me. Had Cohen referenced this portion of his memoir in a more general way, I may have found it more appealing. And granted, The Real Housewives were really what kicked him into the spotlight & made him "famous", but unless you're a die-hard fan of the show, it certainly wasn't the best-written section of the book.
  • (2/5)
    Andy Cohen is a hometown boy from St. Louis, so I wanted to read his memoir of making it big on the Bravo network. The first part of the book as when he talks about his childhood, and his coming realization that he is gay is delightful. His story about his non-stop narration of a road trip to Florida with his aunt and uncle using his uncle's hairbrush as a "microphone" had me laughing out loud. Similarly, his tales getting his start on CBS's morning show also make for fun reading.However, the second half of the book, which deals in nauseating detail of his creation of the many permutations of the "Real Housewives" franchise is only for the hard-core addict, which I definitely am not. This book is only for that show's hard core fans.
  • (3/5)
    Cohen's personable reading style is the selling point of this frothy autobiography. Listening to him, I was convinced to try watching the Real Housewives shows. Too bad I couldn't get through an entire episode, I just can't watch real women be bratty to each other on tv for a full hour.
  • (4/5)
    Only complaint is it isn't long enough!
  • (3/5)
    I'm going to sound like a TOTAL nerd, but I had to google who Andy Cohen was before I read this. I've never watched Bravo (too poor for cable) or the The Real Housewives and apparently I'm pop culture stupid because I've never heard of Andy anywhere else though. All that being said I still enjoyed this audiobook a great deal. Andy narrated it himself and he did a GREAT job. He's a hilarious narrator and his accents and voices are too funny. Plus he includes tons of tidbits and extra material just for the audiobook version (a real plus!). Andy's memoir reflects back on his youth, his love for All My Children, coming out as gay, becoming a celebrity and much much more. It's funny, poignant, eye rolling, and attention grabbing all in one go. A definite must listen for all fans of pop culture!
  • (4/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    I never really knew Andy Cohen.... until now.I had seen the RHNJ reunion, and when I taped the early AM showing of Top Chef sometimes it would catch the last few moments of WWHL. That's all I had known of Andy Cohen. I knew I'd like him, just didn't take the time to watch more. That's why I wanted to read this book, and I'm so glad I did.Getting to know this man, who he is, where he came from, and what drives him was great. I felt like if I was in school with him, that we'd be friends. His interests from soaps to news and just tv in general and walking his journey with him made me feel like he was real. That may sound silly but I usually like to keep some tv personalities in their tv bubble.He really told his story well and kept me engaged throughout the whole book. I admire his drive to fulfill his dreams. I admire his strength in coming out.If you like tv and more specifically reality tv. Take the time to get to know Andy - you'll be glad you did.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (4/5)
    I'm a big Bravo fan, so I was really excited to get this book! The beginning moved a little slowly. It was mostly about Andy's early life and overcoming his fear of people knowing his sexuality. As Andy starts his career, it becomes obvious that he was made for this type of business. He knows his viewers, and he knows what makes great T.V. What I enjoyed the most was the fact that Andy is really just a Super-Fan himself. Reading his book was like having a phone conversation with a friend that had somehow made it backstage to all our favorite shows, and wanted to give me all the gossip. Andy Cohen is proof that you really can make a career out of doing what you love; even if what you love most is watching television.
  • (4/5)
    I first saw Andy Cohen when he hosted the reunion show for Bravo TV's Flipping Out, a reality show about house flipper/designer Jeff Lewis. I wondered who this Cohen guy was and from where he came.Cohen is an executive at Bravo TV, and besides foisting on the American people The Real Housewives of (insert one of many cities here), he also hosts Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, a crazy nightly talk show that has counted among its guests Jerry Seinfeld, Ralph Fiennes, Holly Hunter and every real housewife. Oh and they frequently drink on that show, so it's hilarious.I confess that I used watch the Housewives franchise (NY, NJ, Atlanta, Beverly Hills), but it began to consume me, so I gave it up. (I still like Flipping Out.) I won a copy of Cohen's memoir, Most Talkative: Stories From the Front Lines of Pop Culture, and I have to say I was utterly charmed by this book.He begins by recounting his interview with Susan Lucci, (Erica Kane of All My Children, Cohen's and his mother Evelyn's favorite soap opera) while a student at Boston University at the time. He also ends his book with another Lucci encounter, and it is the perfect way to bookend his pop culture life story.Cohen interned at CBS News, and ended up working on CBS This Morning for a decade. The show was the lowest rated of the morning shows, but I found this section of the book the most interesting. His story about accompanying Dan Rather on a story about western wildfires was fascinating, although I recently read Rather's latest memoir and Cohen is sadly not in it.There are lots of pop culture references here, including Cohen's obsession with Oprah Winfrey and the few times he got her to agree to interviews did not go well. He has his own Ah-ha moment when he learns that trying to trick Oprah is a big mistake.Fans of the Housewives shows will be enthralled by his chapter on hosting the reunion shows. He gives the reader the inside scoop, and even though I swore off the Housewives, I admit to enjoying this chapter immensely.Cohen's love for Battle of the Network Stars took me back to my childhood and love of the show. He even tried to emulate it with Bravo's version, Battle of the Reality Stars, which didn't take off (and that is probably a good thing.)There are some serious moments here too, and Cohen struggling with telling his friends and family that he is gay really tugs at the heartstrings. I think anyone who is going through the same thing (or has gone through it) will get something from this book.The only chapter that fell flat for me was the one about pulling pranks on his mother with his best friend; that was the only miss in this delightful book.The book is very funny, reading it is like sitting down and listening to Cohen tell you his life story, warts and all. You can hear his distinctive voice and see his head tilting in your mind as you read of his delightful walk through pop culture. I think the audio version of this book would be amazing.rating 4 of 5
  • (3/5)
    I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't quite it. The book reads like someone's diary entries, almost. It seemed like he was writing it more for himself than anyone else, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm finding it hard to find anything to say about this book, since it was rather bland. There was nothing terrible about it, but nothing great, either. I think this would have been a much more entertaining book (for me) if I was more interested in his sort of sordid pop culture. I didn't really know who Andy Cohen was when I requested this book, it just sounded sort of fun and I like some pop culture stuff... just not the same stuff Cohen does. If you like Real Housewives and soap operas and that sort of thing, I think you'd enjoy this book. Maybe you'd even squeal along with the author as he recounts his experiences. It just wasn't really my thing.
  • (4/5)
    I really liked this book! Although I like autobiographies, this is not something I would have picked up in a bookstore; however, when I saw it as one of the potential Early Reviewer picks, I thought that I'd go ahead and check it off. When I won a copy, I decided that it would be a great right-before-bed book. As I've mentioned in another review or two, I am not someone who likes to go to bed early; when I find myself heading up around 11:30 so that I can read an extra few chapters of my current book, then I know it's a good one. What did I like about it? Well, for one thing, I really, *really* loved the relationship that Andy has with his family. It has become so typical to bash one's family that I have begun to think I am an exception in that I not just love, but actually enjoy being with my parents and sisters. It is clear that Andy loves his parents - his mom is a central figure (and his way of portraying her evoked several laugh out loud moments for me) throughout the book, and his dad, although not quite as obvious of a personality and sometimes a bit befuddled in his understanding of his son, is clearly a loving and guiding force. Similarly, Cohen's long-standing relationships with friends show a close-knit group providing loving support. Both the relationships and the way Cohen writes about them show a side of Cohen that I did not expect. To be honest, I didn't know a lot about Andy Cohen before reading this. I've a fan of Top Chef and Project Runway, but only recently became aware of the reunion shows. And, not being a watcher of the Real Housewives series, I didn't have the same exposure to him that I might have otherwise. What little I did know gave me an impression of someone who was a little bit too cocky, a little bit too enamored of himself. (And I swear I had no idea about the public school children incident until I read this.) Anyway, How wrong I was! (Or, as Evelyn would say: HOW WRONG I WAS!) Instead, he makes fun of himself throughout the book, talks about very mockable subjects with more fondness and appreciation than meanness, and comes across much more as the underdog than anyone would expect given the success (obviously earned) he has had in his career and his overall confidence and affability.[Spoiler alert] The part that wasn't all fun and games, of course, was his coming out story -- or, rather, stories -- although I have to say that my biggest laugh came from his mother's reaction: "I wasn't so much worried that you were GAY, but that you were an AIRHEAD." It was obviously a traumatic time and his concerns about how his closest friends weren't entirely unfounded, although for reasons other than he'd expected. What I loved the most about this is that, despite where Cohen now sits, he is still very much the pop culture fan -- and he's not afraid to say it. As a fellow pop culture fan, I think I'll be seeking out his Watch What Happens Live and other reunion shows. Thanks to him, I might even start watching a Real Housewife or two.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed this book, which is why I gave it to my best friend to read. I think he'll enjoy it, too. Perhaps more - I think he may have seen a couple episodes of one of the Housewives series... The only part I didn't like of the book was the section on the Housewives, since I really couldn't care less about them. I found the rest of the book very interesting and engaging and think Andy's story is entertaining and interesting.I definitely recommend it for pop culture fans - especially if you like the housewives, since it'll probably interest you even more.
  • (4/5)
    One word - REFRESHING!!! A Fantastic read! As a fellow Missourian I was not sure what to expect when I first opened the book. As I progressed through the book here are some thoughts that I had jotted down - "Hilarious" "I love the play on words" "Jewish version of confession" "Brutally Honest" I would highly recommend this book for anyone who appreciates a not-so-serious review of one's early life! Bravooooo Mr. Cohen! I cannot wait to read about the next 40 year's worth of adventures in your life!
  • (3/5)
    Andy Cohen's memoir is full of the self deprecating humor that has made him one of today's pop culture icons. The book is witty, entertaining, and even a bit surprising. I've only known Andy from The Real Housewives reunion shows and Watch What Happens Live; I had no idea that he spent 10 years as a producer for various CBS shows. I had no idea that he was involved in any part of the television business aside from being a TV personality. While the book was a quick, light, enjoyable read, I was hoping for a bit more gossip. Andy didn't really reveal any pop culture tidbits that I didn't already know. Another downside to the book was that I just can't find Andy Cohen to be a likable personality. He portrays himself to be a loud, juvenile, fame-obsessed person, and consequently, I thought that large parts of the book came off as loud, juvenile, and fame-obsessed.All in all, it was a decent book, but not one that I would ever buy myself. I'd advise getting it out of the library if you're interested, because (in my opinion), it is not a book that needs to be read more than once.
  • (4/5)
    This book is very fun! I'm admittedly never really been a fan of soaps (unless you count the summer I got very into the Tabitha/Timmy story line on Passions) or The House Wives of (insert geographical location here), so I was a little out of the loop in a few of the chapters. But it was still fun! As a fan of both pop culture and self deprecating humor, there was still much to be enjoyed in the book. The only thing that bugged me about this book were the little smiley faces in between story breaks in chapters. They were sometimes a little jarring, when the story was something of serious nature. But other than that, it's a quick fun read I'd recommend picking up.
  • (3/5)
    This year's minor celebrity memoir, chronicling Andy Cohen's rise from intern to TV producer and occasional host, and his brushes with stardom along the way. As one would expect, it has a boy-next-door tone. If you have followed Watch What Happens Live or The Real Housewives, you will enjoy the behind-the-scenes perspective.
  • (5/5)
    I won this book as part of Early Reviewers. I have to say, I went in this not really knowing who Andy Cohen was, and came out wanting to become a regular viewer of his show! The book chronicles Andy's rise to fame, and talks about his entire career from an intern at CBS to being the executive producer of The Real Housewives series. I found it to be a funny quick read and shared just enough information about the celebs he's come into contact with. He is a good writer and I thought this was much more entertaining that some of the memoirs Ive read. The book reminded me of a blend of Wade Rouse and Bossypants (Tina Fey). I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a fun read!
  • (4/5)
    Fun and funny book to read. Andy obviously dgaf & has his own way of doing things. I enjoyed that it wasn't all Bravo and his life at the network. I enjoyed reading up on and learning about the path that got him to where he is now, the mishaps along the way, the people who were there along the way.I love the fact that he built up to the Housewives rather than lead in with what he is most well known for at this stage in his life. I enjoyed the memoir and the stories about his life on the journalist side of things starting out, mistakes made, how to save face when things don't go the way they were planned.Going through reviews I've seen, I'm kinda laughing that people are upset it's not more Housewives driven.. The book is called Stories From The Front Lines of Pop Culture. It's not called Andy Cohen Reads The Housewives & Makes A Bitch CryIf you wanna know about the housewives, they pretty much all have their own books, go read those
  • (4/5)
    This early review book that I got chosen to read seemed to be written solely to gossip about the Read Housewives series of shows produced and aired by Bravo Network. Andy Cohen is the executive producer of many of these shows and has some sort of staring role in part of the shows. Although I have seen teasers for them on Bravo (probably while watching re-runs of the West Wing) I have never watched any of them or been interested in any of them.The first 3/4 of the book is about Andy's coming of age in real life and in the television industry. Most of the book is funny and heartwarming. He came of age in the 80's, about the same time I did, and he also came out at that time. His memoir concerning these early years and his rise through the ranks and his coming to understand his sexuality was really quite moving and powerful. I have a close friend from this time who I imagine was also thinking and going through some of the same things as he came out. I loved it. I laughed aloud many times. I really felt a kinship with Mr Cohen. Of course, as you might imagine, the last couple of chapters, all about shows that I have never seen (nor do I want to after reading this) was not very interesting to me at all. It might be to you if you watch them yourself or have seen Mr Cohen on a late night show he emcees. I do recommend it, mostly for the for first parts of the book in which he grapples with his own life and how he plans to live it.
  • (4/5)
    If you love pop culture, Bravo, or the Real Housewives series (the only one I don't love), pick this book up. The story of Andy's Cohen rise to "stardom" is full of fun and foibles. He is adorable and funny. I really enjoyed his story and can totally understand how The Real Housewives series came to be....
  • (4/5)
    The first time I saw Andy Cohen on TV, I didn't know who or what he was. I thought he was just some guy they dragged off the street to ask nosy questions of the Top Chef gang. As I found out more about him, like that he was a producer and not just a "pretty face", and that he was from St. Louis (as am I), I started to pay more attention when he was on Bravo. But I still didn't know much about him.After reading this book, I know a whole lot more about him and I find myself really liking him. Not only is he from St. Louis, but he is proud of the fact and loves his hometown. He likes gingers. He hates when Boston University spells the word "programme". He is an instigator and practical joker. I liked the fact that you find out things like this about him, rather than have the entire book be a look-who-I-know celebrity dish. I liked that he comes across as self-effacing, instead of egotistic. The book was light, frothy, and a quick read. Really enjoyable. (One note though: If you've never watched the Real Housewives (I haven't), and don't know anything about them (I don't -- not a point of pride; I just don't), you can skip the chapter about them. You'll be lost and mildly bored.)
  • (4/5)
    This book made me sad. Because I love Bravo and I have always enjoyed Andy on Bravo and I no longer have access to the Bravo Channel. Boo. But it also made me happy because Andy is just as warm and entertaining in his book as he is on tv. I especially enjoyed learning about his childhood and his struggles coming to terms with his sexuality and the reactions of his family and friends. His utter honesty about himself and his own personality was refreshing. And I loved hearing about all his adventures in the world of pop culture. It was a quick read, but as another reviewer said, that was in part because it was so enjoyable.