Andy Cohen Fills Us In on Real Housewives Casting and His Gig with Anderson Cooper

Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper waver between being a likely and an unlikely pair. One is a grey-haired gay man who is famous for his late-night TV show, on which he interviews celebrities about their personal lives. The other is a white-haired gay man famous for being an anchor on his CNN news show, on which he interviews important politicians. After being set up on a blind date and realizing it wasn't going to work romantically, the two found something better and deeper: a platonic love and a way to capitalize on it.

Cohen and Cooper have been traveling around the country for AC2, described as "an unscripted, uncensored and unforgettable night of conversation." The two will interview each other and tell fun stories about their lives Friday at The Pavilion at Irving Music Factory. Audience members can ask questions and get scoop on pop culture and world events, two things the men know something about.

We chatted with Cohen ahead of the show. Read on to learn more about Cooper, the Housewives, and that big New Year's Eve special — but not Kathy Griffin. That was off limits.

Do you and Anderson tell the same stories on every stop?
Variations. It depends. Yeah, many of the same stories, but the show has changed and evolved. We've been doing it for three years. We add stuff in; we take stuff out. The videos change that we bring. We have two new videos this time in Dallas that we're doing.

How do you keep it lively when you're telling the same stories?
We really just feed off the audience. They're great stories. We just like to make people laugh. The show is not political; it's just fun. I've seen people be really surprised by how funny Anderson is.

Are there serious stories as well?
Yeah, a couple.

What is the secret, then, to working with a friend? Does that ever get messy or complicated?
We play off each other really, really well. We play off each other really well, and we know each other's moods, and we know each other's strengths. We both want the other to succeed.

If you ever know that Anderson is having an off night, does that change your delivery or anything?
He never has an off night.

Anderson has said this tour is an excuse for you two to experience all of the cities you're visiting. Are you planning to go out in Dallas? Maybe a trip to The Roundup? (During the Real Housewives of Dallas season two reunion, Cohen said he would be going.)
I hope so. ... My sister's gonna be in, I know the Dallas Housewives are gonna be there at the show. I don't know the answer to that, but I hope so.

Is this show with Anderson Cooper a test run for your New Year's Eve gig together on CNN?
It is ... I mean, a little bit. While we're traveling, we're working on stuff.

I'm guessing y'all have already started working on that?
Yes, we have. We have a meeting Wednesday at my apartment.

Are you excited? Nervous? That's a really big deal.
I am excited. Initially, I didn't think there was any upside for me doing it, but now I do. I just was like, "Wait a minute, I've been on tour with his guy for three years. We have great rapport. Why wouldn't I want to do this?"

I cover the Housewives extensively for the Dallas Observer, so can you tell me what you thought of this second season?
I thought it was really great. I thought it was way better than the first season. By the way, the first season — going into it, as I'm sure you know, we didn't know that it was going to be a Real Housewives when it started. ... Listen, the women were great then, they're great now, but we would've made decisions kind of in storytelling and in the field. We would have done them differently had we known from the beginning that it was gonna be a Real Housewives. I thought it was great. I absolutely loved it.

Do you think anything is ever resolved at the reunions? I always feel like it just brings up more stuff.
Yeah. Watch the OC reunion tonight [Monday]. You'll see.

There are rumors that y'all are expanding the cast for season three. Is that going to happen?
Well, look, we're always casting every Housewives. We're always in some process of casting because we always want new people, and we want options. We're kind of constantly casting no matter what the city.

Are you planning on hanging out with the Housewives when you take your tour stop to Dallas, or are they just going to be at the show?
No, I will see them. I hope to do a shot with them before the show, but other than that, I doubt that I'm gonna have a ton of time. But I look forward to seeing them at the show, and we'll have a shot of tequila beforehand, hopefully.

A former Housewife, Tiffany Hendra, made a post to Facebook today warning people not to join the Housewives cast because the show pits women against one another. Do you think that's the case?
I think the show is about friendship, motherhood, being a wife, sisterhood. There is conflict on the show. I think if it was only one speed, if it was only about conflict, it would not have worked for the amount of time that it worked. I think that the backbone of each of these series is friendship.

I think if you look at Stephanie and Brandi's friendship, their friendship is something to aspire to. I think it's one of the reasons people like watching the show is seeing the two real friends who've been friends for years and planned their kids' birth around their friendship and being pregnant at the same time. Conflict is definitely a part of the Housewives, but it's a part of life and it's ... only part of the Housewives. Otherwise, I really don't think the show would be still going.

It seems like people like to watch conflict, but they also really love to watch a resolution at the end.
Yeah, I totally agree.

See Cohen and Cooper on Friday, Dec. 1, at The Pavilion at Irving Music Factory.

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