In high school, Andy Cohen was voted “Most Talkative” and “Biggest Gossip.” Hardly the sort of recognition one might think would be advantageous. But it’s precisely those unrestrained and chatty tendencies that have gotten him where he is now: a cable exec who has become one of TV’s most brazen talk show hosts.
Interactions with Cohen on his Bravo series “Watch What Happens Live” range from candid to shocking to absurd. Like when he asked Emmy-winning, Mark Twain Award-earning Tina Fey whether she would rather wax Alec Baldwin’s front or backside.
“Back,” she answered wryly.
It’s all part of Cohen’s screwy charm as ringleader of the no-holds barred talk circus that is his Bravo show. At a time when the late night roster is overcrowded with name brands like Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, Cohen’s bare bones, off-kilter approach helped carve the half-hour New York-based chatfest a loyal following—which regularly attracts more than 1 million viewers--and become destination-viewing on the cable network, which is owned by NBC Universal.
“WWHL” began its 6th season Sunday by expanding from two nights a week to five, planting Cohen —an unabashedly gay and gleefully Jewish 43-year-old -- even more firmly in his role as the main man of Bravo, otherwise best known for “Real Housewives” and “Top Chefs.”
“It’s like, oh my god, I have to be in the studio at 11 o’clock at night most of my week?” said Cohen, seated at a table at the Sunset Tower Hotel during a recent trip to LA. “It seems restricting, and then you sort of realize that it’s not. I drink alcohol and get to talk about wigs and stuff. It’s about having fun for 30 minutes. Our biggest concern is what cocktail or drink our guests prefer.”