With the exception of Miami and D.C., I am devoted to my Real Housewives. I love them. I hate them. They are horrible people, but I can’t look away. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely like a few of them. But mostly I like their Grand Poobah, their pimp extraordinaire, Andy Cohen.
Andy’s memoir, Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture is so much more than the housewives. A precocious, talkative kid, he was always drawn to pop culture. He loved television, music, and celebrities, his greatest love being soap operas and Susan Lucci. I was a little bored as he waxed poetic about Lucci and All My Children, because I just don’t care. As Andy equates his success with his various Lucci meetings in his life, from a student up until now, she came up a few times.
What I love about Andy’s story is that he worked his way up from the bottom. Like a normal person. He started as in intern at CBS and spent most of his career there rising through the ranks. It wasn’t always smooth and it was easy to cringe along with him as he made foolish mistakes, got reprimanded, and was told he’d never be good on camera with his lazy eye. (I never noticed this, but Mr. Betty pointed it out once.) One of my favorite anecdotes was when he bamboozled Oprah into doing an unauthorized interview and really pissed her off. It was only because of her kindness that he didn’t end up getting fired.
Years and years of hard, unglamorous work paid off. Make no mistake, this book is not a Housewives tell-all. Ultimately the story does go there because that’s where Andy is now, but the real enthusiasm comes out when he talks about big news stories he produced. The catastrophic events he was in the midst of like the Oklahoma City bombing, California wildfires, and the Missouri floods. He was more excited by working with Dan Rather than Kim Zolciak, if you get my drift. I was relieved to learn that he’s more like Anderson Cooper than Perez Hilton.
Andy acknowledged that it was The Real Housewives and Watch What Happens Live that made him a household name. He divulged a little about the shows, but didn’t dish too much about the wives themselves. He focused more on the evolution of how they came to be, what casting was like, and how viewers react. He is often asked which of the ladies he dislikes, but he loves them all for what they are. Real women with many flaws that are on this crazy ride with him. He’s appreciative and has too much integrity to trash anyone. Although I got the sense that he doesn’t care for Jill Zarin.
What I found most appealing about Most Talkative is that pages weren’t filled with so much trash and fluff like the Housewives shows. It was naive of me to think Andy Cohen is defined by the Housewives, when it is clearly just the current page in his long career. I can’t wait to see what he does next.