If Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper's new AC2 Live is anything like the phone banter we recently witnessed between them, the audience is in for a treat.
We had a call with the famous friends to talk about their October 25 return to Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre, where they'll appear for the all-new version of their show billed as an "uncensored, unscripted, unforgettable night of conversation." (They were last here on the original AC2 tour in 2017.) When we dialed in, we found Cooper—alone—on the line.
"He's always late," the journalist said of his longtime friend and Bravo producer-turned-celebrity. "He'll probably have his assistant dial him in; we'll probably hear first from Daryn. He's very fancy. When that happens, we can just silently judge him."
Within seconds, a ding announced Cohen's presence on the line. "Hey," he said.
"You did it yourself!" Cooper exclaimed. "I was predicting that Daryn would be calling in, and we were going to silently judge you."
"Well, would there be a judgment involved having my assistant [call in]?" Cohen replied.
"Only because Anderson didn't use an assistant," we interjected. "So he set the precedent."
"That's because Anderson can't keep an assistant," Cohen quipped without missing a beat.
More of the good-natured back-and-forth is exactly what fans can expect from Cohen and Cooper later this month—albeit with more alcohol involved on everyone's part. We asked the ACs what's new this time around, how Houston stacks up to other Texas cities (spoiler alert: on top, as we already knew), and which housewife Andy Warhol would be painting today.
How is this tour different from the 2017 version, which also came to Houston?
Anderson Cooper: From the last time we were in Houston it's a totally different show. The idea remains the same: It's like hanging out with us for a night, going out drinking with us. The bar remains open during the show, and we encourage people to go and have a drink with us. Andy's a big "Fresquila" fan. It's really just like a behind-the-curtain look at pop culture and news, and it's like hanging out with us. It's our stories from our lives that our friends know and that we don't do on television. Andy?
Andy Cohen: I agree with that assessment. To put it shorter, I think it's like going to a bar with Anderson and I, and we tell all our stories that we would never really tell in mixed company, but we do it because they're funny and we have a trusting relationship with the audience where we ask them not to tweet about what we're saying. It's very intimate, and it's very funny.
Cooper: It's like a rollicking conversation between us and the audience; the audience is very involved. It's obviously a lot of folks who love the Housewives, and some people who like me in some way. If you go online and try to find out about the show, you really won't find out very much, because as Andy said, we encourage people not to be on social media during the show and just enjoy it and hang out with us. That's kind of rare these days, that you have a room of 3,000 people and they're not all just standing there videotaping something. It's one of the things that Andy and I look forward to doing. The only reason to do it is just that it's really fun for us to go to a city and meet the people in that city and just have a fun night with our new friends.
Is it a different dialogue in each city?
Cohen: There are stories that we tell because we know they're funny, but it also depends on what Anderson and I have been up to. He's got a very interesting career and he meets a lot of interesting people, and I find myself in the middle of a lot of pop culture mess, so we're kind of constantly adding to it and taking things out. It's an evolving conversation.
Cooper: Every city is different, and you can tell very quickly what the room is like. You can tell within the first minute or so how the night's gonna go, and how best to interact with the audience.
What are your impressions of Houston?
Cooper: I am totally Team Houston. I'm a huge fan of Houston; I've had great times in Houston. It may be my favorite city in Texas—Austin's obviously great, but if it's between Dallas and Houston, I'd pick Houston any day.
Cooper: I think people are really friendly, and it's just a great city. And I don't think it gets the credit it deserves. That's my take.
Cohen: I love it. I was a grand marshal of the Gay Pride Parade there years ago, and that was really fun. I was there then for about 24 hours, then I was there for 24 hours with Anderson for [the last] AC2, so I have not gotten a chance to...I can't believe how huge it is. It's so big.
We have to take this opportunity to lobby for a Real Housewives of Houston. There's plenty of fodder for a franchise here, and it would be much different from Dallas.
Cooper: Andy, how do you decide what city you're going to do?
Cohen: We pick cities that have strong regional identities. We cast in Dallas and Houston a couple times and then wound up not doing it. Well, we cast in Houston once; I think we probably just had the wrong people. It was so random that we wound up doing Dallas when we did all those years later.
A few years ago, you said that the two of you had never actually fought before. Is that still true?
Cohen: We don't really fight.
Cooper: No, never. I tend not to express myself, so that could be one reason there wouldn't be a fight. I would just silently stew about something and let it eat my insides, and then gradually I would let it dissipate over several months. That's sort of how I deal with emotions.
What's your favorite thing about one another?
Cooper: Andy is the most optimistic and happiest person I know. Oprah was on his show and said to him, "you carry the light," and I totally think that is an accurate description. He's the kind of person who makes the room fun, and when he leaves the room at a party, it's over—you might as well just leave, because it's just no fun anymore. I've never met anybody who enjoys his work as much and enjoys being famous and being well-known. I've known him in a lot of different stages of his life, when he was working behind the scenes in television and then in front of the camera, and he genuinely has enjoyed the entire arc of his career and makes everybody else enjoy it as well. I wish I was more like him in that sense.
Cohen: Wow, thank you. Well, I think Anderson is the most loyal person that I know, and he's also probably the most interesting person I know. He knows a very little about a lot. He's the most fascinating person I know.
Cooper: Well that's not true.
Cohen: It is. Who's more fascinating?
Cooper: I'm sure lots of people.
Anderson, do you have a favorite housewife?
Cooper: I was an early NeNe Leakes fan. I'm sticking with NeNe on that one.
Andy, who's someone you haven't had in the Watch What Happens Live clubhouse yet that you'd like to interview?
Cohen: I'd love to have Michelle Obama on.
Cooper: I know Andy really wants to interview people in the administration because Andy feels that our worlds have now completely intertwined and that he's now capable of moderating presidential debates or doing anything related to current events. I would like to see him swim in my pond.
Andy, you've said that you like to think Andy Warhol would be painting the housewives if he were still alive today. Which one would you most like to see depicted in a Marilyn Monroe-style diptych?
Cohen: I think it would be Vicki [Gunvalson, Real Housewives of Orange County], because she is just this Orange County actual real housewife that now is an actual famous person, and I think that speaks to what he was about.
What else should Houstonians know about your upcoming appearance?
Cohen: Just that it's a great night out, it's all new, it's like going to a bar with us, and there's no politics.
Cooper: Both of us feel like there's politics everywhere you go now, and we just wanted a night where people could have fun, so it's not going to be political. You can get that anywhere else—I do that all day long. It's really just a night of laughs, and you'll see sides of us like you've never seen before.
AC2: An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen: Frida, October 25 at 8 p.m., Sugar Land Smart Financial Centre. Tickets from $70.