The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year – A Review
Andy’s book is a day by day recount of his life over the period of a year, written – as the title suggests – in diary fashion. It’s a messy look at his sex life, dating, love affair (with his dog), drug use, weight gain and loss, insecurities (he calls it co-dependence), professional highs and lows as he navigates his way through a jet set bi-coastal lifestyle full rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.
It works because he doesn’t hold back. He’s fat. He’s gross. He’s humiliated when photographed picking his nose. He’s sad that he’s too low on the totem pole to snag an invite to a Vanity Fair party, and happy when it finally arrives. He frets about his various appearances – and the amount and variety of them is staggering. It’s a tiny bit like watching an episode of Seinfeld – where Jerry frets about his various appearances on talk shows. Which might be intentional – or subliminal – he’s good friends with the Seinfelds.
For fans of the Housewives, there are some juicy tidbits interwoven in the book that explain a little of what goes on behind the scenes. It sounds like an fairly constant barrage of texts and phone calls.
What did I learn about Andy
The book grows a tiresome as the year progresses. That’s probably because I found Andy’s life tiresome. With anything, the thrill of accompanying him to exclusive parties and behind the scenes on various events and shows grew old and stale. He was bored; so I grew bored. There were a few moments when his family visited and he was able to get them backstage to various shows/concerts that I felt the thrill again. I think we’d all like to experience that once or twice – but as with any thing that is routine, it become jaded and boring.
Is he sad and lonely? There are a few times Andy sees sadness in people’s eyes as he is vacationing in a group of friends alone, or not meeting his match on his seemingly endless string on of dates. He doesn’t seem to progress much past any first date – choosing age-inappropriate matches – or just not feeling the chemistry. He doesn’t mix his dates in with his “real” life – aka real friends. He also documents some purely sexual encounters – he seems to have a booty call lined up in many of the towns he visits. Strangely, I keep hearing in my head Patti Stanger’s voice, “monogamy while dating,” and wonder if he needs to follow her advice.
Is Andy a misogynist? I don’t think so. Andy seems to respect powerful, self-assured women. His clear favorites among the housewives are Lisa Vanderpump, Bethenny Frankel, NeNe Leakes, and Carole Radziwill. He seems to tease some of the housewives in his book, but not in a mean-spirited way, including Kyle Richards and Ramona Singer. His patience is worn thing by some of the housewives – which is why perhaps viewers sometimes feel like he HATES women. Gretchen Rossi really comes off as the caricature of the clueless housewife (I’m realer than the other – why aren’t you firing Vicki – I’m a businesswoman!) He continuously jokes about how they think they are businesswomen – and I think we can all agree that slapping your name on a purse or make up line that someone else produces does not make you a businesswoman. Andy describes his relationship with the housewives as co-dependent. He’s made them “famous”, so not he’s responsible for them in some strange way, and doesn’t really like that responsibility. He seems to have a LOW tolerance for interfering House Husbands.
Is Andy a decent person? I think so. He’s never mean in his book. He takes some soft digs – like at Project Runway for going cheap since it left Bravo, but all in all he’s very positive and upbeat about people and things. Perhaps that’s because he can’t really say what he thinks – or maybe he’s just a nice person. He’s managed to hold onto long-lasting friendships. I think that speaks to his true character.
Do rich people live a better life? This is the section in this review where I compare Andy’s life to Mine.
Yes and no. There was a section in Andy’s book where he traveled to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Those of you following this blog regularly, know that I also traveled extensively in Italy over the last seven months. No – we weren’t on the Amalfi Coast at the same time, but I found it interesting to compare our two visits in my mind (and I guess for this blog.)
Getting to the Amalfi Coast
Andy (and friends) flew into Rome (first class) and then took a helicopter to Sorrento, and then a private car to Positano.
Veena (and husband) were already in Europe, but their grown-age children flew into Rome (not first class of course). After a few days in Rome we hopped on the LOCAL train to Naples. We took the LOCAL train – no reserved seats, stops in every town – takes 2 plus hours – rather than the HIGH SPEED TRAIN – reserved seats, less than an hour – to save money. Quite a lot of money for us. We watched as a group of people got booted for not having tickets – then ran from the inspectors and somehow made it back to their seats. People watching was a lot of fun. In Naples we carried our luggage through the narrow streets and found an AMAZING – BEST IN THE UNIVERSE – pizza place (Naples is the birthplace of pizza) and watched real wood be delivered for the wood oven. After being satisfyingly full (Naples pizzas are too much for one but it is rude to split them so you MUST eat one) we hopped on the CircumEtna train to Sorrento. This train is notorious for being crowded and probably related to that – pick pockets (many tourists ride it to Pompeii). I’ll compare it to a NY Subway. It is not the sort of train with luggage racks, so it was a balancing act shoving everything in, but we did manage to get seats. I think we saw an Italian Pop Star on the train – people were taking selfies with him. I thought he was part of a street gang until I saw the fan-love. We arrived in Sorrento and dragged our luggage to our B&B. We couldn’t afford to stay in Positano.
Andy and friends took a private car to Positano.
Veena and family took the local bus to Positano.
My guess is our experience was similar. There’s one, narrow road that crosses over the peninsula, and then drops down to hug the cliff on a windy and somewhat terrifying road. Limos and buses and even private cars need to know the rules for navigating the hairpin turns – ie the longer vehicles need ROOM and therefore it is unmarked but one-way for most of the route. We choose the public bus rather than the Hop-on-hop-off bus to save a little money. It was okay, but you did have to time it right to get seats. No way was I going to stand up for a two hour windy trip (although many people did).
Andy made Positano his home base (five star hotel) but day tripped to Capri and Amalfi, and attended a star-studded party. I’m sure his bed was really comfortable, and he had an ocean-view terrace.
Veena and family made Sorrento their home base (great family run B&B) but day tripped to Capri and Amalfi, and made their own party. The beds weren’t great (especially for our tall son) and we didn’t have a view. Breakfast was amazing though – home made everything. Yum.
Andy and friends shopped in Capri – I think they bought shorts. I assume they shopped in the designer stores rather than the local stores – which would be ironic if true, as he laments endlessly in his book about the loss of local mom and pop stores in NY.
Veena and family took a private boat tour around the island looking at the natural landscape (beautiful) then hiked up to Capri through an impossibly beautiful maze of streets/alleys (didn’t take the cable car) then took the bus (scary as heck) up to the village of Ana Capri. Back in Capri we lamented the high cost of beverages, laughed at the row of designer shops that must cater to the likes of Andy Cohen and his friends (Ana Capri had far more interesting local shops) and relaxed on the beach waiting for the ferry back to Sorrento.
Where I felt the most sorry for Andy was when he traveled from Positano back to Rome (no helicopter this time) in a private car, and the driver refused to stop along the way saying that there were NO restaurants between Positano and Rome. My guess is the driver didn’t want to take a fancy car anywhere near NAPLES – and I wouldn’t blame him/her. NAPLES is scary as heck, and you wouldn’t want to take any fancy pants Americans there. That said – Naples has the best pizza in the entire world – my mouth is watering just typing this – and it’s also got a museum with an entire museum of erotica found in Pompeii – so I’ll bet Andy would have LOVED it (although we never managed to get into the museum because open doesn’t actually mean open in Naples – that part of Italy definitely requires patience).
We also had the best dinner’s of our trip at our family-run B&B outside of Pompeii. I’d wager a guess it was as good as anything Andy got in his five-star restaurants.
Overall – yes rich people can afford five-star hotels, private cars, private boats. It would be great not to have to count pennies. However, I’ll wager we met more local people (traveling with a group of friends can be very isolating) and had more local experiences.
Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 – he’s at a party.
“The place was teeming with Housewives …. I feel so co-dependent in Housewife-heavy public situations, like I need to spend quality time with all of them. I don’t want anyone feeling like I dissed them, because trust me, I will wind up hearing about it later one way or another.”
Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013
…. Major housewives drama offscreen this week. We are replacing several women in two cities. So far it’s been sad and energizing all at once. Hopefully we are adding life to both series by shaking thing up. I spent forty-five minutes on the phone today with one of their husbands who was begging for his wife’s job back, saying they have no backup plan, and I was telling him he never should have banked on this as his career. I had this same conversation a couple years ago with a (crying, literally) husband from another city and it is not pleasant. ….. Then Ramona called upset because I had invited Jill back to play tennis for a scene. Apparently a cast revolt was brewing about her coming back for even one scene. I completely understood her point of view, actually, and we killed the shoot (which necessitated a long follow-up call with Jill. And then last night NeNe was on (WWHL) …. and I did something to piss Linnethia off and I can’t figure out what it was, but she shut down on the air. Drama in four cities. I kind of love it.
Thursday November 14, 2013
“Carole Radziwill texted me saying she’d love some doggy time and she came over and got Watcha and they went to SoHo.” showing how close he is to Carole.
Later that day …. “Someone leaked a story to RadarOnline that I was actually fired or pushed out (of Bravo’s executive team.) I’m pretty sure it was a former Househusband. Radar will print anything.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
“I got a message from Teresa saying congrats on my new deal. She said she wanted to wait until it was final to call me. I mean, did she know that I’ve been working on this deal for nine months? Was she aware? Then she said, “I think we should partner together. I’m going to make you millions. I’m going to make you richer than Ryan Seacrest.” Intriguing.’
Monday December 2, 2013
…”in the meantime, Patti Stanger is on Wednesday with Robin Quivers and Patti is saying that she has to sit next to me. (There are exactly five Bravo stars who have a thing about sitting next to me.) We told her no because Robin has never been on … I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of this.
Monday December 17, 2013
“Wacha is at a photo shoot with Heather Thomas. She needed a cute dog …” then later that day,
“My show was so irritating. Brandi made an inadvertently racist comment about blacks not being able to swim on RHOBH last week. I have been dealing with a lot of shit coming my way.”
Thursday January 30, 2014
“Today we had three-city Housewife drama. Spent a fair amount of time on the phone with Lisa Vanderpump, who is not thrilled with something coming up on RHOBH,” then he talks about Phaedra not wanting to come on WWHL because of the charges filed against Apollo, and Ramona filing for divorce.
Thursday February 7, 2014
On the BH reunion “Two of the Housewives refused to sit next to Carlton because they believed that she had put spells on them, or that somehow she would put a spell on them.” He talks about how he regrets not giving Carlton a more rounded edit, and that he knew going into the reunion that Joyce and Carlton wouldn’t be asked back, but didn’t think they were aware of it yet. He also talked about trying to do some conflict resolution between Brandi and Lisa, and Kyle and Lisa, and saw genuine tears in Brandi and Kyle’s eyes, and hurt in Lisa’s eyes.
Tuesday February 11, 2014
“Tonight was Radzi’s book party at her house. I re-met Kristen … I tried to prep her husband, Josh, because I think it’s going to be a rough season for him. We show him being tough on his wife.”
Monday February 19, 2014
He talks about an incredible party he’s at, then after pages of name dropping mentions, “Oh, and amidst it all the Countess walked up in a white gown. And Carole was there too, not that I think of Carole as a Housewife, but she is one.”
Tuesday March 25, 2014
“After the gym I ran over to Union Square in my sweats to support Kenya and Brandi at the Celebrity Apprentice challenge. I didn’t give any thought to the number of cameras and press that would be there, so showing up in gym clothes might have been dumb. (Or maybe, just maybe, I was keeping it real because I am not a monster.) Leeza Gibbons gave me a pie. Vivica A Fox rang me up. Apparently Kate Gosselin was there but I didn’t recognize her.” … “Also I made a mean joke on camera about Brandi not being able to add and I feel bad.”
Later that day on WWHL “Bethenny and Ramona were on and Ramona texted me earlier in the day to confirm that I would not be asking about her divorce from Mario. I confirmed with her that I would be asking about her divorce from Mario. So we went back and forth on that a few times. And on the show of course I asked.”
“I ate the Celebrity Apprentice chicken pie when I got home at one. It was gross.”
Wednesday May 7, 2014
“On my cell at the dog run, I had the most unbelievable conversation I’ve ever had with a Housewife’s husband in my seven years as EP on the show. For the first twenty-five minutes he made insane, unrealistic demands and I said no. As I threw a ball to Wacha, I said no to renegotiating his wife’s deal while the series was airing and no to giving his wife a bonus for her (very low) Q score and finally no to calling him in a week and letting him know what I’m going to do to make his wife feel more loved.”
Thursday May 22, 2014
In LA, “checked into the Chateau and went directly to meet Lisa Vanderpump (and Ken and Giggy) and Lance Bass (and Michael) for dinner at her new place, Pump, which is kind of the gay version of Sur. I loved it – it’s like a “Garden of Eden meets St. Tropez” vibe.”
“It was my first time seeing her since the reunion taping, and the subsequent flood of tweets saying I was tough on her, which she threw in my face in a gentle way. I threw them back in her face, though, because I don’t really think I was tough. I kept saying, “I’m sorry I asked you so many questions. How horrible and mean of me.” She is dancing around not coming back to RHOBH next season but we want her and I can’t see her leaving it behind. Today it went public that we didn’t pick up Carlton and Joyce, so she’s wondering who will join the group next season. I said nothing.”
Sunday June 1, 2014
“Saw Bethenny’s new house, which is great. She got it for under $3 million and it has a lot of space, so I’m impressed (only in the Hamptons would this be considered a deal). She’s in the middle of a brutal custody trial over Bryn, who seems oblivious and happy. I keep dropping hints about her returning to Housewives. Seems insane but there’s something in the back of my head that says it’s not an awful idea for her (I know it’s a great one for us.)”
Saturday June 7, 2014
“I got home to an email from Ramona wanting to know the schedule for Friday’s RHONY reunion and a request that the room be 65 degrees. So now we can cross from our lists the question of where to set the thermostat on Friday.”
Friday June 13, 2014
This was the day they taped RHONY, and Andy goes into length how the day was “a wild dance” with Ramona. She made him promise he wouldn’t go deep about her marriage to Mario – but he wouldn’t completely promise. He was planning on phrasing the questions so she’d be more comfortable answering them – like “What did you learn about yourself from your marriage struggles.” He kept her happy by telling her when the next break was, what was coming up next – basically handling her with kid gloves or like a child. He says that if he keeps her in the loop she remains calm – for her. But then he did ask about her marriage and she kept saying, “Roll the next package!” or “Next question!” then she asked who HE was planning on having sex with tonight. He concludes with, “she did herself no favors by evading every question. At the end of the day she told me to watch my dog. Did I actually swear on HIS life before the shoot?” he asks himself.
Thursday July 10, 2014
“We have four scenarios for the next season of RHONY and each involves layoffs and rehires.”
Friday July 11, 2014
“Bethenny made me lunch at her house – she has Skinnygirl products for everything, it’s amazing. She wanted to pitch me doing “Bethenny Starting Over,” but I had my own ideas, and turned the discussion into the (seemingly insane at first but makes sense the longer you talk about it) idea of her coming back to RHONY; and I can’t believe it, but I think it worked.”
Tuesday July 15, 2014
“Bethenny is indeed interested in coming back to RHONY. This is a bombshell for the show, so we are gonna see if we can make a deal. If it doesn’t work, we move on. On that note, I met with Bethenny, Martha Stewart, and Michael this morning about the show we’re developing to pitch. It is fascinating to watch those two women together in a meeting. They’re more similar than either probably would want to admit. Bethenny mentioned that people would be interested in the tension between them – which added an overlay of tension, or intensity, to the meeting itself.”
Thursday July 17, 2014
“While I was reuniting the O Hens the drama wasn’t contained to the soundstage – during the breaks I kept turning on my phone to incoming hysterics coming at me from all cities. Teresa has a crisis manager who seems to bring on a fair amount of crisis herself. Plus two of the NY ladies are mad at me. The reunion was solid. We’ll get two parts out of it. Tamra goes off the rails at the reunion. Heather was thoughtful and deliberate. Lizzie left crying. I felt horrible for her.
Tuesday July 22, 2014
“Got a text from Bethenny saying she was pleasantly surprised with Bravo’s offer after fighting with us about money for so many years. This thing is either going to close quickly or not at all.”
Thursday July 24, 2014
“The Bethenny deal is closed. I can’t believe it We’re trying to keep a lid on it for as long as possible. We’ll see how long that lasts.”
Tuesday July 29, 2014
“Woke up to a big article in the NY Post entitled ‘Real’ Boring: How the ‘Housewives’ Franchise Spiraled into Dullsville – proclaiming that the whole goose is cooked. Not a fun read. I, of course, disagree, but we have work to do in a few cities. We rebooted Jersey this season because there was an overwhelming outcry from viewers for new women and new stories, but now ratings are down and there’s an outcry to bring the old women back. So, um… What to do?”
Tuesday August 5, 2014
“Shari and I had a productive Housewives catch-up. Sounds like RHOA is going great. Viewers aren’t thrilled with our Jersey reboot.”
Friday August 8, 2014
“Went by the Countess LuAnn’s new place in Sag Harbor to discuss her role in RHONY next season. She asked if I would consider bringing Jill back and then as an aside mentioned that there was no way Bethenny would ever come back. I agreed.”
Friday August 15, 2015
“Long talk with Ramona that was meant to be about her future with RHONY but devolved into a treatise (hers) on the state of affairs with Mario: not good.”