Today I want to talk about a book I finished two weeks ago, written by the one and only, Andy Cohen. Most of you know Andy from his Bravo TV fame. In his first book, "Most Talkative," he brings you on the journey from his hometown of St. Louis, all the way to his signature "Watch What Happens Live" clubhouse in NYC.
In fact, one of the best chapters in the book tells the story of when Andy met his soap opera idol, Susan Lucci. He secured an interview with her by telling her publicist he was writing a feature story for the Boston University paper. In the below excerpt you learn about their first meal together and get a great sense of Andy's voice in the book:
"Well, I hope you like Mexican food, Andrew, because I'm taking you to lunch," she purrs.
"In fact, I hate Mexican food. I have a lifelong aversion to beans, and I wanted to see the studio. On the other hand: Susan Lucci and I are going to lunch? On a date? Me gusta!"
You can hear Andy's voice, the same voice that became famous on the "Real Housewives" reunions, on every page. Reading each chapter feels like gossiping with your best friend, only this BFF has some serious dirt!
Throughout the book I learned several things that my fellow Bravo addicts might appreciate:
- Andy never thought "Top Chef" could be a hit.
- The Bravo team wanted Padma Lakshmi as their host from the very beginning, but she turned them down. Katie Lee Joel was the host of season one (I forgot!) and then they did finally reel in Padma.
- "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" is the most successful of the Housewives franchises.
- Andy has a very tense relationship with Jill Zarin, a result of her pushy behavior and insistence that he fall in love with her yappy dog, Ginger.
- Andy got his start in front of the camera hosting reunion shows for "Top Chef" and "Work Out" (the one with trainer Jackie Warner).
He does spill a lot of secrets about how certain shows came to be, the perils of last minute casting and which shows rocked (or tanked) in the ratings.
Though I was most excited to read the book for the behind the scenes intel, I found myself loving Andy's relationships with two people in particular, his best friend Graciela and his mom, Evelyn.
Andy and Graciela met during his semester abroad in college. Graciela is the type of friend who always chooses "dare" in Truth or Dare and lives to rile people up. She makes multiple appearances in the book and there is a very sweet scene where Andy throws her a bridal shower, while still in complete denial that his bestie is marrying another man.
Andy's mom, Evelyn, is the stereotypical, overbearing, Jewish mother. What I actually found very endearing was that Andy seemed to define which points (and shows) in his career were successful based on his mother's reaction. She appears in every single chapter.
In the final chapter, Andy share's Evelyn's response to the first draft of the book and I think this excerpt summarizes it perfectly:
"What is going on is that I DO NOT SCREAM!!!" she screamed.
"Ummmmm, okay," I stammered.
"EVERY SINGLE TIME I APPEAR IN THIS . . . BOOK, I . . . SCREAM! AM I SOME KIND OF . . . SHREW TO YOU?" I had to crack a smile because she was totally, utterly screaming.
"Mom, it's a book and you are the best part of it. You come in and out and . . . offer your wisdom and it's funny and meant to be that way and I mean, yeah, Mom, you scream. You do scream but it's an affect. Gillian [my editor] says you're the best character in the book!"
"I'm not a CHARACTER in a BOOK." That was a very wrong thing I had just said, apparently. "I'm your MOTHER!!! And I do NOT SCREAM LIKE THIS!"
I was on the bus when I read that particular part and I burst into laughter. Sorry, 71 bus passengers.
If you already love Andy Cohen (or the Housewives) you will absolutely devour this book. Even if you don't, hearing about Andy's rise through the ranks - from the CBS morning show, to the evening news, to an unknown cable network, to Bravo - is fascinating. Of course now that I've finished this book, I need to move on to his new one, "The Andy Cohen Diaries."
Have you read either of Andy's books?