This was posted Friday, November 11, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
"Watch What Happens" live host and "Real Housewives" master planner Andy Cohen comes to Atlanta at least once a year for the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" reunion tapings. Over the past two years, he has also come two more times: to promote his book "The Andy Cohen Diaries" and co-host a show with Anderson Cooper at the Cobb Energy Centre.
And in a truly meta way, all his trips are chronicled in his latest book "Superficial: More Adventures From the Andy Cohen Diaries." He'll be coming back to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta November 20 to sign books and this time do a Q&A led by "Real Housewives" cast member Phaedra Parks. (Book is out Tuesday. Pre-order here. You can buy tickets for the event here.)
This is both weird and inspiring. Parks is effectively an employee of Cohen's network. But she's a star in her own right. This could make for an interesting conversation.
"I asked her," Cohen said. "I just think that she's interesting. I'm always amused by her. She has so many different interests. I want to hear her point of view on this book and what she gets out of it." He said this will be the first time a "Real Housewives" cast member has interviewed him.
Cohen said the publisher Henry Holt and Co. was initially not interested in a sequel - until boffo sales came in.
As insurance, Cohen kept writing his diary for several months before he approached the publisher, promising an even juicier sequel with more personal tidbits. "I felt more free and more open to reveal things about myself in this book than I was in the first," he said. "I wasn't so scared."
Indeed, the diary, which covers September 2014 through May of this year, again name drops his many A-List buddies such as Kelly Ripa, Madonna, Cher and Sarah Jessica Parker. The juiciest tidbit, though, was how he hooked up with a hot male mechanic and a pretty blond woman, a threesome that may or may not have been like a Penthouse Forum letter. And on one of his trips to Atlanta last year, he actually wrote this: “Woke up with a cheerleader from Georgia Tech."
He also describes at length his last visit to the Marcus Jewish Community Center. It was one of his biggest book signings in the country. He signed a whopping 600 books.
He said the organizers were hyper nervous because the crowd was so large. "That made me freak out and go really fast," he said. "But it's good everybody got their book signed."
And as a people pleaser, he said the night was partly ruined when a fan on Instagram said that he was rude and didn't look her in the eye. "That was such a bummer," he said to me. But according to his diary, all was not lost: "Met Lindsey Denman and Matt Anderson at Swinging Richards [a male strip club] and laughed, partied and celebrated the end of a great week of hard work. Oh, and we felt up a couple strippers."
He said he goes wherever his Atlanta friends want to go. The book references night spots such as Jungle, Blake's on the Park and the aforementioned Swinging Richards. "I really love it there," he said. "I always have a great time."
To get through the stresses of the first book tour, he took along pot lollipops.
"I've always pretty public about being a stoner," Cohen said. "The lollipops really served their purpose on the tour. They're fun. You have to be careful though. You have to know how strong they are. You just want to be able to handle yourself."
Cohen is well aware of his own obsession with self. He will obsessively track Amazon sales rankings. He even wrote how upset he was when the New York Times told him they weren't going to write about his last book because the editors felt he was "overexposed." This time around, he said the Times are planning something about him.
And given all the reunion shows he has done over the years, could he become a therapist? "I think I'd be a good couples therapist," he said. "I'm a good listener. I've been trying to take them in a more healing direction in recent years. It doesn't always work."
He's been busy with Radio Andy, his Sirius/XM channel he started while writing this book. "Its been so great. I love it so much," he said. "I love giving people I believe in who I think have strong voices giving them their own platforms. I love doing long-form interviews with people I'm interested in. Gloria Vanderbilt. Nile Rogers. Mike Tyson. 'Watch What Happens Live' is like short attention span theater, which I love but there's really something cool about sitting there and getting to talk talk talk."
I also asked a couple of "Housewives" questions. Like, why did Kim Fields leave after just one season? "I think it was mainly her decision. She announced when she was doing 'Dancing With the Stars' she was done. I think she kind of checked it off her list. I certainly respected her for it."
And why is NeNe Leakes out of the picture? "I think she's really busy. And the door's always open. There's a different effect on the women when she's around. It allows the other women to get together in a different way. Hopefully she'll be back at some point."
What about Sheree Whitfield's return as a full-time cast member? "I'm thrilled Sheree's back full time. It was great having her around again last season. She's got a lot going on with Bob. I've always been a big Sheree fan. Towards the end of her first time on Housewives, she was way more guarded about her own life. She's opened up in a significant way. She's really strong and doesn't like to show vulnerability. But you'll see a fuller picture of her this season."
BOOK SIGNING AND Q&A
Andy Cohen, with Phaedra Parks hosting
7:30 p.m., Sunday, November 20
Member: $28.00 (ticket includes copy of Superficial)
Community: $33.00 (ticket includes copy of Superficial)
Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta
5342 Tilly Mill Road