It was back in 1968 that pop art icon Andy Warhol claimed, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” That same year, Evelyn and Lou Cohen gave birth to Andrew Joseph “Andy” Cohen, who has uber-expanded Warhol’s 15-minute theory into the hour-long Real Housewives franchise transforming unknowns into temporary knowns.
With more than 1,500 guests… largely female… filling the Anatole’s mammoth Trinity Ballroom, Cohen was literally the man of the hour thanks to Co-Chairs Leigh Ann Haugh and Amy Hegi and Honorary Chair Amy Prestidge.
But before the luncheon, there had been a meet-and-greet for $10,000-and-above sponsors in the Wedgwood Room that included two types of people — those who looked like the Kardashians’ personal shopper had dressed them for a casting call, and those who were rather clueless on “Who is Andy Cohen?” The latter group was further divided into two sub groups — adults accompanying younger generation Cohen groupies, and others who were simply there to support CPD. Andy looked right at home with the interesting mix of couture types and those with deep diving cleavage assembled in one room.
Surprisingly the line for photos with Andy was never too lengthy. Good thing, because the moment that Andy spied one of his pals like Dee Simmons, the world and the line stopped so they could catch up and do selfies.
In the crowd were moms and daughters-in-law like Robyn Conlon with Meaghan Conlon, Jimmie Westcott with Kameron Westcott and Lisa Cooley with Bela Cooley.
Soon the reception guests joined the hordes in the ballroom with a stage set-up like Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.”
Despite the room being dimly lit, guests managed to take loads of hand-on-hip selfies with their friends before the program started with more-than-a-handful of women on stage. While they were not presented individually, they were the chairs for the past 12 Chick Lit Luncheons.
Following The Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Perryman Evans accepting the 2019 Partners for Children award via video (she was in Spain accepting another award for the foundation), Co-Chairs Leigh Anne and Amy welcomed the guests and a video on Community Partners of Dallas efforts to support the work of Child Protective Services was shown.
After CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel further explained the importance of CPD’s helping abused and neglected children, she did the call for funds. Unfortunately, the lights didn’t come up, so it was hard to see whether or not hands were being raised throughout the massive room.
When it came time for the much-awaited chat with Andy, it had been decided that instead of having a journalist interview Andy, it would be author Jen Lancaster, who had been the 2010 Chick Lit featured speaker and injected her own stories about people and her experiences.
Andy did warn the audience: “If there’s a drinking game today, every time I drop a name, you can have a sip.”
Highlights included the following:
- Growing up in St. Louis — “It was like Mayberry in ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’
- “When I get stuffed animals sealed in plastic, I’m always ripping them open because I’m scared the stuffed animal is going to suffocate. But that’s my thing to work out in therapy.”
- Best advice his mother gave him that he didn’t follow — “Elie Wiesel would speak at Boston University and she was always begging me to, ‘Go see Elie Wiesel.’ I never did. I did read his books. He was incredible. I actually hosted a benefit in New York the other night and his widow was sitting next to me. I called my mother yesterday, ‘Guess who I sat next to?’ She responded, ‘I bet you felt guilty now.’”
- Best advice his mother gave him that he did follow — “She was concerned about my spending my money on frivolous things, and I’m still pretty good about that. I spend my money on real estate and travel.
- His mother’s feedback on the show — “She’ll text a few times each week after the show and say, ‘Your father stopped watching.’ Or, ‘Boring show.’ Or, ‘Shave your beard. Everyone hates it.’ Or, ‘Good one’ or ‘Not bad.’ Or, ‘Not our demographic.’ I’m not going for 86-year-olds.”
- Covering disasters — “I didn’t cover that many disasters. I was in Oklahoma City the day that happened and I was there for a few days. I remember when I left, I got on the plane and I started crying and cried the whole way back to New York. So, there is a separation that you just have to have as journalists.
- Anderson Cooper — “You know he’s suffered a lot of loss in his life. His dad died when he was ten and his brother committed suicide. I think he has a way of communicating with people who have suffered great tragedies. He calls it ‘the language of loss.’ It’s kind of an understanding or connection that he has with people that brings things out in them and makes them connect…. We were set up on a blind date that didn’t happen 25 years ago and we just became great friends. Our shows are incredibly different. There aren’t that many people I know who do a live TV show every night, so we’re kinda in the same boat.”
- Hard news — “The truth is hard news kind of became the Kardashians at some point… It’s incredible how much pop culture has taken over the news.”
- Dead Head — “I love the Grateful Dead.” When his friend John Mayer formed Dead And Company, “It has been one of the great things that has happened to me that now I can go hang out and tour with them on a totally different level. It is completely surreal. When I was here in Dallas speaking with Anderson and John was here performing the same night, I was like, “We have to go to the original Ralph Lauren store in Highland Park. I have my priorities. I want to see the sights.”
- Restaurants — “I lived in New York City without all this for so many years, and now the fact that I can get into restaurants, it’s like I can’t get over it. Anderson Cooper says, ‘No one enjoys being famous more than Andy.’ I will never get over being able to get into a restaurant that has a wait of 45 minutes. I’m not gonna lie; I love it.”
- Riding with Madonna — “I once went to a movie premiere with Madonna and when we left… no, it was at MOMA in New York City… we’re in the car and they put a siren on top of her car and started clearing traffic. I go, ‘This is so illegal.'”
- Martha Stewart — “Before we were going on the air once, she turned to me and said, ‘Those shoes are just a disgusting color.’ They were brown. So when we went on the air, I totally sold her out. I said, ‘Martha has a problem with my shoes.’ That’s the thing. She’ll laugh about it.”
- Mark Consuelos, Matthew Broderick and John Legend — “Wow. God, I love them all. I’m gonna shag Legend, marry Mark and kill Matthew because he’ll forgive me. Then I get to spend more time with Sara (Jessica Parker).”
- The “Housewives” franchise — “I think it’s really replaced the modern-day soap opera. It is the modern soap opera…. People love to judge other people. They love to judge human behavior. The show in a sense is kind of a study in sociology of a certain income bracket where you can watch and say, ‘I couldn’t have done that, or ‘How dare they.’… I have to give it up to the women because people don’t realize what it’s like to become famous on a level like this after being an actual real housewife and then you are a real housewife on TV. And you have people on social media and in the world judging you behavior and how you look and what you say and how you treat people in your marriage. It’s a real mind trip.”
- “Saturday Night Live” — When he spoofed himself on SNL, “That was an incredible experience.” Years ago when they spoofed him, “It was horrible. I hated it. I didn’t like it. The guy was up there just flaming and talking about himself. I was like ‘Oh, my god, is this who I am?’… It’s probably the only night before my son was born that I had gone to bed early. I woke up the next morning and my phone had like blown up next to me. The first thing I read was an email from Gayle King — ‘It wasn’t as bad as you think.’ I thought, ‘This is not good.’”
- Clubhouse guest pairings — “I love high-low pairings. Author James Frey and JWOWW from ‘Jersey Shore.’ People who don’t know each other. The first time John Mayer was on, he was on with Dan Rather. And it was weird doing shots together. I saw them kinda connecting and kinda falling in love with each other in a bro way.”
- Highlights of Live Show — “It’s been 10 years this summer [since the show started]. There’s been a lot of drunken behavior, as you can imagine. Amber Tamblyn was on recently. She was pumping because she had just had a baby. She brought out her breast milk and made me try it on the air which was shocking to me. It was also exciting because it was live television. I can still taste it and I feel an odd connection to Amber Tamblyn. Every time I see her I’m like ‘I’ve been inside of you.’ There is an actor called Tyrese, whose people called ahead of him and said that ‘He is very afraid of owls, so can you scrub the set of any owls?’ And we’re like there are no owls. It turned out that we had owl bookends. We put them in a box.”
- “My Mazel is Paige [McDaniel]… I just made a donation [to Community Partners of Dallas] and hope you will, too.”
- Bucket list — “Benjamin was on it. Jumping out of a plane… I’d like to do it.”
- Commencement speech — “I would say [to the graduates], be careful what you put out there on social media because one tweet can ruin your life. And I would say just whatever you do, follow your passion, because there are so many things you can do in life that will fill you up.”
- Lightning round — 1980s James Spader or 1980s Val Kilmer? – Val Kilmer; Lori Loughlin or Felicity Huffman – Lori; Valley of the Dolls or Stepford Wives – Valley of the Dolls; Sean Connery or Daniel Craig – Daniel Craig; Jackie Collins or Joan Collins – Joan; Alexander McQueen or Steve McQueen – Steve McQueen; Kardashian or Jenner – Kardashian; Godfather I or Godfather II – Godfather II.
- If he was going to swim in the lady pond, who would it be with? — “J-Lo [Jennifer Lopez]. She is crazy beautiful. Every time I see her I’m like I can’t believe this.”
- NYC restaurant suggestion — Via Carota on Grove Street. “I love it. It’s hard to get in, but again…”
- Why he didn’t join a fraternity — “I ran away from fraternities because I was a closeted gay guy and I was scared. Little did I know that they’re all doing it with each other in the fraternities? I didn’t know. I didn’t get the memo.”
- Chick Lit has only had two male guests (Tim Gunn and Andy), who should the third one be? — Anderson Cooper.