Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review of "The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year" by Andy Cohen

I need to be up front here and admit that I checked this audio book (narrated by the author) out of the library because I wanted something very light and frothy. More honesty: I don't watch any of the "Real Housewives" shows that Andy Cohen produces, nor do I watch his late night talk show "Watch What Happens Live". Rather, I know Andy as the (former) executive producer of two Bravo shows I do like: Project Runway and Top Chef.

All that said, the book is exactly what the title implies - diary entries that detail Andy's everyday activities. Andy notes up front that he'll be doing a lot of name dropping, and indeed he does. He's acquainted with a wide assortment of celebrities and there's tons of stuff like: had frozen yogurt with SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker); met Matthew (Broderick) at a bar; invited myself to Kelly (Ripa) and Mark (Consuelos) for lunch; got a phone call from Cher; discussed producing a new show with Joan Rivers; went to a party at Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld's house; hob-nobbed with Madonna; texted Anderson (Cooper), and so on.

There are also innumerable entries about Andy's frequent visits to Fire Island, where scads of eating, drinking, partying, and hooking up goes on.

In fact Andy constantly talks about drinking, both in his daily life and on his late night talk show. Andy also admits to flirting with every atttractive male he sets eyes on - even if they're straight, too young, married, not interested, etc. In his defense, Andy seems to be seeking a loving long-term partner rather than a series of one night stands. Still, the constant flirting comes off as adolescent, desperate, and icky.

On a different note Andy documents a self-improvement program in which he's determined to eat well, drink less, work out a lot, and lose weight. And Andy does buff up over the year covered by this diary.

My favorite parts of the book are about Andy's dog, Wacha (AKA Norman Reedus...ha ha ha). It's fun to read about Andy adopting Wacha, a beagle mix, and about Wacha's activities - chasing his shadow for hours, running on the beach, cuddling with Andy, playing with other dogs, etc. These diary entries are sweet and touching. I also like that Andy is a devoted son, frequently skyping with and visiting his parents. Andy's mom, Evelyn - who sounds like a hoot - even acts as an occasional bartender on her son's late night talk show.

When it comes to work, Andy often mentions his "Real Housewives" series. There's apparently a lot of cast juggling on these shows - hirings and firings, demotions from permanent status to guest appearances, and cast members leaving and returning. Andy's descriptions of phone calls from spouses of fired (or downsized) housewives, begging Andy to reconsider because hubby gave up his job to be on the show, are sad and funny. Not too bright to quit your day job, Mr. Housewife!

I think the book probably gives a skewed impression of Andy, who comes off as a shallow, good-natured fellow who's sole concerns in life are eating, drinking, flirting, getting massages, hanging out with celebrities, getting good guests for his talk show, visiting with family members (a bit), and so forth. I imagine, in truth, that Andy also reads books, follows the news, and is concerned with deep issues - but I guess that's a different book.

I'd recommend this book to fans of Andy Cohen and his TV shows. These readers would probably enjoy the inside look into Andy's life. Other people, not so much.

Rating: 3 stars

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