Before the Real Housewives came along, America's gay cousin Andy Cohen was merely a Bravo television executive with a mildewing degree in broadcast journalism (from Boston University). But then, in 2006, Vicki, Lauri, Jeanna, Stinks, and the rest of the gang, the original Orange County cast, came tromping onto the scene and everything changed. As the initial Housewives season reached its end, a Real World-style reunion was planned. This reunion needed a host. Enter Andy Cohen the TV personality.
He was funny and personable and clearly himself an enthusiastic fan of the show; the audience was endeared. And the rest is herstory, with the Housewives franchise going supernova and Cohen being the constant wig-wrangler during the knock-down, drag-out, season-capping reunion specials. (Which, for some viewers, became the highlight of many a Housewives season.) Cohen was such a hit on the various reunion specials that, in 2009, he was given his own weekly chat show called Watch What Happens: Live, a program filmed in a dark, booze-filled basement somewhere in the creepier recesses of Chelsea that involved bringing on various Bravo reality show personalities (predominantly Housewives gals in the beginning, it felt like) and the occasional unwitting actual celebrity. The show got big enough — it has silly games and drunk people and the guests tend to do and say whatever because they assume no one's watching — that it's now on like sixty times a week and Andy Cohen has popped up co-hosting beauty pageants and Live! With Kelly (because he's good friends with Ripa), and he's pals with SJP and all that. Andy Cohen is a rising star, the toast of west Manhattan, the belle of a particular set of balls.
And so, like any story about an emerging icon who was helped up by other people — Diana dissing her Supremes, Beyonce leaving Destiny's other children at the doorstep of an orphanage — Andy Cohen has begun to feel better than the ones who got him started. Namely: The Housewives. According to The New York Daily News' Gatecrasher gossip column today, anyway. They report that Cohen, feeling like a real legit celebrity these days, is trying to distance himself from his trashy roots.
An "insider" (read: disgruntled assistant/boytoy) told Gatecrasher that Andy, "wants to have his fancy celebrity friends, and the girls don’t fit." Oof, burn. This new haughty attitude was apparently evidenced by the fact that Anderson Cooper, one of Cohen's swinging bachelor pals (when will he settle down?), recently held a party at his house in celebration of Cohen's new memoir, and that Bethenny Frankel was the only Housewife out of the approximately 12,000 extant Housewives to be invited. Oh, Andy. For shame. And you too, Anderson. ("Andy & Anderson, a new OWN original series.") Quel rudeness. Cohen is apparently ambitious enough to aim his sights at the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Chelsea Handler, so I guess he's willing to totes diss his old galpals in the process.
The Bravo PR diplomacy department swears up and down that everything is fine, telling Gatecrasher that the network "had nothing to do with the private party that Anderson threw for Andy," and that "Bravo is throwing a party for Andy in L.A. and every Bravolebrity is invited." First off: "Bravolebrity"? Nunh unh. Nope. Never. Secondly, all the Housewives being solely invited to the stupid work party instead of the fun New York celebrity bash at Anderson Cooper's fabulous firehouse (real place) must chafe a bit — they could have been rubbing elbows with Gayle King and gay old Barry Diller, but instead they'll be standing in the bathroom line with Brad Goreski's third assistant and a Salahi disguised as a cater waiter. It's a step down, for sure.
So who knows. These things do happen. One friend gets cool and then it's goodbye lame-os. I guess the girls can at least take some comfort in the fact that Cohen's trajectory seems a bit too steep to be terribly long-lasting. He might come crashing right back to Earth soon enough. Just be sure he doesn't hit you on the way down, ladies.