In quick hometown stop, Andy Cohen discusses fall tour

Andy Cohen visited St. Louis last week to promote his upcoming tour with Anderson Cooper. 

Ellen Futterman, Editor

Everyone was at the press conference last Thursday to meet and greet Andy Cohen, Clayton’s most celebrated Greyhound who now rules the Bravo network as both on-air personality and executive. I was there not only to meet and greet Andy but also his mother, Evelyn. 

As mothers go, Evelyn Cohen always hit me as pretty darn cool — feisty, friendly and passionate about causes that make such a difference. Our paths crossed years ago when I was doing a story about an organization near and dear to her, Doorways, which provides affordable housing for people affected by HIV/AIDS. She also is a longtime supporter and past president of the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section and started an endowment (with her husband, Lou) to buy food for the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

The press gathering at the Fabulous Fox’s next-door lounge, with Andy front-and-center, was to drum up excitement (and ticket sales) for his touring show with Anderson Cooper coming to the Fox Oct. 15. “An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen — Deep Talk and Shallow Tales” pairs Cohen with his BMF — the show has affectionately been dubbed AC2 — in a format where they interview each other on stage about everything from pop culture to world events and then take questions from the audience. 

Back in the day, a press conference about an entertainment show coming to town in seven months wouldn’t have garnered much, if any, interest from serious media hounds. But since serious media has been hijacked by social media, and Andy Cohen being, well, Andy Cohen, the turnout was robust, and included reporters from the Post-Dispatch, Riverfront Times, St. Louis Magazine, Vital Voice, Alive, KSDK and KMOV, among others.

We were to have 15 minutes to ask questions, and were told no selfies with Andy afterwards (buzz kill!). I got the proceedings rolling by asking the first question. Since I was representing the Jewish Light, I figured the question should be something Jewish. So I asked about food. 

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What are some of the places you’ll be taking Anderson to eat in St. Louis?

“That’s a great question,” Andy replied, smiling. “I want him to have some provel cheese, maybe Carl’s, maybe Steak ‘n Shake. I like Sub Zero in the West End.”

Andy also said that whenever he comes home to St. Louis he stops in at Companion, the bakery café owned by his cousin, Josh Allen, eats pizza at Café Manhattan and tries to catch a show by Jake’s Leg—the St. Louis-based Grateful Dead tribute band that he’s been seeing since his days at Clayton High (he graduated in 1986). “I hang out with some high school friends. But it’s usually just to see my family and eat like nobody’s watching,” he added.

As the questions continued, Andy told how he and Anderson met more than 20 years ago when they were set up on a blind date. Only the date never got past a first phone call.

“Anderson says now he had a picture in his head of me gesticulating wildly on the other end of the phone and that turned him off,” said Andy. “Of course I was really excited to go on a date with the Vanderbilt boy,” he added, referring to Anderson’s mother, heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt. 

Nevertheless, the two wound up becoming great friends and have traveled the world together. As a result, says Andy, they have stories about each other “that we goad each other into telling.” 

“People ask what the show is like,” he said. “I say it’s like you’re going out to a bar with us. It’s like a night out with us and you’re kind of eavesdropping.”

No doubt the AC2 stop in St. Louis will include stories about Andy’s childhood here as well as his diehard love of the Cardinals — he named his dog Wacha as a nod to the Redbird pitcher. When asked his most vivid memory of his bar mitzvah at Brith Sholom Kneseth Israel, Andy said, “I had these glasses, they were so horrible, the kind of glasses that get dark when you go outside. They were always a little dark inside. A little seedy. I looked like a Vegas huckster…

“And I just remember (three) of my grandparents were here with me. I think about that. That’s the strongest memory.”

At age 47, Andy still looks like the consummate bar mitzvah boy, perpetually cute, always quick with an easy smile. He becomes most animated when talking about his dog’s “secret life” in New York, when Wacha stays at dog sitter Sherman’s house in Brooklyn while Andy is traveling. 

“Wacha runs with a pack of celebrity dogs. I got Sherman’s info from Sarah Jessica Parker. He takes care of Kissy Broderick (Parker’s dog with husband Matthew Broderick), he takes care of Marc Jacob’s dog Neville, also Tico, who is Trey Anastasio’s dog from Phish, so Wacha has a lot of famous friends.”

After the allotted time with Andy, when he was whisked away for TV interviews, I mosied on over to reintroduce myself to Evelyn, who was standing with her husband and daughter, Andy’s sister, Emily Rosenfeld. The three explained the one chance they had to see Andy that day was at the Fox since he could only manage a three-hour layover. 

“That’s what it’s come to,” his mother joked. 

As I drove back to the office I thought about what it would be like to have a child who grows up to be household-word famous. Sure there are a lot of perks, but there must be some frustrations, too.

Later I noticed in some press material that Doorways is welcoming the AC2 tour at the Fox. That means a portion of the ticket sales will benefit the organization.

Nice to know the mother card is still at play in the Cohen family. And that no matter where Andy lives or how famous he has become, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.