For the past couple of years, Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper—two of the biggest LGBT names in media—have been traveling the country in a show called AC2, which bills itself as “An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper & Andy Cohen: Deep Talk and Shallow Tales.”

The basic premise is that these two stars, who have known each other for decades and have vacationed together, talked about their deepest secrets, and interviewed each other, take the stage and share their stories.

These two are close, so you know it’s going to get good. They initially met when they were set up on a blind date years ago, but, as Cooper pointed out when interviewed by Kelly Ripa, it never happened because during their phone conversation Cohen showed too much interest in the real housewives of Vanderbilt.

"Andy and I were first set up on a blind date, which never happened because we had a phone call and after two minutes I said, 'I’m not dating this guy,'" Cooper told Ripa. "He broke my cardinal rule … he mentioned my mom within the first four sentences of meeting me."

That was of course just Cohen being Cohen, and while they weren’t cut out romantically, the two became good friends. And the show rehashes that friendship, while each of them also goads the other into telling his own stories, infamous and embarrassing at times. Basically, it’s like your night out at the bar with Cooper and Cohen—so you know plenty is going to get spilled, and not just drinks.

On Friday, October 6 their show will hit Nashville, and in advance of their visit, I had the opportunity to speak with Cohen about the show and how it has developed.

 

How did you come up with the idea for this show?

Anderson was interviewing me about a book that I had coming out, and we just have great rapport and great chemistry. His agent represents Bill O'Reilly, who also has a tour that's kind of a conversation series that he does with Dennis Miller. He said, "Wow. You two should think about hitting the road and coming up with something, and it will kind of be like Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller." That's how it came about.

 

You guys have known each other for a long time, though?

Yeah. We've known each other. We were set up on a blind date over 20 years ago. But it never happened…

 

The show, I understand, is sort of like a conversation between you guys, and with the audience there to hear about some of the old stories. Is there a set dialog at this point, or is it still changing?

Andy: It's both. There are stories that we tell in every city, because they seem to go over really well. Then any new stuff that's happened, he and I just got back from Tahiti, so you never know where we will have just been, or who he's interviewed, or what I've gotten myself into. We definitely try to keep it timely, but also there is stuff that we kind of go back to.

 

When you were planning the show, how did you hit on the stories that you wanted to tell, or the events that you wanted to talk about? How was that planning process like?

Well, we had already done ... He's interviewed me before. We've been on TV before a lot, we've been with friends, we kind of know each other. We just sat down over a series of conversations and tried to hammer it out, based on what we thought people would want to hear about. We've been doing it for over two years, so now we've really honed the stories, and we got rid of stuff that was dead weight. The show feels a lot like going out to a bar drinking with us. We tell stories, and I think people will be surprised by how funny he is.

 

What were some of the stories that you guys thought might be a bigger hit, and then kind of flopped with the audience?

That's a good question. Oh, god… There was a story about me, this guy who lived above me who was dying, and me trying to get his apartment from him, which I think you might have to be a New Yorker to fully understand it. To everyone else I looked like a lunatic killer, basically, in this story.

We like to embarrass each other. As much as we can do that, we do.

 

What do you think most engages people about the show? What kind of things do you think get people's attention?

I think people want to hear us dish, and they want to laugh. That's exactly what this is. People want to laugh, and have fun, and be included in the conversation. We let people ask us questions for the last 20 minutes or so of the show.

 

 

My understanding, at least, is that he's quite a bit more introverted than you are. In the course of the development of the show, are there stories that you are surprised that he's opened up about with the audience?

Oh, my god, yeah. He's very open, and he's very loose, and he is really funny. He's really open ... excuse me ... about a lot of the tragedy that's happened in his life, that I don't think that he's talked about that much, that's very personal. He's very revealing, and then he'll answer anything people ask him, too, which is great.

I think he's been open about his love life. He's been really open about being gay. He's really open about the loss of his dad and his brother. People he's been attracted to while interviewing them. Nothing is off limits with both of us.

 

Wow. I think from your side, that totally doesn't surprise people quite as much.

Yeah, exactly. Right. People expect it of me, but of him, I think they're surprised.

 

Are there things that even you were kind of surprised that you ended up talking about on stage?

Yeah. There's this story, a near death experience that Anderson had that happened when he and I were on vacation that we kind of had vowed never to discuss, but we talk about it in the show. It's one of the more shocking moments of the night.

 

That is intriguing. Are there parts of your life that you're kind of private about?

Yeah. I don't talk that much about my dating life or my sex life. That, I kind of leave ...

 

To the imagination?

Exactly.

 

Right. Now, as far as the show goes, what would you want an audience in Nashville to know about it?

I’d just want to let them know it's a great time. It's like going out for drinks with two old friends, and cocktails are served. It's a great date night, it's a great girls' night out, it's a great night to be with a lot of friends. It's a party.

 

How long do you anticipate this tour continuing?

I don't know. We want to keep going ... We're actually going back to some cities that sold out really quickly. As long as we can go to cities that we haven't been to, we'll keep doing it. We can't wait to come to Nashville.

 

For more information, or to get tickets to the show at the Ryman Auditorium, visit ac2live.com. Photo at top: Glenn Kulbako

 

 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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