Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Thoughts - Most Talkative by Andy Cohen

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen
published 5/8/12
288 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

From a young age, Andy Cohen knew two things: He was gay, and he loved television. Now presiding over Bravo's reality-TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop-culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie's Angels and All My Children; and to his mother, who received daily letters from him while he was at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that everyone didn't know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television. The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today's celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens: Live, Cohen tells tales of absurd network-news mishaps, hilarious encounters with the heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind the Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside the TV, both making shows and hosting his own.

My thoughts -

I have to admit I haven't always been an Andy Cohen fan. The first time I saw him on Bravo, I found him frankly more than a little irritating. But then I started watching a few episodes of his show, and realized he had moments of sharp sarcasm that were pretty darn funny. Then I heard him interviewed by Jay Mohr, and thought, "holy cow, this guy would be fun to hang out with!" So I decided to give his book a shot - and it was a gamble that paid off.

Cohen's writing style is exactly the same as his on-air personality - brash, informal, and no-holds-barred. He is painfully honest in recounting both good times and bad, and doesn't try to sugar coat the more obnoxious aspects of his personality. There were many laugh-out-loud moments throughout the book, and his chapters about meeting and interacting with celebrities and "Bravolebrities" were hilarious.

But Cohen isn't all jokes and bubbles - he deals with serious stuff, like coming out to his family and friends, and the intense and draining life of a current events journalist. I found his more serious voice to be just as winning as his humor, and could have read many more chapters about his time working for CBS news. 

"...I'd gotten pretty good at showing up on the scene - plane crash, wildfire, flood, hurricane - quickly establishing relationships with people in the midst of developing trauma, and getting them to talk about it on-camera. It was like some sick kind of speed dating where my job was connecting to people in their most vulnerable moments, getting what I needed, and going. It's not that I didn't have empathy; there was just always another plane to catch." (p. 119)

This was a great first read for 2013 - fun and lighthearted, but serious enough to keep it from feeling schmaltzy. Heck, he almost makes me want to become a Real Housewives fan. (almost.)
If you enjoy a good celebrity memoir, this one is a winner.

Finished - 1/5/13
Source - South Side library
MPAA rating - R for profanity and adult situations
My rating - 8/10

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

I don't watch much TV, so I am not familiar with Cohen, but this book does sound like it could be appreciated by those readers who haven't yet met this brash and talkative young man. Thanks for the great and thorough review of this one today, Elizabeth! I should see if my library carries it!