Andy Cohen, left, and Anderson Cooper are bringing their no-holds-barred talk show to the Bay Area. (Courtesy photo)

Andy Cohen, left, and Anderson Cooper are bringing their no-holds-barred talk show to the Bay Area. (Courtesy photo)

Up close and personal with Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper

When Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper were set up on a blind date 20 years ago, it didn’t take long for the then-“CBS News” producer and “ABC News” correspondent to uncover their incompatibility.

“I thought it was interesting that he worked at ‘ABC News,’ because I worked at ‘CBS News,’” Cohen remembers. “I heard he was cute and that he’s the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, so I thought, ‘This has to be interesting.’”

“So we had a phone conversation,” Cooper interjects. “But I realized within two minutes that I wasn’t going on a date with this guy. He just seemed very enthusiastic. I imagined him gesticulating with his hands a lot.”

But their mutual friend was sort of right in that Andy and Anderson have become great friends and travel buddies. They are currently touring the country with their “AC2” show, which reaches The Masonic on Friday and Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Sunday.

While Cohen, executive producer of “Watch What Happens: Live” and the “Real Housewives” franchise and Cooper, CNN anchor and correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” seem like odd bedfellows, they have a lot in common.

They’re both Emmy-winning media professionals and Geminis born just 364 days apart. If they had monogrammed towels, they’d both read AC. Both also happen to be huge news junkies and fans of “The Real Housewives” franchise.

“I always thought he was funny and smart and a good guy,” Cooper explains. “But it was really in the last eight years that he and I have become closer. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he’s in a similar business. There’s something nice about having someone that you can speak in that shorthand with, who understands what the business is like, what pressures you’re under, and when you cancel last minute isn’t going to complain because they totally get it.”

Cohen, who knows firsthand what it’s like to be an out gay man on TV, says he encouraged Cooper to come out to viewers before the anchor finally went public in 2012. He still emails the news anchor notes on his interviews.

In return, Cooper, who’s currently in a relationship, gives blunt dating advice to the perpetual party boy, who celebrated last San Francisco Pride at the Powerhouse and The Endup, dancing the night away with his wingman John Mayer.

“I’ll tell him that somebody he’s interested in is somebody I think or don’t think he should be,” Cooper says. “There are not many barriers between us.“

Cohen and Cooper promise similarly few hurdles between them and audiences on the “AC2” tour, which they describe as a night out with them that audiences won’t regret the next morning.

“It’s really like going out drinking with Andy and me, except I don’t really drink, but Andy does,” Cooper jokes. “He makes up for both of us. We want to give people something they won’t hear from us on television.”

Audiences can expect humorous anecdotes from their joint trips and respective careers in reality TV and hard news. There’s even a question-and-answer portion.

“You can ask whatever you want,” Cohen promises. “Someone asked me how big my dick was.”
Don’t expect the CNN anchor to jump in here. While the longtime friends have shared much over the years, this is probably the one area around which Cooper remains blissfully ignorant.

“I’ve been to some great places with Anderson and on a lot of boat trips,” Cohen confides. “There’s never been an ounce of chemistry between us, physically. It’s all been friend and emotional.”

IF YOU GO

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen: Deep Talk And Shallow Tales
Where: Masonic, 1111 California St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 15
Tickets: $55 to $109.50
Contact: http://www.ac2live.com/PLEA
Note: The show also is at 3 p.m. Jan 17 at the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland.

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