Andy Cohen's book 'The Daddy Diaries' chronicles the drama and humor of parenting
Hear this interview on our podcast, Here & Now Anytime.
Eccentric New Year’s Eve special host. “Real Housewives” executive producer. Regular guest on the “Today” show, “The View” and “Live! With Kelly.” Namesake of SiriusXM channel Radio Andy.
The list of accolades for author and TV personality Andy Cohen goes on and on. And in the past few years, he added father to that list. Parenthood is the topic of “The Daddy Diaries,” the most recent of Cohen’s 10 published books.
While his past releases have chronicled his life on TV, from lifelong friendships to spats with “Housewives” stars like Lisa Rinna, “The Daddy Diaries” offers a behind-the-scenes look at life with his 3-year-old son Ben and 1-year-old daughter Lucy.
The cover of “The Daddy Diaries” by Andy Cohen. (Courtesy of Bravo)
Cohen’s book exists as a stream-of-consciousness look into his day-to-day as a gay single father who also happens to be a well-known TV personality. In the book, he tells of a time he brought Lucy to the pediatrician and someone stopped him in the waiting room to tell him to fire one of the Beverly Hills housewives.
But his life isn’t all outlandish tales of the overlap between fatherhood and stardom. As he shares in the book, raising children without the help of a second parent is hard. He writes that his son has been asking him about when he’ll have a “second dad” and about times he’s seen being single as a shortcoming. At a birthday party once, his son Ben was the only one not playing in the sprinkler because Cohen didn’t think to bring a bathing suit.
But parenthood is an ever-evolving journey, Cohen says, and his children have completely changed his life for the better.
“They reprioritized my life. They changed my schedule,” Cohen says. “They grounded me.”
Book excerpt: ‘The Daddy Diaries’
By Andy Cohen
Saturday, January 1, 2022—New York City
Considering how much I drank and how little I slept, I should’ve woken up with a massive hangover this morning, but I was wired and spry! Anderson and I had so much fun last night. I think it was a great show despite awkward satellite delays—which had me sputtering and interrupting (more than normal)—and the rants. The rants! It felt so good, ranting on CNN, about ridiculous things: Diana, the Musical (dancing AIDS patients?), Mark Zuckerberg (slowly killing all our souls)—oh, and “Fake Journey.” They performed on the Seacrest stage, behind us, and I got covered in confetti and started feeling a way about them and said they’re “propaganda” and not real Journey without Steve Perry. Sidenote: when you start calling something “propaganda,” chances are that you’re drunk.
The big rant was about de Blasio, who once again ruined midnight by torturing us with his dancing after eight (I said four) horrible years as mayor. The city has gone downhill under him. Fuck that. Anderson was pulling me back by my hood. (I lunged forward a step with each outburst.) Anyway, we also had Cheri Oteri doing a hilarious character, surprised Regina King with Jackee, Amanda Gorman, James Taylor. Between Omicron and Betty White dying yesterday, we had to turn it up, and I felt pressure to get Anderson wasted and giggling to ensure total fun on the air.
I was unsuccessful in getting Anderson to announce that his new boy is arriving in five weeks, and that’s probably a good thing, since then I wouldn’t have been able to keep my baby news quiet—which would’ve resulted in chaos at home, given Ben’s lack of understanding of what’s about to happen. As we pulled out of Times Square en route to Sarah Jessica’s after the broadcast, I saw the de Blasio rant on Twitter, and my
mouth was on the floor. “I said, ‘Sayonara, sucker?!’
“Yep!” he said bemusedly.
I had no recollection! At SJ’s, Jeff Richman said that rant was the wildest thing he’d seen on live TV in a long time. As we sat around talking, I wondered if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Then I started wondering about all my other rants. Did I actually go too far?
I got home and was so wired from the excitement of the night that I spent a few hours chilling, listening to music. Everyone seemed to really like our show online, especially the de Blasio thing. Woke up with Ben this morning around eight. Let him watch Sesame Street, which is our weekend thing. He grabbed the bongos Grac gave us and pounded away at the “Letter of the Day” theme song. Tweeted that I was a bit overserved last night, then posted a story on Insta showing people I was up and functioning and tagging the Mujen and De-Nada I’d been drinking.
I sat on my phone looking through a hodgepodge collage of texts about the night. Claire McCaskill (“the trashing of de Blasio was epic! Love you!”), Kristen Johnston (“HIGHLARIOUS”), Marie Osmond (hers just said “happy new year,” so I don’t think she watched), Harry Smith (“Love drunk Anderson”).
Then Jeanne texted, “how are you holding up?” When one of your very oldest friends sends a smoke signal that everything must not be okay, you shudder. I said, I’m good. She said, “Any backlash?” I said no, everyone hates de Blasio. She was relieved to hear it. Our conversation gave me cause for pause as I realized there were a few key people I hadn’t heard from (my parents, for starters), which then made me wonder whether I’d actually done badly.
I then went into a ninety-minute shame spiral, wondering if the show was actually horrible, and then realized I’ve done this exact spiral the day after hosting New Year’s Eve for the last four years. (The first year, in fact, was arguably horrible.) It’s just the weirdest show to host—on the one hand, it’s wallpaper for other things that are happening in people’s homes, and on the other, it’s on for five hours and everyone sees it and has an
opinion of it one way or another. After checking in with my parents, who were thumbs-up, and rehashing with Anderson (“I had a ball”), I felt better. (I always feel better after rehashing with Anderson.) The de Blasio thing is trending on TikTok, according to someone’s daughter. As the day went on, I saw a headline that I’d trashed Ryan Seacrest. While I was yammering about Journey, clearly loving the sound of my voice powered by endorphins and tequila, apparently I called everyone on ABC “losers.” I was like, “Oh damn,” and a couple hours later texted Ryan apologizing. He’s a good guy, and I like him. Spoke to Jeff Zucker, who said they’re getting a lot of calls about the de Blasio thing and they may need to release a statement. When the network is releasing a statement about your messy rant, you’re in the doghouse.
I went to bed early.
Excerpted from “The Daddy Diaries: The Year I Grew Up” by Andy Cohen, published by Andy Cohen Books, Henry Holt and Company, May 9, 2023. Copyright © 2023 by Andy Cohen. All rights reserved.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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