Andy Cohen knows he’s a tool, but the L.A. Times doesn’t

Starting July 16, Bravo VP Andy Cohen will host a weekly, midnight talk show about Bravo, because that’s what the network really needs: more Andy Cohen. However, as a profile in the Los Angeles Times reveals, while Cohen may put himself on TV far too much for such an otherwise smart network executive, he is impressively aware that he’s “a tool.”

Besides mocking the budget of his new show (“It’s going to feel like it cost five dollars, and it cost a little over five dollars but only a little over five dollars.”), he told the paper, while on his way to talk to NYU students, “I’ll tell them about Bravo and why and how we do what we do, and I’ll have a face full of makeup so they’ll probably all be making fun of me and what a tool I am.”

Alas, the paper doesn’t seem to be aware of Cohen’s toolishness, and the profile pretty much becomes a hand job with this sentence: “he was and is good at [hosting reunions], asking the often wounded reality folk hard questions while not appearing smug.”

Seriously, is that a joke? While I don’t discount Andy Cohen’s obvious talent as a network executive nor his niceness as a human being, he’s terrible on television by most objective measures, and claiming otherwise is idiotic. Hell, he recently told cast members to talk about something at lunch instead of arguing about it on television. In-between mentioning BravoTV.com for no real reason, he sometimes manages to ask questions that inspire debate, and can occasionally get out a worthwhile follow-up, but he’s no Jeff Probst or Ryan Seacrest when it comes to moderating and the other hosting parts. Hell, he’s no Allison Sweeney.

The executive in charge of Bravo at NBC Universal, Lauren Zalaznick, comes off as clueless about her star, even though she’s responsible for making him into a public figure, saying “He’s a knowing enthusiast, and it’s not that he won’t give you an opinion on taste or propriety or ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’ — it’s just that he doesn’t seem to need to put that opinion out in the world for any betterment of himself.”

Then why is he on television and online? And please: ever read his blog? His most recent post is about watching screeners at his beach house and before that he was blogging about being honored alongside Donna Karan. It’s the very definition of self-absorption–not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, and blogging itself almost demands it. I am quite aware of this.

Anyway, as to his midnight show, Cohen said, “It’ll be me and a couple Bravo-lebrities and maybe a real ‘lebrity taking phone calls and e-mails and tweets from Bravo fanatics live at midnight. And we’re going to be sipping cocktails.”

Drinking sounds promising, and is probably a great idea for viewers, too.

Bravo executive Andy Cohen is absolutely everywhere [Los Angeles Times]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.