Those who count themselves among the "Housewives"-binging, memoir-reading, election-obsessing, Bravo-and-CNN-channel-flipping fans who would kill to get drinks with Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper have their chance this week. Kind of.
"We tell every great story and just really dish on what it's like from the front row of pop culture and world events," Cohen said of "An Intimate Evening with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen," the show they'll take to Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre on Friday. "We've both kind of seen it all from different perspectives, and we really share our stories and just have a blast."
That means the gossip — and Fresquilas, Cohen's signature drink of tequila and Fresca — will be flowing.
"The audience is best served with cocktails," said Cohen, 48, the host of Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" and the executive producer of the network's series "Real Housewives." "And there are plenty."
The longtime friends have been taking their conversations on the road for about two years. The idea originated when Cooper, a CNN anchor and "60 Minutes" correspondent, interviewed Cohen about his second book, "The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year," and they realized they had plenty of stories to share.
"Dennis Miller and Bill O'Reilly do a show together that they tour with, and we thought, you know what, we'll kind of be the opposite of Dennis Miller and Bill O'Reilly," Cohen said over the phone from his home in New York.
The show, which changes with each performance, is a conversation between Cohen and Cooper, followed by audience questions. Cohen insists that "pretty much nothing is off limits," and that fans will recognize him as the same convivial host of "Watch What Happens Live." But the publicly more reserved Cooper is "the best version of himself on stage," Cohen says.
Though Cohen and Cooper, 49, share a love of news and pop culture, it wasn't enough to spark a romantic relationship. They were set up on a blind date more than two decades ago, but because of a phone call beforehand, it never happened.
"[Cooper] said that he could see me gesticulating wildly on the other end of the phone and that he wasn't interested," Cohen said. "I also broke his cardinal rule, which is that I brought up Gloria Vanderbilt [Cooper's mother] in the first five minutes of the call, and he was not into that."
Better suited to friendship, Cohen and Cooper travel together often, with many not-safe-for-work memories formed on their trips.
"There's one [story] that is so scandalous that we've only told it on stage," Cohen said. "I won't tell it for publication. But it's the story behind what happened before [Cooper] went to [cover] Hurricane Katrina."
Audiences can also expect the duo to employ some of the same games and bits Cohen uses to disarm his guests on his late-night TV show. Cooper sometimes has Cohen "Plead the Fifth" — a game of juicy questioning in which the guest can refuse to answer only one inquiry — and Cohen makes Cooper perform "Real Housewives" character taglines or catch phrases he's written (and which he declined to reveal).
"You know what, he would kill me," he said. "They're scandalous."
Cohen was similarly hush-hush on stories from the tour. The John Waters fan is looking forward to bringing the show to Baltimore — the "Real Housewives of Potomac" will be in attendance, he said — but "what happens on the road, stays on the road."
He's at least willing to divulge what his "Housewives" tagline would be.