Kelly Ripa on Her Friendship With Andy Cohen and His ‘Huge Nutcracker’

Andy Cohen Kelly Ripa New York Power List

For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Kelly Ripa to write a tribute to Andy Cohen, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Cohen, the host of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.

My husband, Mark, and I first met Andy Cohen at a Christmas party at Bryant Gumbel’s apartment in NYC many years ago. At the time, Andy was an executive at Bravo who had this new idea for a show about a bunch of women from Orange County who “lived in a gated community and had lots of hair and necklaces” (or at least that’s how I remember him describing it).

Andy was concerned that Mark and I didn’t have any friends our own age. He was certain all of our friends were much older and volunteered to “sacrifice” himself and become our friend. We assured him that not only were most of our friends our age, but we had many mutual friends, and the fact that we hadn’t met before was just actually plain weird to us.

The New York/New Jersey Issue

To say Andy wears many hats is an obvious understatement. (Producer, creator, author, promoter, ringmaster — but my personal favorite is on-air talent.) What is astounding is how seamlessly he transitions from one to the other while never losing himself in the process. I can honestly say that the Andy Cohen people have become so familiar with is the very same Andy Cohen I met so many years ago at that party.

I think the reason TV and radio audiences connect with him is because he is his authentic self and has a blast at that. Andy is the ultimate good-time Charlie; having dinner or drinks with him is like winning the lottery.

There’s a reason why this young college intern from St. Louis took over the social scene of NYC. That’s no easy nut to crack. But he’s got a huge nutcracker. (So I’ve heard.)

Nobody has their finger on the pulse of everything the way Andy does. There’s simply nobody better.

Iveta Karpathyova for Variety

Kelly Ripa is the co-host of “Live With Kelly and Ryan” on ABC. Read the rest of our New Power of New York.