Andy Cohen Speaks Out Amid Backlash Over CNN’s Booze-Free NYE

Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper

CNN/YouTube Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper on CNN's 2022 New Year's Eve Live.

Andy Cohen spoke out about his sober New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper.

As he has done every year since 2017, the “Watch What Happens Live” host teamed up with the CNN anchor for the network’s New Year’s Eve broadcast, but for 2022, the duo skipped drinking alcohol during the live broadcast — and fans were not amused.

Cohen later addressed viewers via a video message.

Here’s what you need to know:

Andy Cohen Said “We Can’t Drink,” Then Later Admitted He “Made Up” for His Sober Hosting

Cohen and Cooper made headlines for their heavy tequila drinking during CNN’s 2021 NYE show. By the time the ball dropped in Times Square, Cohen had issued several rants, including a political diss against the outgoing New York City Mayor, Bill DiBlasio. Some viewers called for him to be fired from the CNN New Years’ Eve Show, while others couldn’t wait for the 2022 party.

On the November 16, 2022 episode of “Watch What Happens Live,” Cohen announced to fans, “I just want you to know Anderson and I are going to party harder than we have ever partied before on New Year’s Eve!” Cohen’s promise came after Variety reported that CNN chairman Chris Licht wanted to broadcast a sober New Year’s Eve show, but that Cohen and Cooper could still drink.

Somewhere along the line, the directive changed. At the beginning of CNN’s 2022 New Year’s Eve Show, Cohen announced, “We can’t drink. We can’t drink! But it’s fine, it’s totally cool.”  The dad of two then teased, “Do I have a pocket of edibles? I don’t know. This is a long night. This is a telethon with no disease.”

Instead of tequila shots, the two downed hourly mystery shots, which included pickle juice, buttermilk, and apple cider vinegar. After midnight, Cohen did take a sip from a champagne bottle given to him by actor Brian Cox.

On New Year’s Day, Cohen addressed his sober broadcast. He shared an Instagram post of him alongside Cooper while singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” just after midnight. “What a night,” Cohen wrote. “Booze or no booze, when you get to spend it with friends that’s what counts! Thanks @andersoncooper for having me!”

In a separate post, Cohen made it clear that he did get his drink on later in the night – or more like in the morning. “Good morning, and happy 2023!” he wrote on Twitter. “Thanks for hanging with me and AC last night. (I made up for the lack of tequila after we got off air).”

In a video posted to Instagram on January 1, 2023, Cohen also addressed fans from a New York City playground. After saying his “thorn” from the night before was drinking the buttermilk, he once again informed fans he made up for it with plenty of tequila later.

“I did finally get my tequila, in case you were wondering, at the end of the night,” he said. “Anderson didn’t. I did. I drank for both of us – and I earned it.”

Cohen also said he didn’t think the dry New Year’s Eve was much different from past years. “And by the way, I don’t think we acted really discernibly much different than if we had been drinking,” he said.

When Cooper pointed out that Cohen “didn’t insult any New York City officials” this time, the “Watch What Happens Live” host agreed, “I didn’t. I didn’t.”

Viewers Lashed Out Over CNN’s Sober Broadcast

Viewers – and celebrity friends – missed drunken Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper. Actor John Stamos, who appeared on video chat, told the duo, “You’re funnier when you drink.”

And comedian Kevin Hart went even further. Hart told Cohen and Cooper they’d been “hoodwinked,” then issued a rant of his own. “You guys are completely sober…this is disappointing,” Hart said, adding that he could say what the two hosts were not allowed to say.

“This is absolute bulls***,” Hart added. “I can’t believe CNN telling you guys not to go and cut loose in such a good, true fashion. That’s perfect TV. I can’t believe they pulled this s*** on you guys. … I’m pissed. I’m pissed you got these two guys sober up here today.”

Fans agreed. In comments on Cohen’s Instagram post from Times Square, many said they need to “bring back the booze.” “Drunk Andy and Anderson are icons! Bring back the booze CNN, tonight was bulls***!” one viewer wrote.

Others called the sober 2022 show a “snoozefest.” “Totally boring! Bring back the boozy fun! Switched channels,” another commenter wrote.

“@CNN Horrible New Year’s Eve show. Hopefully next year @Andy and [Anderson] take their talents to @BravoTV,” wrote a Twitter user.

“Watching CNNNYE tonight was the worst NYE I’ve had in years let Andy and Anderson drink god d***it it! That’s all we wanted. I left the broadcast to go back to boring football @CNN, you’ve let sooo sooo many of us down tonight,” added another.

“I’m so sorry but CNN failed you big time and failed your fans,” another viewer wrote to Cohen.

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