Thursday night at New York City’s Rockefeller Center, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen sat down with PEOPLE and EW Editorial Director Jess Cagle to talk career highlights, the success of his Bravo show and — of course — breast milk. There were plenty of other candid confessions and laughs among the friends of nearly 30 years — and the live audience.
Here are 11 things we learned from watching what happened live at the Bravo-hosted event.
1. Cohen’s mom was not thrilled that he sampled Amber Tamblyn’s breast milk live on television — she called him after the show to let him know. Although the event was unplanned Cohen admits he’s “the type of person if you dare me to do something in a situation where people are watching I will probably do it” and that it “tastes sweet.” “Just the psychology of the breast milk in my system made me very hyper and I couldn’t sleep last night,” he says.
2. Cohen admits he really debated asking Shaquille O’Neal “how big his d— was.” “We saw in the research that Shaq had these huge feet and of course the first thing on my mind was ‘wow, he must have a huge d—.'” Another was when he asked Oprah if she’d ever swam in the lady pond. “Even as the words were coming out of my mouth I thought, ‘This could be my last moment on television.” Oprah answered no at the time, but then her friend Gayle King emailed Andy the next day to let him know Oprah didn’t know what that meant. “That now makes me think I have to ask her again.”
3. Howard Stern is his interviewing and broadcasting hero.
4. The thing he remembers most from his first few episodes of the show back in 2009 was the heat in the studio. “We finally figured out maybe 20 episodes in that we could pull some sort of an A.C. unit in,” he says. “Everyone on Twitter couldn’t wait to tell me about the schvitz on my upper lip. I’ve gotten better at my job now we’ve worked out the ventilation.”
5. He has no idea where the idea for the gay shark originally came from. “I think maybe we found a shark costume and we were like, ‘We should make him gay!’ he says. “Two years later Katy Perry was at the Super Bowl with her sharks and I got so many tweets that night: ‘Katy Perry jacked your sharks.'”
6. Guests he’d love to have on the show include: Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, and Justin Timberlake. “I think some people are a little scared to come on the show, but I know they’ll leave happy, so I await those days.”
7. He used to call Cagle every time EW came out with a summer or fall movie preview issue and say “Oh, f—, I’ve got to read this,” but “they were very helpful to a senior producer at CBS.” One thing he learned from producing a morning show for CBS and crafting live segments was exactly how much you can cram into five minutes of television time.
8. He makes a conscience effort now to stay away from politics, but “I’m the only gay guy on late night television and when there is an issue that is threatening the rights or equality of gay people I will almost always say something because I feel like to hear a voice is important.”
9. He’d probably not have President Trump as a guest on the show. “I don’t know if I could fake it,” he says. “I hosted some beauty pageants for him and we really got along in that time until we didn’t… The truth is, he wouldn’t leave [WWHL] happy, but maybe that would be fascinating television.” But he would have Melania and Ivanka Trump on the show. His first question for Ivanka: “What is your job?”
10. As a kid his fantasy job would have been exactly what he’s doing now on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. “I was at vintage furniture store in Brooklyn and I saw these two orange chairs from the ’60s and I said, ‘Wow, these look like the kind of chairs you’d see on the set of a late-night talk show…I’m going to buy them,” he says. “I have to think that somewhere in my head I was like, if I ever get a late-night talk show I’m going to use these chairs.” Those were the chairs on the original set of WWHL. They’re now in the office in his apartment, but have been re-covered.
11. One of the most awkward moments he’s experienced with a guest is when he brought up to Kyra Sedgwick how she lost money to Bernie Madoff. “She didn’t seem that psyched after the show,” he says.