The 'Watch What Happens Live' host interviews Madonna, Taraji P. Henson and Connie Britton—and takes a bromantic road trip with John Mayer

You know Andy Cohen as the executive producer of the insanely addictive Real Housewives franchise and the host of the cable’s late-night talk show Watch What Happens Live — but what happens when Bravo’s bad-ass bon vivant takes over the pages of EW?

In this week’s issue, Cohen, 47, is serving as guest editor — and he’s delivered a doozy of an issue. The pages are packed with revealing interviews with some of his favorite celebrities—it’s like a portable version of his show.

Cohen, who has made no secret about wanting to interview Madonna on WWHL, sat down with the Queen of Pop as she gets set to launch her Rebel Heart tour in September. It’s the first time he has ever interviewed his favorite singer — and no question was off limits. The two discuss everything from her setlist to her thoughts on Taylor Swift and Beyoncé to why she loves using Instagram. “It’s an important part of my work now,” she says of the social media platform. “I like to think of it as a kind of art gallery for my thoughts, my dreams, my wishes, my state of mind. Can’t ignore social media.”

Cohen also chatted with his two favorite TV queens: Nashville star Connie Britton and Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson. The trio gossip about everything from their favorite television divas to scoop about the next season of Henson’s show.

Also in this issue: Cohen shares a first-person chronicle of his epic road trip with John Mayer in late June. The two trekked to California to catch the Grateful Dead in concert — and also celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality that weekend. Cohen also shares the hilarious story of taking Mayer to a gay bar to celebrate pride: “John was the ultimate wingman,” he writes, “asking me who was tickling my fancy. As the night went on we wound up on the dance floor — and from what I remember — it was nothing short of euphoric.”

But first, the issue kicks off with a revealing profile by senior writer Tim Stack, who trailed Cohen around New York City for several days. During one interview, the host opens up about the origins of his talk show. The hope, he says, was to emulate hanging at this apartment: “I’d offer you a drink, I’d ply you for gossip, and we’d hang out and have fun.”

Despite (or thanks to?) those boozy moments, the series has grown into a late-night destination that favors not only so-called Bravolebrities but also A-list stars like Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, J. Lo, and Cher. No subjects are off-limits. “I just want to be real,” he says. “I’m a real person. I smoke dope. I poo. I made a joke about poo last night on the show. Everybody poops. Why does no one talk about it?”


To continue reading the cover story on Andy Cohen, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday.