Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen is a self-professed pop culture fiend, but he's not the only one who thinks so: Lady Gaga cast him as the god-like character in her "G.U.Y" music video because of his authority in the entertainment world. "We wanted you to play Zeus, or God in the sky, because I feel as though reality TV and reality media really run our lives. It's really an image of how I think pop culture is today. You are God, obviously," she explained on WWHL. Naturally, we can't think of a better host for a look back at recent history's most defining moments. Then and Now with Andy Cohen dissects the iconic years of 1989, 1994, and 2000 with interviews and commentary from names like Connie Chung, Kelly Ripa, and Johnny Weir. While there are hilarious revelations and priceless personal accounts, the show also takes a serious look at how these years continue to impact our everyday lives.
Before the premiere on Sunday December 13, we asked Andy for the 411 on the special, including why these years are personally significant to the Emmy-winner, why this is a step in a new direction for Bravo, and, last but not least, why he loves a good shoulder pad.
Why these years? What do they mean to you personally?
Andy Cohen: You’ll see in each episode exactly where I was for each of the years. In 1989 I was an intern at CBS news (with Julie Chen!), in 1994 I had a horrible ponytail and a front row for every news event as a producer for the CBS morning show, and in 2000 I started my career in cable TV. Each of those years was packed with drama that’s still resonating today.
This look back goes deeper than typical Bravo shows. Can you explain the decision to really “go there” with this series and what that means for Bravo?
I was excited that Bravo wanted us to not only have fun with this one, but also get serious. We’re talking about everything from Tonya Harding and O.J. Simpson to race wars and gun control. I applaud Bravo for wanting us to focus on more than just pop culture.
Connie Chung went all in, even calling Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan “wenches.” What was it like having her be a part of this series?
I love Connie. I looked up to her during my time at CBS news and she covered every major story you can imagine. Having her voice in the show was great — she’s really funny, too!
What fashion trend from one of these years would you most want to bring back?
Shoulder pads! The bigger the better. I love a power bitch look in the boardroom.
Does history — or at least pop culture — always repeat itself?
On one level it seems like it does, on another, as a society we are getting even more puritanical and judgmental and offended by almost everything, so things people got away with in the past are now taboo.
Don't forget to tune in for all the nostalgic goodness this Sunday at 10/9c!