Andy Cohen was living it up on CNN, downing tequila shots on New Year’s Eve, which led to some viral moments. But besides a dig at Ryan Seacrest, the TV star says he has “no apologies” for his antics and the cable network says he “will be back” next year.
Cohen, who co-hosted CNN’s New Year’s Eve special with anchor Anderson Cooper, appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” Tuesday and defended his drunken performance.
“I will not be shamed for having fun on New Year’s Eve. That’s why I’m there,” Cohen told Stern. “It’s a four-and-a-half-hour show. The booze started kicking in around 11:30 … I kicked into high gear with 45 minutes left.”
He also squashed rumors that CNN was upset with him, saying the only direction he gets from CNN president Jeff Zucker is to “have fun.”
“That is my job,” he said, noting that he was trying to brighten up fans struggling with the ongoing pandemic and the death of beloved actress Betty White.
During the Dec. 31 special, Cohen took a jab at Seacrest, who was hosting ABC’s rival “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” nearby in Times Square.
“If you look behind me, you’ll see Ryan Seacrest’s group of losers performing,” Cohen said Friday evening, according to a clip shared on Twitter. “I’m sorry, but if you’re watching ABC, you’re watching nothing.”
During his SiriusXM show “Radio Andy” Monday, Cohen said he attributes his comment to his intoxicated state at the time.
“The only thing that I regret saying, the only thing is that I slammed the ABC broadcast,” Cohen said. “And I really like Ryan Seacrest, and he’s a great guy and I really regret saying that, and I was just stupid and drunk and feeling it.”
Cohen added that he hopes Seacrest gets the chance to hear his original comment separated from the current media coverage of it. “The headlines about Ryan Seacrest are all like, ‘I trashed Ryan Seacrest,’ and I really, I hope he hears the clip,” Cohen said.
Despite Cohen’s regrets, CNN rep Shimrit Sheetrit confirmed to USA TODAY Tuesday Cohen “will be back to co-host NYE on CNN next year.”
Cohen’s drunken criticism on Friday was also extended to the rock band Journey, former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (“You are messing with all of us”). The “Watch What Happens Live” host criticized Journey’s performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” since Steve Perry was not involved and that it wasn’t an authentic representation of the band.
“We just got doused with confetti from the fake Journey appearing on ABC,” Cohen said during the CNN special. “If it’s not Steve Perry, it doesn’t count.”
Cohen continued: “It’s not Journey. It’s propaganda, it’s propaganda. It’s not Journey, it’s not Journey. No, that was not Journey. Steve Perry is Journey.”
Cohen also gave a harsh farewell to the former NYC mayor De Blasio. “Watching Mayor De Blasio do his victory lap dance after four years of the crappiest term as the mayor of New York,” Cohen said in the now-viral clip. “… Sayonara sucka.”
On New Year’s Day, Cohen took to Twitter to acknowledge his drunken rants. “good morning!” he wrote. “Um, I was a bit overserved last night.”
However, it wasn’t all slights and barbs.
Cohen and Cooper both took a moment earlier in the night to acknowledge the death of actor Betty White, who died early Friday. “First, we need to pay tribute to the great Betty White who passed away today,” Cohen said, with Cooper adding, “What an incredible, incredible person, what an incredible life.”
The two went on to list her many accolades and show clips of a young White in earlier TV appearances.
“We’re going to raise our first shot of tequila,” Cohen said. “This is in honor of Betty White: a life well lived.”
Contributing: Michelle L. Price, Associated Press; USA TODAY staff reports