Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Andy Cohen has alleged that his Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen set inspired James Corden’s talk show.
“I’m not a comedian [and] I think [WWHL is] a different type of talk show,” the Missouri native, 54, said during the Tuesday, December 27, episode of the “Table for Two With Bruce Bozzi” podcast. “I think there has been a traditional idea of what a late-night talk show is. I would argue that Watch What Happens Live redefined what the late-night talk show is. [We had] the first bar on late-night, [and then] James Corden got a bar. James Corden kind of wound up [copying our set]. It is what it is.”
Cohen — who agreed with host Bruce Bozzi’s assessment that the 44-year-old England native “ripped off” the WWHL soundstage — noted during the podcast that he used to be “hypersensitive” about the constant comparisons.
“Frankly, I just feel so grateful now, and I’m not just blowing smoke, [and] I’m so glad we’re still going,” the Glitter Every Day author said on Tuesday. “It’s like, ‘Great, copy my set. Go with God.’”
Cohen’s WWHL late-night series premiered on Bravo in July 2009, featuring a set of three chairs and bar setup. The seats — for the Most Talkative scribe and two celebrity guests — are placed in front of a bar, where an additional guest (or sometimes several guests) “serve up” cocktails for the celebrity attendees.
The Cats actor, for his part, debuted the Late Late Show With James Corden in March 2015. The CBS broadcast, which Corden took over from Craig Ferguson, features a velvet couch beside Corden’s desk, a long bar and a band area. The Tony Award winner has yet to publicly address the comments made by Cohen, who further noted that he often felt overlooked as a late-night TV host.
“I don’t feel totally part of the group and I have been on late-night TV for 13 years,” Cohen told Bozzi, 55, on Tuesday. “Years ago, there was a big photo shoot that Vanity Fair did of all of the late-night talk show hosts and they left me out of it, but they added in James Corden, who wasn’t even on the air yet, and Trevor Noah, who had just started.”
The magazine profile — which was published in September 2015 — interviewed Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Bill Maher, Corden and Noah, 38, about their late-night tenures. Cohen, who had been hosting WWHL for seven years at that point, was excluded from the lineup.
“Graydon [Carter, the former editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair], later said, ‘You were right, you should have been in it,’ which was really meaningful to me that he acknowledged that,” Cohen added.
Corden, meanwhile, is now gearing up to depart his talk show.
“It’s been it’s a really hard decision to leave because I’m so immensely proud of the show. I’m thrilled to be extending [for a year],” Corden told Deadline in April, noting he will tape his final episode in summer 2023. “I always thought I’d do it for five years and then leave and then I stayed on. I’ve really been thinking about it for a long time, thinking whether there might be one more adventure.”
He continued at the time: “There’s still some other things that I feel I want to do. I’d like to try and write. There’s some [stories] I’d like to tell. I’d like to see if I’m capable of it. The fact that it’s terrifying is the reason to do it.”
While the Into the Woods star is ready to exit the Late Late Show, Cohen has shown no signs of stepping back from Bravo. (In addition to hosting WWHL, he also produces the Real Housewives franchise for the network.)
“[Ben will] come in when I’m watching Housewives. I screen cuts of the shows on my computer and he’ll come in and wanna watch with me and I’m like, ‘This is Daddy’s work. You can’t watch,’” the Boston University grad exclusively told Us Weekly in November, referring to his 3-year-old son. “He’s seen Watch What Happens Live because he’s been to the show. So he’s watched and he’ll watch me and say, ‘Dad,’ he’ll laugh at my jokes, which I think is so sweet.”
Cohen, who welcomed Ben in 2019 via surrogate, announced in April that daughter Lucy, now 8 months, had arrived via gestational carrier.