For his last in-studio guest of 2021, Stephen Colbert, who’s taking the rest of this godforsaken year off as The Late Show shuts down for the holidays, broke out the booze for Anderson Cooper. And while the CNN mainstay claimed (and eventually proved) that he’s “not very good at drinking,” once Colbert popped open the tequila from his not-so-secret CBS studio bar, the Anderson Cooper 360 host joined The Late Show host in toasting goodbye to this, again, garbage fire of a year on Thursday.
CNN viewers already know that Cooper’s the sort of lightweight to comically gag after being peer-pressured into downing televised shots, as Colbert attested with a montage of Cooper getting immediately loopy while hosting CNN’s 2020 New Year’s Eve coverage alongside colleague Andy Cohen. (Even remote correspondent Snoop Dogg looked taken aback by how giggly Cooper was getting.)
Still, as anyone paying attention to the behind-the-scenes drama at CNN knows, there’s plenty of reason for Cooper to take the edge off of late. Colbert started the first of their three segments by asking Cooper straight-up about the recent firing of Cuomo Prime Time news analyst and network mainstay, Chris Cuomo. Displaying the politic reticence of a newsperson when his network becomes the story, Cooper admitted that, while he isn’t rooting for something bad to happen to a colleague “and somebody who is a friend of mine,” Cuomo’s actions indeed warranted his December 4 firing.
“I feel terrible for him and for his family,” Cooper began, before conceding, “Look, journalists have strict ethics and have strict rules that we are to abide by, and if you don’t abide by them, there are repercussions.” Colbert didn’t press his guest on the now well-known specifics of Cuomo’s misdeeds. You know, whether it was helping his politician brother’s efforts to discredit women accusing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, or Chris Cuomo’s own accused sexual misconduct that finally forced CNN to pull the plug on its high-rated show.
Cooper, demurring at Colbert’s assertion that Cuomo’s termination had been a long time coming (again, with that whole blatant conflict of interest thing), noted that he was surprised that the firing happened as suddenly as it did on the actual day. Joking that his New Year’s Eve drinking buddy Andy Cohen immediately swooped in to ask if Cuomo’s job was now open, Cooper lightly roasted his friend by noting, “Andy believes he is fully qualified to host a presidential debate because he hosts the Housewives reunion.” Sick burn there, although Cooper was clearly discomfited at Colbert’s inevitable questions about all of CNN’s own sordid backstage drama.