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For the first time, Cohen and Cooper’s broadcast didn’t include any on-camera drinking by correspondents. The change comes after last year’s show when Cohen made a comment about the band Journey and Ryan Seacrest that he claims was “blown out of proportion.”
The Watch What Happens Live! host, who had been drinking with Cooper on air throughout their New Year’s Eve show, saw that band Journey was performing on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve without their former frontman Steve Perry. He referred to the show’s guests as a “group of losers” and said that anyone watching ABC that night had “seen nothing.”
As a result, Cohen and Cooper weren’t allowed to drink alcohol until after midnight, when Brian Cox brought them a bottle of champagne. Instead of alcohol, they had mystery shots at the top of every hour of things like apple cider vinegar, buttermilk and pickle juice.
After seemingly not enjoying the shot of apple cider vinegar and still reeling from the buttermilk, Cohen blurted out, “I need tequila!”
But the sober evening didn’t go unnoticed by some of the show’s guests, among them John Stamos, Kevin Hart and Amy Sedaris.
Early in the four-hour broadcast, Sedaris asked the hosts what they were on if they weren’t drinking during the show, then proceeded to list off silly-sounding drug names like “reindeer dust,” “scorpion seed,” “thunder clap” and “apple jack diablo powder.”
“Are these all the hot substances?” Cooper asked Sedaris. “It’s hot stuff,” she replied, adding, “Did you snort it? Did you chew it? Dilute it in water and drink it? Did you rub it all over each other’s private parts?”
Up next was Stamos, who appeared via video in a tux with his wife and their son from their home. When Cohen asked him about what it was like when he hosted Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Heather Locklear in 1988, Stamos admitted he didn’t remember much because they were drinking, “unlike you guys.”
“I’m glad you’re not drinking. I haven’t had a drink in seven and a half years,” the actor continued. “But you’re funnier when you drink.”
Later in the evening, Cohen and Cooper kicked things over to Hart, who was live from Las Vegas, where he was set to perform his stand-up special Reality Check: New Year’s Eve Experience. From the get-go, Hart expressed his disappointment that the men were sober during their show this year.
“Imma do what you can’t,” the comedian told the hosts. “Imma take a shot because you guys have been hoodwinked. I can’t believe you. I can’t believe CNN telling you guys not to go and cut loose in such a good, true fashion. That’s perfect TV.”
Hart continued, with parts of it bleeped out by the network, “I can’t believe they pulled this shit on you guys. That’s right, CNN, I said shit. I said horseshit. I said bullshit. I said it all. I’m pissed. I’m pissed you got these two guys sober up here today. Here’s a shot for what you’re supposed to do — from me to you guys.”
He ended on a more serious and positive note, saying that great television is made by great people being themselves.
“You cannot take the vices or the dope things away that make them who they are,” Hart said. “You guys are who you are. You shined on this platform because they allowed you to be you. Don’t take that way. You celebrate that, and you toast to that, and you amplify it. That’s what good TV is. That’s why good TV works.”
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