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Andy Cohen fires back at New Years critics, but was he almost dropped from the show?

Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper hosting CNN's annual New Years Eve broadcast from Times Square.
Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper hosting CNN's annual New Years Eve broadcast from Times Square. Photo: Screenshot

Andy Cohen is no Kathy Griffin. While the comedian took over Griffin’s gig hosting CNN’s annual New Years Eve special with Anderson Cooper, he’s just not in the same league.

Griffin was dropped after a photo of her holding Donald Trump’s severed head went viral, causing national controversy. The photo, released by a photographer without her permission, nearly tanked her career.

Now Cohen is firing back at critics of his lackluster on-air performance, but was he almost booted from the show before it even began?

During the show, viewers took to social media to complain about Cohen’s stilted jokes as he and Cooper got drunk on air and exchanged banalities. Cooper, who isn’t a big drinker, repeatedly complained about the burn of the alcohol as Cohen encouraged him and viewers to tip their own glasses.

When rightwing actor James Woods sneered at Cooper’s reactions to the burn of alcohol, implying he wasn’t manly enough to swill booze, Cohen shot back, calling Woods an “asshole.”

But most critics focused on the pair of gay hosts as an unfunny teaming that simply doesn’t measure up. Cohen’s one-liner responses, meant to be burns, only put a finer point on the criticism.

But Griffin was the one to drop the bomb that Cohen was almost replaced as Cooper’s co-host. She told her Twitter followers that comedian Leslie Jones was in talks to replace Cohen.

Griffin has previously torn into Cohen for dissing her and tearfully admitted that the controversy destroyed her friendship with Cooper when he piled on the publicly condemnation of her.

She says that while she was getting death threats, Cooper didn’t even bother to reach out to her to get her side of the story or check on how she was handling the onslaught.

Related: Watch Kathy Griffin excoriate Anderson Cooper by reading a letter to him on stage

“I was elated when I heard this news,” she tweeted. “If I can’t get the gig, I will cheer for Leslie. I don’t know her, but I thought it was such a great idea for CNN to have a woman of color over 50 who is so sharp, improvisational, and hilarious. I was ready to congratulate her publicly.”

Griffin alleges that Jones was dropped from the show because NBC Universal didn’t want the Saturday Night Live star appearing on a different network. But, as Griffin points out, Cohen also works for NBC.

The comedian closed out her rant by talking about the huge pay discrepancies between her salary and Cooper’s while she had the gig. Cohen’s pay for the night’s work wasn’t revealed.

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