‘Finding Your Roots’: Andy Cohen’s Ancestors Make Him Feel ‘Like a Lightweight’

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) SiriusXM host Andy Cohen (right) poses for photos with his mother Evelyn Cohen (left) at the SiriusXM studios on October 1, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Even Andy Cohen, the successful host of Bravo’s talk show Watch What Happens Live still gets in trouble with his parents.

When Cohen visited PBS’s Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to learn more about his ancestry, he admitted that his mother and father are among his sternest critics, often scolding him for going too far with some of his onscreen antics. “My parents love the show,” Cohen says to Gates during the January 26 episode. “But they sometimes think it is too dirty.”

Watch What Happens Live - Season 13

Andy Cohen hams it up on Watch What Happens Live with Chrissy Teigen and Kristen Chenowith, with his family’s Lasco tea bag box on a shelf behind him

Despite the brickbats, Andy is close to his mom and dad, Evelyn and Lou Cohen, and thinks he had an idyllic childhood growing up in suburban St. Louis, Missouri.

“There was no big trauma,” he notes. “I liked to make people laugh. I was a ham. I got in trouble for talking too much a lot. My parents were always there for me and I was very secure in who I was.”

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As he grew up, Cohen held a job at his family’s Missouri-based food distribution company, Lasco. (You can even spot a yellow and blue box of Lasco tea bags on the set at WWHL.) “I did everything,” he recalls. “I worked in the factory. I made deliveries, I worked at customer service.”

During his Finding Your Roots episode, the TV personality learns that both sides of his family were Ashkenazi Jews who fled Eastern Europe for the U.S. in the late 19th century, working long hours to make ends meet. “I feel like a little bit of a lightweight, to tell the truth,” he admits upon learning about his ancestors’ struggles. “I had it so easy. I feel immense gratitude to them.”

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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Tuesdays, 9/8c, PBS (or check local listings)