|Jack Gray & Anderson Cooper at Barnes & Noble
Last night I attended a book talk and signing for Jack Gray's collection of humorous essays Pigeon in a Crosswalk: Tales of Anxiety and Accidental Glamour at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side.
Gray is a producer of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and he was lucky enough to have his boss, Anderson Cooper, interview him about his book. These two men are hilarious together as they joked about Gray's huge Twitter following (over one million!); he claims that he is "huge in Malaysia. Most of my followers are spammers."
Cooper joked that he was glad Gray wrote a book because "I didn't know who you were. Now I know your last name", and Gray retorted by stating that while working for Cooper one rule is that "eye contact is a privilege, not a right." Much of the interview was that back-and-forth joking, and had the standing-room-only audience laughing at many points.
Gray said that one of the rejected titles of the book was "Openly Gray", a word play on the fact that Gray is gay, but he thought it sounded like the memoir of "Evelyn Gray, a 6'5" lesbian basketball coach."
Cooper stated that he learned that Gray was a good writer when Gray started writing on CNN's 360 blog, and the book deal came from there. Cooper sarcastically noted that his own book was "A New York Times bestseller for several weeks, but this is not about me", which drew guffaws.
There was a lot of name dropping- Gray told a hilarious story about giving Cher a Twitter lesson over the phone (complete with a Cher accent), spending the weekend at Cooper's summer home with Kathy Griffin (they expected a Downton Abbey estate, it is more of a cottage), a Twitter feud with Star Jones (she is not a popular person), and he told of a party at Larry King's Beverly Hills mansion where the Kings' forgot to get a caterer (what Gray referred to as a "first world" problem).
Speaking of parties, Gray talked about what it's like to go a party at Nervous Nellie Anderson Cooper's home. Cooper spends the entire party in monitor mode, fearing that "someone will fall and I'll get sued." He even has his assistant videotape the entire party in case there is an incident. Cooper says two hours later after a work party, he'll "find the makeup department in an upstairs bedroom applying makeup to each other."
I read about half of Gray's book while waiting and it so funny and sweet; it reminds me of Andy Cohen's memoir Most Talkative: they both came up in news organizations, love pop culture and are so entertaining. Gray's personality pops off the page and I honestly laughed out loud many times while sitting there; this is a book I will give to many people. I'll post a full review soon.
Jack Gray talks about Pigeon in a Crosswalk CBS This Morning's Gayle King (his new best friend)
You can buy it here
My review of Andy Cohen's Most Talkative is here