Creator / Anderson Cooper

"You can't stop suffering, you can't stop terrible things from happening, but you can bear witness... The least us reporters can do is go there and tell their stories."

Anderson Hays Cooper (born June 3, 1967) is a Peabody Award-winning American journalist, author, and television personality. During college, Cooper spent two summers as an intern at the Central Intelligence Agency. Although he technically has no formal journalistic educationnote , he opted to pursue a career in journalism rather than stay with the agency after school, having been a self-proclaimed "news junkie" since he was "in utero." After Cooper graduated from Yale University, he tried to gain entry-level employment with ABC, but was unsuccessful. Finding it hard to get his foot in the door of on-air reporting, Cooper decided to enlist the help of a friend in making a fake press pass. At the time, Cooper was working as a fact checker for the small news agency Channel One, which produces a youth-oriented news program that is broadcast to many junior high and high schools in the United States. Cooper then entered Myanmar on his own with his forged press pass and met with students fighting the Burmese government. He was ultimately able to sell his home-made news segments to Channel One. Persuading Channel One to allow him to bring a Hi-8 camera with him, Anderson soon began filming and assembling reports of Vietnamese life and culture that aired on Channel One. He later returned to filming stories from a variety of war-torn regions around the globe, including Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

Media Cooper has been involved with:

  • Anderson Cooper 360 (2003—present): CNN
    • Katrina: The Storm That Never Stopped (2015): A 10th anniversary retrospective on Hurricane Katrina
  • 60 Minutes (2006—present): CBS
  • Anderson, retitled Anderson Live (2010—2013)
  • ABC News — correspondent (1995—1999)
  • The Mole (2000—2001)
  • World News Now (1999—2000): ABC
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival (2011)
  • Featured in Fake News Rumble
  • Dispatches From the Edge: A memoir of war, disasters, and survival (2006): His memoir of 2005 (Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina) interspersed with his own recollections of his childhood and early years as a journalist
  • The Rainbow Comes and Goes: and other life lessons I learned from my mom (2016): A collection of correspondence between Anderson and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, begun after Gloria briefly fell ill; combination memoir and inspirational advice
  • The Glee character Cooper Anderson is named after him.


Tropes pertaining to Mr. Cooper:

  • Adorkable: Just check any video of him cracking up on air.
  • Annoying Laugh: His laugh has been said to sound like a dying weasel. Good thing he's so freakin' cute!
  • Armor-Piercing Question: He has a talent for these. Pretty much any video titled some variant of "[bigoted person] OWNED by Anderson Cooper" involves him firing these at the interviewee non-stop.
  • Badass Bookworm: Went to Yale and won a Peabody Award for journalism. Spends a lot of time running around in a bulletproof vest. Also, it took all of half an hour for the Internet to declare him the winner of the first 2016 Democratic presidential debate — which he was moderating.
  • Badass Gay: Came out as gay in 2012, and is one of the most prominent gay journalists on American television.
  • Banned in China
  • The Big Board: For elections.
  • Blue Blood: As far as American money is concerned: He is a son of the Vanderbilts (his mother being Gloria Vanderbilt).
  • Breather Episode: This is why, in 2010, Anderson hosted a daytime talk show for two seasons — while still anchoring AC360, no less! He described it as a chance to catch his breath and have some fun, in contrast to the humanitarian disasters he usually covers.
  • Broken Bird: Dispatches reveals that losing his father at age ten and his brother to suicide at age 21 did some serious damage to his psyche; he relates that he ran off to war zones in order to help himself "feel again". Fortunately, after Hurricane Katrina, he was able to start patching himself back together.
    Africa was a place to forget, and to be forgotten.
  • Camp Gay: Rarely apparent, but when you get him started on Madonna, Lady Gaga, and trashy reality TV....
  • Corpsing: Reporting on Dyngus Day as well as during several Ridiculist segments. Who can blame the guy?
  • Cuteness Proximity: See Anderson Cooper. See Anderson Cooper meet an adorable animal. See Anderson Cooper devolve into a cooing mess.
    Anderson: [cooing to Snooki the sloth] You know where Surinam is, don't you, girl? [smooch]
  • Dead Line News: Nearly decapitated by a flying street sign while reporting on Katrina. And getting malaria in the middle of South Africa.
  • Deadpan Snarker: For all his levelheaded and mostly-neutral news coverage, when he decides to break out the snark, you'll get dehydration just by listening. Prime examples include every RidicuList segment he's ever done, including this one about Heidi and Spencer.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Death and destruction anywhere in the world pretty much acts as a summoning beacon for this man. He is, by his own account, terrible at taking a vacation and always itching to go where the story is hottest. It's paid off.
  • Heh Heh, You Said X: The usual culprit for the above-mentioned cracking up.
    Anderson: ...I have the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old.
  • Heroic Bystander / Badass Normal: Lots of journalists are content to merely record the events of wherever they go. Cooper, no so much.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Whatever developments he's reporting on, from Hurricane Katrina to a Lebanese revolution to a tsunami in Sri Lanka, it's a fair bet that if Cooper can report from in the thick of it, he will be. There's a reason he won a Peabody for his Hurricane Katrina coverage, folks.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: Anderson Cooper, Peabody Award winner and one of the most respected broadcast journalists in the world, squees like a high school fangirl about getting pulled up onstage to dance with Madonna during her "Rebel Heart" tour.
  • Lampshade Hanging: of Reality Show Genre Blindness, during his run on The Mole.
    Don't you guys know how this game works? If you say you don't like to cook, you know you're going to end up cooking. You say you like to cook, you don't get to cook!
  • Manly Gay: Comes with being a serious news anchor.
  • Manly Tears: He nearly broke down on-camera during Hurricane Katrina at the sight of a young man in a pickup truck carrying a salvaged American flag — he was visibly fighting back tears and only just able to pull himself back together enough to go on. He notes in his memoir that amid catastrophic governmental incompetence, starvation, wholesale destruction, and the sight of dead bodies in the streets, it was just too much.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Again, his mother is Gloria Vanderbilt.
  • No Sell: Even in the face of the most bigoted, vitriolic rants known to man — up to and including personal attacks — Anderson maintains a look of polite, curious interest while gently but firmly asking the ranter to please answer the question. This is one of his most-praised talents as a journalist. Of course, the same cannot be said for accidental or deliberate innuendo. Or toilet jokes. Or insults to his basil office candle.
  • Older Than They Look: It's a bit of a running gag now that he simply appears to have not aged since the late '90s, to the point where John Oliver actually callednote  the Middle East "the Anderson Cooper's face" of international affairs because it never changes. For reference: Anderson Cooper, 1999 vs. Anderson Cooper, 2015. In the former picture, he's 31. In the latter, he's 48. Yes, really.
  • Only Sane Man: The Daily Show seems to see him as this. Jon Stewart has never pulled his punches about his disgust with CNN, but never once have any of those punches been directed Cooper's way, and Stewart has expressed honest respect for his fair, neutral journalistic integrity and called himself a "big fan".
    Jon: ...for me, that's the toughest thing, when I see you in a dangerous place, it makes me — I just want to give you a big old hug, 'cause, you know, we're big fans of yours.
  • Open Secret: Cooper's sexuality was pretty well known before he came out, but he decided to make it official in 2012.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Anderson has built his reputation on calm, level-headed, evenhanded journalism. So when he went after Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — when he had spent days in amongst the rubble and bodies and unspeakable human suffering — it really got people's attention, and spoke volumes about just how angry the situation had made him.
  • Pass the Popcorn: While airing clips of the Rod Blagojevich... mess.
  • Picky Eater: Doesn't like hot foods or drinks.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Enough exposure to Kathy Griffin has taken him from baffled horror to resigned amusement when she starts stripping down to her underwear in public. By this point he knows she's not going to listen to him, but he makes a valiant effort anyway.
  • Redshirt Reporter: He seems to be under the impression that the best place for him to be reporting from is wherever on the globe he's most likely to be killed or maimed in any given week. This is quite intentional. Hence all those hours in a bulletproof vest.
  • Sesame Street Cred: Appears in the Season 38 finale of Sesame Street, which is itself a parody of high-end TV journalism.
  • Silver Fox: He's one of the page images. By the time he made it big, he had already gone silver; his hair was almost fully grey by his mid-twenties.
  • Shamu Fu: He was one of the truly alarming number of celebrities hit in the face with a fish in the "Salmon Cannon" segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's first season finale. Sadly, the camera didn't stick around long enough to show the probably-inevitable giggle fit.
  • Squee: The only accurate word for Anderson's reaction to meeting a real live sloth, with which he is self-admittedly obsessed.
    Anderson: [holding Snooki the sloth] This is basically the happiest I've ever been.
  • Star-Making Role: While he began garnering major attention with the Indian Ocean tsunami in late 2004, it was his coverage of Hurricane Katrina that truly put him on the map as a journalist.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: He tries to be the Straight Man to Kathy Griffin's ridiculous antics during their New Year's Eve broadcasts, but... it doesn't usually work. She tends to get him laughing about two minutes in, and he doesn't really stop for the rest of the evening.
  • Two First Names: For extra points, "Anderson" and "Cooper" are both more common as last names than first names, though both common.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds / Odd Friendship: Serious Cooper and cheery Kathy Griffin. Their New Years' Eve coverage (which mostly foregoes musical guests and coasts primarily on the two of them riffing on each other) is a thing of beauty.
  • The War on Terror: Reporting on 9/11, which brought him back to serious journalism after his stint hosting The Mole.
  • What Beautiful Eyes: The only feature more raved about than his hair is his eyes. Including by Stephen Colbert. Holy wow!!
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Not pleased to be endorsed by Chris Dorner.