Christmas is still more than a week away, but that doesn't mean you can't get into the holiday spirit now. Hanukkah starts tonight! In honor of the Festival of Lights, we've decided to round up eight stars who lit up our year and recap what makes them so great, one per day, like candles in the menorah of our hearts.
Though the traditional thought is that the eight-day celebration involves lighting one candle each night on the menorah, it's important to note that, smack in the center, is a single flame high above all the others. This is the shamash, and it has an important job. Known as the "helper candle," the shamash is lit before all of the others, so that it functions like a guiding light for the other lights. And that, dear friends, brings us to our honorary shamash: Andy Cohen.
Over this past year, the Bravo executive/drinking game enthusiast/host of Watch What Happens Live has managed to find his way not only into our living rooms, but also into our hearts. In July, Cohen celebrated his fifth year on-air with the likes of Martha Stewart and NeNe Leakes. In the last few months alone, he had guests ranging from Russell Brand and Brooke Shields to Padma Lakshmi and Olivia Munn to Amy Sedaris and Deepak Chopra, Oprah's meditation guy. (Let us never forget, Cohen has had Oprah on, too.) From politicians to Housewives, Andy always manages to get his guests chatting, and usually manages to get them drinking… which, now that we think about it, may be how he gets them chatting, answering questions we'd never dare ask, and giving them the chance to plead the fifth. In coming on his show, however, all guests get the opportunity to show viewers a different side of themselves than we typically see. They can take the moment and make what they want of it, and if that's not helpful, we don't know what is.
But he's doesn't just have the gift of gab; he's mastered the power of the pen. Cohen's second book, The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year, came out just a few weeks ago and has already garnered countless rave reviews. Much like the guests on his late-night talk show, the praise for his memoir has come from outlets ranging from Time, which described the tome as "an important text when it comes to understanding what it is to be a gay man today," to Jimmy Fallon, who declared, "Cohen's diaries are the literary equivalent of a Fresca and tequila." We think Fresca and tequila can be pretty helpful too, especially during the holidays.
Finally, we'd be remiss not to mention perhaps Cohen's greatest contribution to pop culture: his Mazel of the Day. Though we never know what to expect on his show, we always count on Cohen lending support to others by giving at least one shout-out to someone or something that brightened his own day. (His Jackhole of the Day mention is usually pretty on-point too.)
For his continued commitment to calling both the mazels and the jackholes like he sees them, we commend this man who has managed to permeate pop culture all year long. For all of these reasons and more, Andy Cohen is our light that comes before all others this Hanukkah.