Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams: two impishly handsome newsmen dominating the airwaves. One was born to a modest, Irish-Catholic family from New Jersey. The other is the great-great-great-grandson of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. Both are able broadcast journalists. Both have demonstrated natural gifts for comedy. And both possess talent for injecting themselves into the pop culture landscape. But which one is cooler? TV.com investigates.
Round One: Showdown on Sesame Street
Williams has appeared twice on Sesame Street; Cooper has appeared only once. However, Cooper boasts his own Muppet alter ego: Anderson Cucumber, reporter for the Vegetable News Network.
Round Two: Saturday Night Fever
Williams ably hosted an entire episode of SNL in 2007, while Cooper made his debut on the show only last week, taking a vicious beatdown from Pee-wee Herman in a Digital Short.
Round Three: Straight Men
Both anchors have achieved success playing stone-faced foils to famous comedians. Williams appears in a recurring Late night with Jimmy Fallon bit in which he and the host “Slow Jam the News,” while Cooper hosts CNN’s New Year’s Eve broadcast with Kathy Griffin. (You know, the one where she told a heckler that she doesn’t “go to your job and knock the dicks out of your mouth” on live television.)
Round Four: Wild CardsThen there's the element of surprise, which both Cooper and Williams use to their advantage. On a year-end MSNBC talk show, for example, Williams took off on a comedic tear, ripping into the New York Times for their fawning coverage of the bohemian goings-on in Brooklyn. The rant found some viral life online.
And just this week, producers of the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revealed that Cooper will be provide the voice of the titular book, steering star Daniel Radcliffe up the corporate ladder. (Walter Cronkite played the same part in a 1995 revival.)
Closing thoughts: While Williams is the more gifted performer, Cooper seems less eager to please. Williams is the groovy dad, Cooper the perennially hip bachelor.
Winner: Anderson Cooper