Less than an hour before midnight on the East Coast, Anderson Cooper was sent into uncontrollable convulsions of laughter by the sight of John Mayer reporting in for the new year from a Tokyo cat bar. As part of CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage, Cooper and Bravo host/producer Andy Cohen did their annual Times Square countdown Sunday night.
But when Mayer checked in from Tokyo, sitting at the counter of a bar occupied by multiple cats on what was then Monday afternoon in Japan, it pushed Cooper into his trademark high-pitched giggle. It likely didn’t help that Mayer had one of the feline’s butts in his face, as the guitarist and singer ably played it completely straight as he discussed his location via satellite.
As Cohen introduced Mayer, Cooper already started to crack, smiling and attempting to hold in laughter before they shared their feed of Mayer with the viewers at home.
“Happens to be a dear friend of mine, we are joined by John Mayer at a cat cafe in Tokyo,” Cohen said as Anderson laughed in the background. “This doesn’t look sanitary, John.”
“You know what, I believe it passes all health codes — I think it’s just fine,” Mayer said.
Meanwhile, Cooper sounded like he had just become the Joker.
“Yes, we are at a cat bar. It’s called Cats in the Box, in Tokyo, celebrating New Year’s. We are already halfway through the first day of 2024,” Mayer related, attempting to play his part of correspondent.
Gesturing toward the array of cats all walking across the bar, Mayer said, “I’m hear with Shin, and five other proprietors of the bar.”
Cohen tried questioning Mayer about the bar as Cooper seemed like he may be about to pee himself with joy.
“You’re in the bar, and there are cats everywhere. They are licking each other,” Cohen continued.
“Yeah. This is a place you can come, enjoy a drink or two and talk to cats. It’s a cat bar,” Mayer rather stoically responded. “I mean, I don’t know how much more clear I can be about the objective of this place.”
“I can’t see Anderson, but I know exactly what he looks like right now,” Mayer said, acknowledging what he was surely hearing via an earpiece.
“Yes, yes you do,” Cohen said, Cooper unable to speak at that moment. The Vanderbilt heir clutched his chest and stepped to the side, unable to regain his composure.
“He is gone. He is off with the fairies here,” Cohen added. “Just the shot of the cat’s ass in your face is making him delirious.”
Cooper continued to laugh, watching Mayer feed one of the cats, finally gaining control of himself with a face likely sore from smiling. He got it together just in time for Cohen to ask Mayer to play a game with them, the winkingly titled “Name That Pussy,” in which they try to guess the names of the cats.
But by the time they got to the first answer, a cat’s butt was turned with the anatomy facing directly into the camera. Cooper was no match for this sight, face crinkling again, though he was able to get words out this time.
“I mean, the shot–” Cooper said.
“The shot is crazy,” Cohen added, looking at his view of the cat’s butt while Mayer fed a paste to the cats. The newly hysterical Cooper covered his face as he watched what was unfolding.
Cohen continued the interviewing, asking Mayer what 2024 was like since they were still in 2023.
“Well, if it’s anything like my 2024, you’ll be surrounded by cats,” Mayer quipped, completely straight-faced.
Even Cohen did a bit of a spit-take, forced to bend over as he took a sip of his drink. Covering for Cooper, Cohen talked about how much his cohost loved Cohen’s SiriusXM channels and helped Mayer get into plugging his own new satellite radio channel.
Mayer described his curated channel with a metaphor, adding, “Think about going to a restaurant, or a cat bar — think about going to a cat bar where all the cats are already picked out for you.”
Cooper managed to stop laughing long enough to respond, “See, that’s what I want in a cat bar — I’m tired of going to these cat bars where the cats haven’t been picked out for me, and I have to try to find the cats, and there’s so many cats to choose from.”
His charming laugh has likely been part of the reason CNN loves having Cooper host its New Year’s Eve coverage year after year. He’s poked fun at himself for it several times on his show over the years.
He’s been lovingly mocked for it by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and even his own cable news colleague Wolf Blitzer.
Viewers couldn’t get enough of laughing Anderson, chiming in on social media to share the joy it was giving them (and praising Mayer’s stonefaced delivery).
That wasn’t even the only time in the night Cooper failed to keep his newsman bearing, including when he and Cohen chatted with Neil Patrick Harris.
Mayer also teased the possibility of another tour of his Grateful Dead group Dead and Company in this new year, while noting that he wasn’t at liberty to fully share details at this point — but “have hope.”
Watch the full cat bar/Cooper laughter segment in the video at the top of this story.