When you're an aspiring journalist/writer/reporter/editor/media person, you'll take whatever job comes your way. Some of those jobs are red-carpet reporting at galas, movies premieres, fashion-week parties—you get the idea. It sounds so much fancier than it actually is. It's the kind of scene that leaves you contemplating your self-worth as you head back to your apartment across from a U-Haul depot. I know this, because I used to do this.
Luckily, I work for VICE now, and we don't give a shit whether or not Barbara Walters had plastic surgery. Since I gave up those morally deprecating days, I've managed to ignore any red-carpet invites from publicists and avoid all the rich people who say "GEY-luh" instead of "gal-uh"—until I got invited to the Sesame Street gala last week. I wanted to go, because I wanted to know Cookie Monster's weight-loss secrets given his obvious issues with gluttony. And what did Elmo think of Katy Perry's tits?
I grabbed our photo editor, Matthew Leifheit, and headed to Cipriani's in Midtown, New York. I can't lie; I was excited, but I knew what was in store: Yes, we'd get to go to a really fancy party with really fancy people in really fancy clothes, but depending on the publicist working that night, we potentially risked trespassing charges if we walked past the velvet ropes.
The invite said that press check-in was at 5:30 PM and people would arrive at 6 PM. In true form, no one showed up till 6:30. We stood along the velvet rope with other reporters and photographers like we were in some weird ration line from the Great Depression. Reporters were shoving us with one arm as they were shoving their recorders in the face of whatever celebrity with their other arm. Some pleaded with publicists to ask JUST ONE MORE question of Michael Bublé, then followed up with, "So what time do you and your wife go to bed?" (Hey, if people didn't want to read garbage, journalists wouldn't ask garbage questions.)
Since we were only there for the muppets who had to pose with Michael Buble as he made his duck face, we decided to take advantage of the free alcohol floating around. Usually I hate mimosas, because they remind me of wine coolers, and wine coolers call up repressed middle school memories. But these mimosas were delicious. Since I hadn't eaten dinner, part of me would've salivated over Draino, and another part of me assumed they were made with Abby Cadabby's magic fairy dust.
I chugged three mimosas, because—like Cookie Monster—I too have issues with gluttony.
By 7 PM, panic started to set in a little bit, because dinner was starting in 30 minutes. I channeled all my inner hustle and grabbed Cookie Monster away from the chaos. It was awkward at first, but that's just what happens when you meet a celebrity of Cookie Monster's caliber and good looks. We chatted for a bit, and—objectively speaking—it was the best six minutes of my life. He then ate my microphone and a little bit of my hand.
You can listen to the full interview or read some of the highlights below or do both.
Cookie Monster on nicknames:
You can Cookie Monster; you can call me Cookie. But please no call me "Kooks." Me no like that one. You can call me C.M.
On an eating idol:
Me not really have eating idol. Me just humble, cookie-loving monster. Me do me own thing.
Butter? Plain butter? That's disgusting. Me like butter in cookies. Me like butter cookies. Butter main ingredient in cookies, but plain butter—disgusting. Your microphone looking better and better. Maybe you put a little butter on it and we have big party.
On New York vs. Chicago pizza:
Me have tried both. Me love both. They very different. So it really hard to compare. You no can compare.
On his cowardly stance on pizza:
Me love Chicago pizza—and me love New York pizza. You not edit that.
Me love journalists. Me love Chicago journalists and New York journalists. They completely different.
Me read New York Times. Me very well-read, cultured monster.
On choosing monster as a career path:
That's really compelling question. Me was born a monster. Me born Cookie Monster. Me from family of cookie monsters. Long line of cookie monsters.
On losing weight since making cookies a "sometimes" food:
This not recent thing. Me always eat vegetables; me always eat fruit. But me love coooookies. Me in good shape—can you not tell?
Matthew and I hung out with Elmo and Abby Cadabby for about 13 seconds before dinner started and all the muppets disappeared backstage. At this point, Matthew and I headed to the bar because free champagne. We took selfies in the Elmo camera booth. Then we listened as rich white people congratulated themselves for spending money on an extravagant night in the name of bringing Sesame Street to Afghanistan, because where the troops couldn't succeed, the muppets sure as hell could.
Angelina Fanous didn't grow up watching Sesame Street, so maybe that's why she gets drunk at charity events. If you share her love for butter or Cookie Monster, follow her on Twitter.