Never a dull moment with Anderson Cooper!
Most of the time, of course, the silver-haired CNN anchor is rushing to a disaster area or war zone to produce hard-hitting on-site reports, or grilling Libyan government spokesmen and fake presidential candidates. But sometimes the host likes to have a little fun on the air.
Here he is getting silly with Kathy Griffin on New Year's Eve. Here, yucking it up with Chelsea Handler. And in this clip, from Monday night's edition of "Anderson Cooper 360," he makes with some self-deprecating banter in the wake of a photo bait-and-switch perpetrated with the help of CNN International anchor Isha Sesay. You can watch a video of the exchange between Sesay and Cooper after the jump.
During a segment running down recent celebrity news, Sesay was telling Cooper about how "Justin Bieber's being called a brat" by "CSI" star Marg Helgenberger. But instead of the expected shot of the Canadian teen-pop heart-throb, the screen flashed a picture of a young boy in a fuzzy purple Russian-style hat and a similarly hued uniform, replete with silver epaulettes. This was a shot of the boy Cooper. "Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute," the adult Cooper said. "Where did this picture suddenly materialize from?
Sesay looked to be in on the joke but couldn't keep a straight face. Cooper seemed stunned and confused and then proclaimed in jest that the people who punked him were going to lose their jobs. "I'm being told in the control room it was a technical glitch," he said. "I don't believe that for a second!"
So what was the ridiculous outfit all about, anyway?
"I was pretending to be Wally Norden, the world's youngest bear trainer, on 'To Tell the Truth,' " Bob Stewart's classic American game show, Cooper explained. Sesay tried to get back to the Bieber news, but Cooper interrupted: "I'm not hearing anything, I'm just thinking about people I'm gonna fire," he announced amid a rising chorus of in-studio laughter.
Cooper's "To Tell the Truth" cameo is not the only embarrassing game show stint that's come back to haunt him. In 2001, Cooper hosted ABC's primetime reality show "The Mole," which pitted contestants in crass competitive situations for a cash reward. But CNN pranksters may be out of luck if they set about to loot the Mole archives: It seems like the evidence has been destroyed.