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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

The Queens of Comedy

Aired January 4, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome to a special 9:00 edition of "360."

Tonight, the queens of comedy, four of the funniest females in show business, Joan Rivers, Joy Behar, Kathy Griffin and the legendary Phyllis Diller join me for a free-willing conversation where anything goes and nothing is off limits.

Plus, the man who's going to take over this time slot in less than two weeks, Piers Morgan, host of upcoming "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" here on CNN. You know him of course as a judge on "America's Got Talent" and "Britain's Got Talent."

But tonight Piers reveals how he did something I could never do. Make Simon Cowell cry. That's a little later.

First, four very funny ladies, each one a ground breaker, each one help to break down the door of the boys' only club known as comedy. Phyllis Diller will join us a little bit later. Let's start the conversation with Joan Rivers, Joy Behar and Kathy Griffin.

Thank you all for joining us for this sort of weird two-week show that doesn't really exist. Appreciate you being on.

JOY BEHAR, HOST, HLN'S "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW": In memory of --

COOPER: In memory of Larry King.

BEHAR: Larry King.

COOPER: Yes. So this is sort of a Larry King-esque women of comedy panel.

BEHAR: Good. Good.

COOPER: Yes.

BEHAR: OK. I'm just saying, Larry King used to laugh at everything I said. So you better start laughing.

COOPER: I will --

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: I will laugh and I -- JOAN RIVERS, STAR, WE TV'S "JOAN AND MELISSA": That's why he's off the air.

(LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: That must be it.

COOPER: Joan, I want to read you something that Jerry Lewis once said. He said, quote, "A woman doing comedy doesn't offend me but sets me back a bit. I as a viewer have trouble with it. I think of her as producing a machine that brings babies into the world."

RIVERS: Yes.

BEHAR: Oh god.

RIVERS: Well, when did we last laugh at Jerry Lewis? Look who -- the French think he's funny. Those idiots.

COOPER: Did you get that a lot when you started in comedy?

RIVERS: No. I have always said people always say, oh, it's a man's field and you're not accepted. If Hitler came back, with 10 good minutes, they'd be saying, you know, there's another side to him. He's sort of --

BEHAR: He's hilarious.

RIVERS: You know? It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman or a dog. No. It's ridiculous.

COOPER: Do you think --

BEHAR: That's not true. I don't agree with that.

RIVERS: You think --

BEHAR: I just think it's harder for women because men are used to laughing at men. So when you get up there and you're a woman and you have boobs, and you're a girl, they have trouble.

RIVERS: Not now.

BEHAR: Should I laugh or sleep with her? It used to be.

RIVERS: Used to be.

BEHAR: Yes.

RIVERS: But not now.

BEHAR: No. Now it's OK.

COOPER: Kathy, did you find it?

BEHAR: We're talking about when you started. RIVERS: When I start -- well, nobody wanted to sleep with me anyhow.

BEHAR: Yes, they did. Edgar did.

RIVERS: Oh, Edgar. He was desperate to get a green card. Man, was he --

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: The man was English.

BEHAR: No, that's true.

RIVERS: Better looking than Thatcher.

COOPER: Kathy, did you -- did you find that when you first started?

KATHY GRIFFIN, EMMY-WINNING COMIC: Yes. Well, first of all, I just want to say I brought my boobs, so girl, boobs, I'm ready to start the jokes.

Yes, I actually do find it's very sexist and I still get calls like three weeks ago I got a call from somebody to do their pilot presentation tape and they just came right out and said, yes, we just don't have the girl comic yet.

So, you know, it's still a little bit of a quota situation and I still say if you call your comedy club and ask for the "Saturday Night" lineup, there's probably about, you know, eight male comedians to one female comedian. So it's out there.

RIVERS: Kathy, there are fewer women than men in the business. You know what I'm saying?

GRIFFIN: I thought you meant on the planet.

RIVERS: No, I wish. Only have to go to Australia for that but --

RIVERS: Or Alaska.

GRIFFIN: That'd be great.

RIVERS: By the way, did Sarah Palin --

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: No, no. What's his name gave this to me. The --

GRIFFIN: Todd Palin. Todd gave it to her.

BEHAR: Brett Favre?

RIVERS: No, no, no. The one that's mean to the dogs. (LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: Michael Vick.

RIVERS: Vick. Michael Vick.

BEHAR: Michael Vick.

RIVERS: I had to clean it. Yes. So anyway. I really -- I think it's a great excuse to -- do you know when people are -- people say, oh nobody wants me because I'm this or that. I never thought about that. And I used to sit with Woody Allen and Bill Cosby and me and David Brennan (ph), and Dick Cavett. And I was just one of the guys. And when I was funny, they love me. When I wasn't funny, they didn't love me.

COOPER: But you look at someone like Betty White who's 90 years old --

RIVERS: Don't talk about Betty White.

COOPER: Why?

BEHAR: Why not?

RIVERS: That old bitch. I was doing so well, and from the dead, she comes back, she's taken all my jokes. Taken everything.

BEHAR: Your jokes or your parts?

RIVERS: Both.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIFFIN: Anderson, that's a trigger for Joan.

BEHAR: Yes, I see that. A little bit of a sticking point there, OK.

RIVERS: And you know how she got it? You know?

BEHAR: Yes. She slept around.

RIVERS: Slept around.

BEHAR: Slept with everybody.

GRIFFIN: She's -- right to the middle.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Biggest ho in television. I go along with that.

RIVERS: Smile on the Hindenburg.

BEHAR: Oh, yes. (LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: No, I like Betty White. She's a --

BEHAR: No. Seriously --

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Because it means more parts for us as we go into our dotage, right?

RIVERS: Say it again?

BEHAR: Forget it.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: But, Joan, you say that Kathy is taking some of your gigs.

RIVERS: No. Oh Kathy is taking all my gigs, but she's my friend. Well, here's the -- they call up and they say who would you rather have? Kathy Griffin, brand new, hot, terrific, new, or Joan's still around. And we get the same agent and he says to me, look at her booking sheet. Well, you want to go --

COOPER: Kathy, is it true?

RIVERS: Are you enjoying (INAUDIBLE), Kathy?

GRIFFIN: I love the last name is still around. I love -- we could be Joan Still Around, Kathy Still Around.

Look, these ladies have longevity and that's why I love them, that's what I admire, and I think we're kind all in it for that, right, gals? We like the longevity more than the --

BEHAR: We do.

GRIFFIN: Sort of flash in the pan.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Then we'd have to come up some new job. It's ridiculous. We know how to do this.

GRIFFIN: No. It's too late for me to be a dental hygienist. That ship has sailed.

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: No, but you know, the one good thing I always used to think when I was -- I wanted to be an actress and then I realized I'm going to be a comedian because that's the door that opened, and then I realized how lucky. It doesn't matter about how old we are as long as -- COOPER: Age doesn't matter in comedy?

RIVERS: Doesn't matter. As long as you're funny. As long as you're funny.

COOPER: Well, it's amazing, though. I mean I saw the documentary about you.

BEHAR: It's true.

COOPER: You're still out in comedy clubs.

RIVERS: Yes.

COOPER: Trying out new material.

RIVERS: Yes.

BEHAR: Constantly.

RIVERS: Every Wednesday and Tuesday night.

COOPER: When was the last time you did stand-up?

BEHAR: July.

COOPER: July.

BEHAR: July.

COOPER: You got two shows on television going on.

BEHAR: Yes, I can't. I can't right now. I'm like -- I'm brain dead on the stand-up right now.

COOPER: Joan, why are you still out there doing it?

RIVERS: I love it. Because last night I did a thing about "Spider-man" the musical that broke me up. I love the new stuff that comes out.

COOPER: You did stand-up last night?

RIVERS: Yes. I'm doing it again tonight.

COOPER: Isn't that exhausting?

BEHAR: Didn't you see the documentary?

COOPER: Yes, I did see. And that's what so --

BEHAR: The woman is obsessed.

COOPER: It was like at 2:00 a.m. you're in, like, the Laugh Shack or something.

BEHAR: Yes.

RIVERS: I have no life. No life.

BEHAR: Here's the thing about women comedians. It is ageless. Like the Kardashians, they are not ageless. Pretty soon Kim Kardashian is going to realize that she's getting older but if she were funny she wouldn't care.

COOPER: What do you think she's going to do when she gets older?

BEHAR: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe Betty White's jobs. I don't know.

GRIFFIN: Senior sex tape.

COOPER: Senior sex tape?

RIVERS: What you're going to do a senior sex tape?

GRIFFIN: A senior sex tape. It's going to be very hot.

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: I tried that.

COOPER: Oh yes?

GRIFFIN: And?

RIVERS: I couldn't get a sailor to go into it with me.

COOPER: So to speak.

GRIFFIN: We're going to get Brett Favre to do a quadruple with the three of us and it's going to sell like hot cakes. Or hot buns. Whatever he'll call us.

COOPER: Is there a camaraderie, though? I mean among women in comedy? Or is there -- I mean, is there competition at the same time?

BEHAR: There used to be before today.

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: I think on your way up, there's not. Because it's -- you're all trying to get the same job. But I find now all my friends are lady comedians. It's going to be a woman in the business. Kathy and I have -- I like to say very close because I have no good friends.

GRIFFIN: Very close friends, absolutely.

RIVERS: We're very close, right? Like twice a year. Intimate, intimate. But I think there's a certain -- also we get it. You know what I mean?

BEHAR: Well, the boys know how to do it. When we were coming up, you know, the boys knew how to stick together and laugh at each other. The women would be a little bit weary of each other. That wasn't working. So I didn't like to play that game. It's better to be cooperative, I think.

RIVERS: Yes, but there's one job --

BEHAR: And help each other.

RIVERS: -- and all four of us are up for it, it's still very competitive.

BEHAR: Yes, but you're not going to be up for the same job as -- you know, as I would be. You wouldn't be.

RIVERS: Yes, I would be. If they want a fat, ugly, old --

COOPER: Nice.

RIVERS: -- woman who has no sex appeal. Then they call us both in.

COOPER: Nice.

(LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: That's lovely. Isn't she adorable?

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: And she said Betty White is a bitch?

GRIFFIN: She's America's sweetheart.

BEHAR: All right.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. Much more ahead with Kathy Griffin, Joan Rivers, Joy Behar.

Also later, Phyllis Diller and Piers Morgan. I don't know why he's on the women of comedy special --

BEHAR: He's hilarious.

COOPER: But we'll be right back.

BEHAR: Talk about a fat, ugly --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Here's what I love. I love that Anderson Cooper covered Katrina in Prada. Right? He's, like, I'm up to my knees in human feces in Prada. All right.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) GRIFFIN: You made the act, Andy. You made the act.

COOPER: I made the act. Yes.

GRIFFIN: You've arrived.

COOPER: It's not true but I made the act. It was funny.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: You're so full of it. You know you're wearing Prada underwear now.

BEHAR: Can I just say that Kathy is very dangerous in her act?

COOPER: Yes?

BEHAR: She says jokes about Barbara Walters. She does jokes about every celebrity.

COOPER: I know.

RIVERS: That's right.

BEHAR: You can't be in her company.

RIVERS: Don't want to say.

BEHAR: Anything you say.

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: Oh, I have said to her tonight is off limits and then we really talk.

BEHAR: Absolutely.

RIVERS: Yes. You've got to.

GRIFFIN: That's my dirty little secret. I actually can keep a secret really well. But you have to tell me. If you don't tell me?

BEHAR: It's not about secret.

GRIFFIN: It's all game.

BEHAR: Remember that book, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again"?

COOPER: Right.

BEHAR: Where she said (INAUDIBLE) need a deodorant?

RIVERS: Yes. Yes.

BEHAR: That girl died two weeks after that book is published. I'm just saying.

(LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: A word to the wise.

GRIFFIN: I'm on death watch 24/7. I understand.

RIVERS: Goldie Hawn --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Kathy, are there things you won't say, Kathy? Like I mean are there jokes that you come up with and you think -- why am I asking you this? Of course there's nothing you won't say.

GRIFFIN: No. There's nothing off limits and there's nothing I won't say.

COOPER: But you like offending people. I mean, that's --

GRIFFIN: Yes.

COOPER: That you like -- you like creating drama on that?

GRIFFIN: I like getting, you know, certain reactions. I love a twitter war. I would love a twitter war with that dude that Chris Brown got in one with because nobody knew who that guy was and now he's got 20,000 more followers. So I don't shy away with any of that stuff. I love it.

COOPER: Well, you know who like the twitter wars? Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan likes to get into a little tweet wars.

GRIFFIN: Well, good.

BEHAR: I'm in.

GRIFFIN: I'm going to declare one with him right now. I've had it with his crap. And it is go time, my friend.

BEHAR: Is it required in this discussion that you bring his name up every five minutes?

COOPER: Yes, it is actually. Yes. That's part of the reason I have this gig.

BEHAR: OK.

COOPER: He's dangerous.

GRIFFIN: I love his "Star Search 3." Now do you know these expressions, Anderson?

COOPER: No. What?

GRIFFIN: Well, you have to do three minutes for "Star Search" and then if you did the "Tonight Show," with the "Tonight Show," five, five minutes. If you do "College" it's 15 minutes. The "College 50."

COOPER: I'd say.

GRIFFIN: And then my live shows which are "My Live 240."

RIVERS: She does two hours and 40 minutes.

GRIFFIN: I ramble.

COOPER: Do you really? Two hours and 40 minutes?

RIVERS: I was in shock when I went to see --

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: She doesn't really do jokes, though.

RIVERS: No, but she's --

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: She has stories which is great. She's very funny, Kathy. But she dishes. Dish, dish.

GRIFFIN: I feel like you're trying to walk into my next act. I really do.

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: Two hours of -- I'm going this Saturday somewhere in Portland and the symphony is opening for me. Do you understand?

BEHAR: But if you tell Kathy --

RIVERS: Not doing two hours and 40 minutes.

BEHAR: If you tell Kathy that you have, like, thinning vaginal lining and you say it in the ladies room, she'll put it in her act and she'll tell it to everyone on Bravo now knows about your vaginal lining.

COOPER: You -- by the way, we are on television right now. You have said that on television.

BEHAR: I'm just saying that she'll do that. Am I right, Kathy?

GRIFFIN: Yes.

RIVERS: If you don't tell her --

GRIFFIN: Can we talk about anyone here's vaginal lining?

RIVERS: She has never mentioned my constipation problems because I have said, keep it to yourself, Kathy.

GRIFFIN: Because I'm her friend. I'm a friend. RIVERS: Yes.

RIVERS: And a model second. A model second.

COOPER: That is -- vaginal lining is one of those things which you asked me about on New Year's Eve whether we should do or not and I said let's stay away from it.

GRIFFIN: Well, that's why I'm going to do it anyway because on the live show, I'm going to do nothing but two hours just on vaginal lining.

BEHAR: Well --

GRIFFIN: And then see where the audience takes me. It's a ride.

BEHAR: I tell you who's going to do it, Anderson.

COOPER: Who?

BEHAR: Piers Morgan.

(LAUGHTER)

GRIFFIN: Dangerous. Very dangerous.

COOPER: Thank you for mentioning him.

BEHAR: Quota. Quota.

COOPER: Now I don't have to for another few --

BEHAR: I'm working on the corner with you, yes.

GRIFFIN: His vaginal lining is a wreck.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Good lord.

RIVERS: Poor Kate Gosselin when she hears that.

BEHAR: Oh my god.

GRIFFIN: If her vaginal lining could talk.

RIVERS: Is she still around?

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: I think of it more as a uterus. Every time they swung around on "Dancing with the Stars" I think three more kids are going to come out. Shucks. What the hell is going on? I hate her so much.

BEHAR: Do you hate her?

RIVERS: Don't you?

GRIFFIN: There were just babies coming out doing the splits.

COOPER: Why do you hate her?

RIVERS: I hate her because you've had eight children, stay home and take care of them, you dumb bitch. You know what I mean? At least learn their names.

BEHAR: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: Do you watch a lot of, like, reality TVs?

BEHAR: It's like the Duggars (ph). How about the Duggars?

RIVERS: Very little reality TV. Because I don't like looking at blue collar. You know what I'm saying? I don't care --

BEHAR: She only likes the royal --

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: She likes the royal family.

RIVERS: We talk about the house on wheels, I just don't want to watch it.

BEHAR: Really? I know. Because you know there'll be a tornado hitting it. It only hits those particular houses.

RIVERS: I like to look up.

COOPER: So if there was like a royal family reality show --

RIVERS: I'd be watching that.

BEHAR: On wheels, on wheels.

RIVERS: Out. Yes. The Princess Diana story?

GRIFFIN: And the vaginal lings, whoo.

RIVERS: How about the new movie, we're supposed to feel sorry for him because he's got a stutter. He's king. I'll trade king for stutter.

BEHAR: I know but he couldn't give the speech. He was --

RIVERS: Who cares? He's got a palace. Have a servant say it for you.

BEHAR: But he was going to have deal with h-h-Hitler. OK?

RIVERS: H-h-Hitler. Exactly.

BEHAR: I don't think it works. RIVERS: You get ch-Churchill.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: Anderson, that is one of those comedy staples also. When in doubt, go to Hitler.

COOPER: Go to Hitler. That's a Mel Brooks thing.

GRIFFIN: Oh yes. Hitler always kills. Get it?

COOPER: Rule number one. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: What? You ask us a serious question?

COOPER: No, I'm not. I don't have no serious questions. My sheet is blank. It's a blank piece of paper, actually, sadly.

GRIFFIN: How's your vaginal lining?

COOPER: Oh lord. We're going to edit out these parts out. So it's OK.

GRIFFIN: I like a dog with a bone, sorry.

COOPER: You are like -- yes.

BEHAR: You're editing out the vaginal lining parts?

COOPER: Probably not because now we've said it so many times that --

BEHAR: No, leave them in.

COOPER: Maybe I'll just try to --

GRIFFIN: Or scrotum lining.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Piers Morgan has a thin vaginal lining. I think we'll end with that.

COOPER: That is --

GRIFFIN: There's your headline.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: That's his new tag line. That's his new tag line, by the way. All right.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Yes.

GRIFFIN: This is going to be great for the Christmas gag reel.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Yes. They're going to regret giving me this 9:00 time slot a lot.

GRIFFIN: They really didn't give it to you, Anderson.

COOPER: True. They're dangling it in front of me for two weeks. They're forcing me to do it.

Do you guys --do you guys hang out? I mean do you --

BEHAR: We're having dinner a couple of weeks. She hangs out with Kathy, right?

RIVERS: As much as you can hang out --

GRIFFIN: Yes, absolutely.

RIVERS: You know all -- well, not you. We're all on the road a lot. Because you're lucky you've got -- you know, an anchor.

BEHAR: I have two shows. I know.

RIVERS: So --

BEHAR: But you have a show on the air, too.

RIVERS: I have two shows on the air.

COOPER: You've got -- you've got a show on the --

RIVERS: I have "Fashion Police" on E!

COOPER: The "Fashion Police". Right.

RIVERS: And then Melissa and I start January 25th on WE on our reality show.

BEHAR: Yes.

RIVERS: But I love --

COOPER: And it's a reality show about behind the scenes of you two?

RIVERS: About I moved in with her.

BEHAR: What a nightmare.

COOPER: You moved in with her?

RIVERS: It was a nightmare. BEHAR: Why would you do that?

RIVERS: It was -- well, because I try to be nice to her because you never know when I'm going to need a piece of liver, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

GRIFFIN: That's true. You've got to be thinking of the organs and the future.

BEHAR: Or kidney.

RIVERS: You got to think ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We actually have a clip on that show. I want to show it.

RIVERS: Do you really?

COOPER: Yes.

RIVERS: Good.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA RIVERS, JOAN RIVERS' DAUGHTER: You have said it 100 times. And I asked you not to talk about it in front of Cooper. It's not appropriate.

RIVERS: And I think anybody that brings a girl that looks like that into this house, I don't know what you're trying to prove, Melissa.

M. RIVERS: No, I'm not trying to prove anything.

RIVERS: You're tying to prove something.

M. RIVERS: No, I'm not. But my point is, you said --

RIVERS: You're trying to prove something.

(CROSSTALK)

M. RIVERS: But the nice thing is there's nothing I can do about it because --

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: You can give a wonderful check, say good-bye in Swedish. So long. And you just send her away.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You're talking about the nanny, I guess. RIVERS: She -- Melissa is no naive. She brings a nanny in for real. Hello, hello. Are you out of your mind? She's out of her mind.

COOPER: Why? Why?

BEHAR: Why?

RIVERS: Because she's a nice girl. My daughter is so nice. I don't know where she got it from because I'm a bitch. My husband was just as evil. And I don't know where she came from.

(LAUGHTER)

RIVERS: I don't know.

BEHAR: It's a reaction formation.

RIVERS: It's a reaction. Reaction.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Is there a man there that the nanny could take away?

RIVERS: Yes. She was living with Jason. Are you crazy?

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: And she got a nanny? It's very trendy to get a nanny. Remember when Britney had that guy?

RIVERS: A man-ny is always good.

GRIFFIN: Yes, very trendy.

RIVERS: My mother used to say pick a friend, pick her ugly. But even more than that, pick a nanny, pick her like Quasimodo with a bow. What are you doing? She brings in this little hot chick --

COOPER: And your grandson is named Cooper?

RIVERS: My grandson's name is Cooper.

COOPER: After me?

RIVERS: Yes.

COOPER: That's so nice. That's very nice.

GRIFFIN: This is so uncomfortable.

RIVERS: We went to a sperm bank and we just hoped.

BEHAR: You noticed how wasps -- here's the thing with wasps, which you are one of them.

COOPER: Yes, I am.

BEHAR: Family haves the first name as somebody's last name.

COOPER: It's true.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Like (INAUDIBLE). Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: I'm like an 18th century law firm.

RIVERS: Yes.

BEHAR: But you noticed that Jews don't do that. You'll never hear Gerstein Bernstein. It's only wasps that do that. What is that about?

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: There's many things I don't understand about being a wasp.

RIVERS: Actually his name is Edgar Cooper (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: We've got to take another quick break.

BEHAR: Is it?

RIVERS: Yes.

COOPER: A little later, we're going to be joined by the legendary Phyllis Diller and then I'll talk to my new CNN colleague Piers Morgan. Stick around.

BEHAR: I thought it was me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: A lot of men say to me, what are the rules, Joy? Do we still have to pay? Yes, you do. But that's the only thing that's the same. OK? That and kill the big bugs in the kitchen. These are the jobs. Everything else we can handle. All right?

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Welcome back to the special edition of "AC 360." I'm talking with three iconic women of comedy, here in New York Joan Rivers, Joy Behar, in Los Angeles, Kathy Griffin.

I want to play a clip of you, Joan, from the "Ed Sullivan Show" back in the 1960s when you started. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RIVERS: When I was 21, my mother said, only a doctor for you. When I was 22 she said, all right, a lawyer. CPA. 24, she said, we'll grab a dentist. 26, she said, anything. If he can make it to the door, he was mine. You know?

What do you mean you don't like him? He's intelligent. He found the bell himself. What do you want? Anybody that came to my house was it. Oh, Joan, there's the most attractive man down here with a mask and a gun. Anything that showed up.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: Forty years later. Same face. Not.

RIVERS: It's good genes. I would do plastic surgery but I keloid. They tell you that.

BEHAR: Yes. Yes. You're African-American.

RIVERS: Yes. These women looked at you. They're talking through the part in the hair and they say, I would do something but I scar easily.

BEHAR: Liars.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: How important do you think is being self-deprecating?

RIVERS: I think you have to let them -- well, everyone works differently in their humor. My humor -- you have to let them know I don't think -- I think I'm terrible so it's OK. You know what I'm saying? It's OK.

COOPER: You make fun of yourself before they do?

RIVERS: Always about myself. Always about myself.

BEHAR: Well, of course, she can take on somebody else, also. I mean otherwise you just look like a real --

COOPER: Do you do that, as well?

BEHAR: A little bit. Yes. I think humor is self-deprecating. Rodney Dangerfield. Why is it that women gets this label? Rodney is -- I don't get no respect for his whole career. Nobody ever said Rodney was self-deprecating. Joan Rivers, they are constantly putting that on her. I don't get it.

RIVERS: That's right.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: You're not such a bitch.

RIVERS: No. You're a wonderful person. What Barbara Walters says about you is not so. Absolutely.

(LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: You're a very nice person.

BEHAR: Yes, I know. What is she saying?

RIVERS: She hates you.

BEHAR: Oh, well.

RIVERS: So does Whoopi.

BEHAR: Can't win them all.

COOPER: Do you like going on "The View"?

RIVERS: I love going on "The View" except --

GRIFFIN: I love it, Anderson. Oh, OK.

RIVERS: All right.

GRIFFIN: Never mind. This is over for me.

RIVERS: I love going on "The View" because you get to see friends. You never even get to say much because there's five of you.

BEHAR: Yes. There's too many people.

RIVERS: Yes. Too many people.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: There's too many people. That's why you like HLN?

BEHAR: I'm the only one there. I love it.

RIVERS: What about you, Kathy?

COOPER: Yes, Kathy? Are you allowed on "The View" now?

GRIFFIN: Well, I wanted to -- no, I'm currently under a ban. But you know the ban's been lifted before. Who knows?

BEHAR: You are not banned, Kathy. That's not true.

GRIFFIN: BS, Joy. BS.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: Unless you're lifting it right now.

RIVERS: Wait a second. You just hosted it, didn't she?

(CROSSTALK) BEHAR: She's always on. She's full of it.

RIVERS: They love you over there to a point.

BEHAR: You don't have a ban there, baby. Come on any time. Tell them I said so.

GRIFFIN: I do? OK. I'll be back.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Kathy, why do you feel -- Kathy, why do you feel you've been banned? Or why have you been banned in the past?

GRIFFIN: I've been banned in the past from the Star Jones days, for making fun of her and her gastric bypass, to Barbara Walter days which is current because I like to tease her, and she doesn't get me, but I like her anyway. And Elisabeth Hasselbeck who just loves to stir stuff up with up and then of course I enjoy that. But she gets very upset.

COOPER: And you're up, Kathy, for -- you got a Grammy Award for best comedy album this year?

GRIFFIN: I have a Grammy nomination --

COOPER: A nomination.

GRIFFIN: -- for best comedy album. But I like that I've won in your mind. But I did want to say that in the history of the Grammys, only two women have won best comedy album.

COOPER: Is that really true?

GRIFFIN: So I think -- yes. Only two, so.

BEHAR: Who? Who are they?

RIVERS: Who were the two?

GRIFFIN: Whoopi and Lily. Whoopi and Lily.

RIVERS: Well, one doesn't count then.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Those are not stand-up comedy album, is what I'm saying.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Maybe Whoopi's is. I don't know.

GRIFFIN: Mine is.

RIVERS: Whoopi wasn't where you're from. Whoopi's probably was -- BEHAR: Whoopi's (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: We go on the road together sometime.

COOPER: Do you really?

BEHAR: Yes.

RIVERS: What does Whoopi do?

BEHAR: She does -- she spiels.

GRIFFIN: Yes. Yes.

BEHAR: She's more of a spieler. Yes. She's funny.

RIVERS: She's wonderful.

GRIFFIN: She has a lot of political stuff.

COOPER: Kathy, did you always kind of do your style of comedy, I mean, kind of telling stories? Was that from the beginning? Is that how you started?

GRIFFIN: Yes. In fact, I wanted -- yes. I still can't tell a joke to save my life like a knock-knock joke? And so I just started out in the coffee houses doing stories and luckily I had some friends when I was starting out help me out and say, do your thing, and these ladies know very well, you want to play to your strengths and do what you do and hopefully things that are unique to you.

So I do my own personal experiences, burning bridges, musings. But believe me, I'm happy to do a half hour right now just on the launch of the OWN Network. I could be off and running. I'm very excited about the Sarah Ferguson.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: I know. I'll never be on it but I want to see Sarah Ferguson go through her journey. I want to see the new bitter Shania Twain. Show about being bitter. The Judds I could watch all day. So I'm in. I'm all in.

COOPER: Did you watch "Oprah Behind the Scenes"? The first --

GRIFFIN: Yes. Are you kidding?

COOPER: I watched it, too, this weekend.

GRIFFIN: I can't wait to hear what happens with Liza.

COOPER: It was very good.

GRIFFIN: Yes. And then the -- we're going to Australia. I mean all of it. It was fantastic.

RIVERS: I'm always amazed at Kathy because she really is up on all of this pop culture and I always go, well, I haven't seen that. I didn't see that. I have to go watch that. You know, and then I TiVo it.

COOPER: Has your comedy changed a lot?

RIVERS: Yes. It's gotten much rougher.

COOPER: Much rougher?

RIVERS: Yes. Much --

COOPER: Was that just because -- when you first started, there was no way you can do that kind of stuff?

RIVERS: You weren't allowed. Yes. What they thought was wild then, I played -- my record literally for my daughter, I said, look, they said to me -- they didn't want to put me on half the shows. It's the sweet stuff that -- my hairdresser named Mr. Phyllis, people went into shock.

I had an affair with a married professor and while -- and he was engaged to me his wife because pregnant so I -- I guess he wasn't sincere. People went, what? What?

BEHAR: Well, that was the '50s.

RIVERS: The '60s.

BEHAR: '60s. Thank you. Thank you.

RIVERS: OK. I remember that because you were already a star.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Actually I was in utero but let's not go there.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: But you have -- and you have a file still of all your jokes?

RIVERS: I still have a file of my jokes. But it's --

BEHAR: She does.

RIVERS: I'm doing things now - I'm making fun about cancer. I started that last night, and I - because a friend of mine is really very sick with cancer. I was saying I'm only going to be nice to her because she was a bitch till her hair grows back, then she's on her own again. And it's (INAUDIBLE).

BEHAR: Now, that's funny stuff. That's (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Are - are there things you can't - I mean, there's obviously times, things you can't joke about.

RIVERS: I try - I - you try but, you - you know, push the envelope. Push the envelope.

BEHAR: It's all in your attitude.

RIVERS: And you laugh at anything and everything. It's OK.

BEHAR: If you're not mean spirited, you can work it out. She's not mean. She's talking nicely about a friend, really.

RIVERS: Yes. I love my friend.

BEHAR: She might like the attention, probably.

RIVERS: And she called me up. She lost a breast, she lost 11 pounds. I said, stop bitching. You lost 11 pounds. It's (INAUDIBLE). It's going to take me four months.

COOPER: And Kathy, I - I remember you saying you had performed in front of some AIDS patients, I think, in - somewhere and weren't - GRIFFIN: Yes, because when I started out -

COOPER: -- and wasn't sure how it was going to go.

GRIFFIN: -- I wasn't sure what the rules were, and, you know, you hear these things like no cancer, no AIDS. Don't make fun of this. And, really, it wasn't until I started to performing at an AIDS hospice, and in fact when I went to Iraq and I know Joan's done the USO tour. And when you perform for the troops or someone in a dire situation, what I learned is that those people want to laugh at the most outrageous stuff.

So - you know, they've seen everything, been through everything, so they're unshockable. And often they want to go there, you know? Because they -

BEHAR: The hardest thing is -

GRIFFIN: -- just want to - they need to laugh.

BEHAR: The hardest thing is following somebody who's been serious, like I once had to follow a holocaust song up at Browns', and a guy was singing a song, and now my friends who are on a shelf. And now, the comedy of Miss Joy Behar.

COOPER: Oh, no.

GRIFFIN: Oh, God. We've all done this. Yes.

BEHAR: And I had to come out and be funny. That's hard. That's hard to do.

RIVERS: Yes. That's Lenny Bruce?

BEHAR: Yes. That's a little rough. Yes. RIVERS: The routine where you have the guys - to all the boys of Dunkirk, and then he came out afterwards.

GRIFFIN: Yes. Yes.

COOPER: How do you - how do you - what do you do?

BEHAR: You just have a - try to find a segue.

GRIFFIN: Yes. You try - or you comment on it. You know, if you're in the moment, you talk about that environment, because we've all done those corporate gigs where you follow the tragic video, or somebody gets up there with one leg and they've got a sob story and the whole room is quiet. And yes, and now the comedy stylings -

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: You comment on how ridiculous it is.

BEHAR: It's called working the house. You say to somebody, what do you do? I'm an oncologist. OK, thank you. And just move on.

The worst - the worst profession is an oncologist, right, in an audience?

RIVERS: No! Proctologist.

BEHAR: No, no, no. Proctologist, that's funny.

RIVERS: Proctology is funny.

BEHAR: That's funny. Oncology is not.

RIVERS: Yes.

COOPER: All right. I got to -

GRIFFIN: Dog oncology is really pitiful. That one, nobody's going to laugh.

COOPER: I think I got to get another quick break in.

BEHAR: How long is this show? Two hours?

COOPER: More Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Joy Behar. And Phyllis Diller will be joining us when we come back.

RIVERS: And Piers Morgan.

BEHAR: He will coming on later.

COOPER: And Piers Morgan will be coming on later.

GRIFFIN: Too dangerous. Too dangerous.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for Joan. Much in the way that she acknowledges that Phyllis Diller paved the way for her, and before her was Moms Mabley, and - I get it. There's a handful of women in modern history that have done this. Just a handful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's a clip from the hugely successful and really great documentary, "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work." We're back now with Joan Rivers, Joy Behar and Kathy Griffin.

Also joining us now from her home in Los Angeles, the legendary Phyllis Diller. Miss Diller, thank you so much for being with us.

PHYLLIS DILLER, COMEDY LEGEND: I'm so happy to be alive.

COOPER: Are the - are -

DILLER: Because I wanted to meet - I've wanted to meet you for, goodness sake, for a long time. I consider you a hero, Anderson.

COOPER: Oh gosh, that's nice.

DILLER: And then - and you're so white. You look like somebody put too much bleach on you.

COOPER: Yes. I -

GRIFFIN: You are pretty white, Anderson.

DILLER: You look like you might - you might be carved out of Ivory soap.

COOPER: Yes. I -

DILLER: You really are white.

COOPER: I know. I'm like a newt. I'm like something that's picked up and scrolled out of a rock or something.

DILLER: Well, I'll tell you what. Us kids, we're all nuts about you.

COOPER: Well, that's very nice.

And Kathy, you were saying that - that, really, Phyllis Diller, in many ways, paved the way.

GRIFFIN: I'm sorry. I can't see you. You're so white, I only see two blue circles. I'm sorry, sir. Take it down a notch.

Well, yes. One things, as I've gotten to know Joan and Joy is I love hearing their stories about who inspired them, and I thought it was really powerful when Joan said when she was starting out, Phyllis was almost the only woman out there that was headlining, and what a great thing that was for her to see, but also, you know, she learned what's it's really like to be out there, kind of alone as a female.

COOPER: And Joan, you remember Phyllis actually coming to your one of your performances.

RIVERS: Phyllis was the most generous of generous. I was opening in a little nightclub called "The Bonsoirs" (ph), dying. And she came in, all dressed up in Dior couture. Stunning woman offstage, and sat in the front row and laughed louder and longer than anybody. Such an encouraging thing to do.

COOPER: Phyllis, we have a clip from some of your early work. I just want to play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DILLER: But my husband is usually absolutely no help because, you know, he boos. It's, oh, (INAUDIBLE) how do I tell you? He gets so high, he wouldn't drink without a net under him. In fact, he thinks he's royalty because everybody's always talking about his highness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Did you find it hard when you first started in the business? I mean, did people find it strange to see a female comic up there on stage?

DILLER: No, they always - they were very kind. Very kind.

Why does it look like I went to sleep?

BEHAR: She's staring at herself. Phyllis, you look really good.

DILLER: I'm still -

COOPER: You know, you look good.

DILLER: Well, I wish I - I wish I were awake. But I -

BEHAR: It is early there.

COOPER: How did you come up with -

DILLER: You girls all look so -

COOPER: How did you come up with material, Phyllis? Were you always funny?

DILLER: You do some of my material?

COOPER: No, I said how did you come up with it? Were you always funny? DILLER: Well, yes, I was. And I - I have certain lines that I really would like to - for instance, I was always saying I was a bad housekeeper. One of my favorite lines, we've got a ring around the tub you'd set a drink on.

I love those lines. Like the fat mother-in-law. She went to the doctor with a pain under her left breast. It turned out to be a trick knee.

I like the pow. I like to make sure! We don't want to mess around.

COOPER: Right.

BEHAR: You know, when - when Phyllis started, you had to have a crazy outfit on.

DILLER: Yes. Yes.

BEHAR: And funny hair and everything -

COOPER: Really?

BEHAR: Yes. You really did.

And before Phyllis, there was a woman named Jean Carol. I don't know if you know her.

DILLER: Yes.

BEHAR: And she'd come out on "The Ed Sullivan Show" dressed in a suit and looking like a normal woman. But we never heard from her after that.

RIVERS: Because she married the head of the agency.

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: But Phyllis always had to look crazy. But Joan did not. Joan -

RIVERS: I was single. I was right out of college and I wanted to get married so I wore my little black dress and my circle pin and hoped.

BEHAR: Yes, but little did you know that men hate funny women.

COOPER: We got to take - we got to take a quick break. We have more to come on this special AC360. Our comedy icons are staying with us, then the most dangerous man at CNN, Piers Morgan. That's later.

BEHAR: Oh, Piers. Wow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: I'm joined once again by four comedy legends - Phyllis Diller; Kathy Griffin are in Los Angeles; Joy Behar and join - Joan Rivers are right here in New York. In a few minutes we'll be talking to my new CNN colleague Piers Morgan.

BEHAR: Good.

COOPER: Kathy, you're very excited about Piers Morgan's show, aren't you?

BEHAR: Listen, Anderson -

COOPER: Yes, Joy?

BEHAR: -- stop calling us legends. We're not dead yet. Really, stop with the legend.

GRIFFIN: I'm checking my ticker. I'm checking my ticker.

Yes, I'm very - I eagerly anticipate Piers Morgan's premier, and I liked the commercial where there's a lot of close-ups on his left eye and then his right knuckle. And then I believe the theme song at the end is "It's About Me" or "It's All About Me."

So I'm wondering how he's going to do an interview show that's really all about him.

COOPER: Well, we'll - we'll see. I think he's going to do very well.

GRIFFIN: Was Paula Abdul booked? I mean, really.

COOPER: Actually, I did Paula Abdul yesterday.

BEHAR: It's his first interview -

GRIFFIN: Oh, I want to hear all about it.

BEHAR: I heard his first interview was Larry King. Is that true?

COOPER: Is that true?

RIVERS: (INAUDIBLE) so smart. Are you kidding?

COOPER: Do you like doing - I mean, TV, do you like doing rather than stand-up?

BEHAR: Oh, yes. It's so much easier.

COOPER: Did you miss stand-up at all?

BEHAR: Stand-up's too hard to do.

GRIFFIN: It's bitch.

COOPER: What's hard about it?

BEHAR: Just you're up there all by yourself. That's why it's lonely, right? It's lonely.

COOPER: But isn't that - isn't that - I mean, people who do it constantly -

GRIFFIN: No, I love it.

COOPER: -- find that exciting, right?

RIVERS: I just love - when you say to the - 6,000 people laugh at the same thing with you? That's your cookie.

BEHAR: Well, but the thing about it is I always have pre- performance anxiety, but once -

RIVERS: Me too.

BEHAR: -- I get my first laugh, I'm fine.

RIVERS: And she's great. I've worked with her.

BEHAR: We've worked together also. We - we have a good time.

But before the show, I'm like why am I doing this? I'm never doing it again. I always say that. And then I do it again.

RIVERS: And always - of course, are they going to like you? Are they going to like you? You know -

BEHAR: Am I going to remember this [bleep], also.

COOPER: And Phyllis, can you tell when an audience is going to be a good audience or when they're not going to be a good audience, very quickly?

DILLER: Yes, yes, yes. You can tell before you go on. You stand backstage and they have a certain noise, they make a certain noise. If they're lively and talking to each other and - and they're having a good time, it's going to be good. And if it's like a morgue and pretty quiet, see, they - you better maybe take off your clothes.

GRIFFIN: Right.

COOPER: Kathy, can you get it all -

DILLER: It always gets a laugh.

BEHAR: Every time.

COOPER: -- can you get an audience back, Kathy? I mean, it - if it's a bad - you know, a good start -

GRIFFIN: Yes, you can reel them back in, but it's tough. And I - you know, that's one of the reasons I tend to go long is I want to always try to get them back, or I take my clothes off, as Phyllis suggested, which is always an option. But yes. There's times when you can take the temperature and you can see what they're into. Some audiences are more into pop culture, some are more into politics, some like the heady stuff, some like the really outrageous, big stuff. So you're always taking their temperature throughout the whole show. That's the fun part.

RIVERS: But give me six gay men in the front row and I'll give you a great show.

GRIFFIN: Oh, are you kidding?

RIVERS: Oh, yes. God bless them.

BEHAR: The best audience. They laugh.

RIVERS: The best audience.

BEHAR: Well, they get it. They get all the references. They know everything.

RIVERS: They get it and they're willing to go out.

GRIFFIN: Been there, done that. I'm ready to have fun.

RIVERS: I look out and I see six people in the front row that look gay, I'm home. We're going to have so much fun tonight.

COOPER: What about - you were saying that - that men are intimidated by women who are funny?

BEHAR: Oh, sure. No man wants to be -

RIVERS: I've had men say to me are you're funny in bed also?

BEHAR: Yes. I know. That's the scary part.

RIVERS: Oh, yes. Yes.

BEHAR: They're afraid you're going to laugh and then they lose their you know what.

RIVERS: Yes, which - they lose their -

BEHAR: Their vaginal lining, if you will.

RIVERS: But men - men want a woman to be beautiful and be - all pretty girls used to be singers, you know what I mean? You did - no little girl that was good looking grew up to be funny. You never heard somebody --

COOPER: That's funny, because you hear from women all the time they like it when men are funny. You don't hear from men that they -

RIVERS: No, men - but you never say, oh, Kate Moss, stop it. Oh, Iman, cut it out. You are too [bleep] much!

(CROSSTALK)

BEHAR: Those are the words you'll never hear.

RIVERS: No. Beautiful women just have to be a flower.

My mother used to have dinner parties and she'd take so and so and so and so, and then there's a flower, which is (INAUDIBLE) the table. Put the flower there.

COOPER: And do you -

GRIFFIN: It takes a very special guy to think that it's sexy to be in the back of a theater or comedy club, laughing at his girlfriend.

RIVERS: Yes.

COOPER: And Kathy, do you really like still being out on the road? Because, I mean, you - you all over the -

GRIFFIN: I love it.

COOPER: Really?

GRIFFIN: Oh, I fly more than a pilot. I love it because I love trying out new material. I can't get to the mike fast enough.

You know, I - I probably do about 125 cities a year. But this - you know, the nature of my act is so ever changing and, you know, what did Kate Gosselin do not six months ago but yesterday. I love it.

COOPER: So how often are you coming up with new material?

GRIFFIN: Every day. I mean, really. Let - that OWN launch is - honestly, given me at least a half hour, and that was like two days ago. I mean, I could just go through that lineup and then I'm off and running. Not to mention my strange addiction about the woman who eats toilet paper and the guy who only eats raw meat. But that's me.

COOPER: You - you know, what's sad is I know exactly what you're talking about, because I watched the entire OWN launch as well this weekend.

GRIFFIN: I love that show.

BEHAR: You did?

COOPER: I yes. I did.

GRIFFIN: And don't get me started - the OWN launch was fantastic.

COOPER: Yes. The launch itself.

GRIFFIN: I can't wait to see that show "The O'Neals" about Ryan and Tatum. I mean, that's multi-layered. BEHAR: I didn't even watch it. I didn't watch it.

COOPER: Really?

BEHAR: I kind of watched it.

COOPER: It's - no, the behind the scene -

GRIFFIN: No, you have to watch it. Oprah told you to.

COOPER: Oprah behind the scenes is fantastic. It's really good.

BEHAR: OK. I didn't happen to watch it, though.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: Bravo, Gail!

BEHAR: I was busy. But I will watch it. I have to watch it because "The View" is going to be on the "Oprah Show" in February.

COOPER: Oh, really?

BEHAR: So, I'm going to have to -

RIVERS: Doing what?

BEHAR: Talking. What else do we do?

COOPER: Have you ever been on "The Oprah Show" yet?

BEHAR: No. I don't think so.

COOPER: Joan, have you been on?

RIVERS: I found her. I found her in -

COOPER: You did?

RIVERS: -- Chicago and fought with "The Tonight Show" to bring her on. And I was the first person to put her on national television.

COOPER: Really?

RIVERS: Yes. Haven't been on the show since. She's not fuzzy about me, obviously.

BEHAR: Me either.

(CROSSTALK)

RIVERS: I've been - I've been on every now and again.

BEHAR: She made a statement recently that she - the word bitch is not going to be used on the OWN Channel. So that leaves the three of us out. GRIFFIN: Oh, that would be (INAUDIBLE).

BEHAR: Maybe Phyllis, because Phyllis doesn't talk like that.

GRIFFIN: I'm going to bitch about that.

COOPER: Well, listen, Phyllis - Miss Diller, I want to thank you so much for - for being on the program. It's - it's really a treat to finally meet you.

DILLER: I'm so happy to meet you.

COOPER: Well, thank you. It's - it's great to have you in this company.

And Joan Rivers, thank you so much.

RIVERS: Great to be here.

COOPER: Joy Behar, thank you so much.

BEHAR: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Kathy Griffin, as always, thank you very much.

GRIFFIN: Thank you, Anderson. My pleasure.

COOPER: Coming up, after the break -

BEHAR: Guess what?

GRIFFIN: Guess who?

COOPER: Guess who it is, guys?

GRIFFIN: Piers Morgan.

BEHAR: Piers Morgan. The most dangerous man on television.

COOPER: Piers Morgan joins me, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: On January 17th at 9:00 P.M. Eastern, 13 days from now, CNN premieres a brand new nightly program "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." I've gotten to know Piers. He's a fascinating guy and I'm really excited that his program is going to lead into "360" every night.

Not only is he a judge on the hit shows "America's Got Talent" and "Britain's Got Talent," he's also been a journalist in England for many, many years. The interviewing skills he's developed during his career will be showcased on "Piers Morgan Tonight."

I asked him about some of the famous and powerful people that he's talked to.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What makes a good interview for you?

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": I like it when people are surprising. Not just to me, but to everybody else and maybe even to themselves.

COOPER: Because you've done some really surprising interviews with folks in - in the U.K. I mean, Elton John, Simon Cowell, you know, Gordon Brown, I think you've made them all cry at one point or another.

MORGAN: Yes. That's -

COOPER: How do you make Simon Cowell cry?

MORGAN: It's not easy. You have to really push him.

COOPER: I've interviewed him for "60 Minutes", like days (ph) in the time, I didn't get even one tear.

MORGAN: Yes. Well, because I know him very well. I've known Simon 20 years and I knew that for him probably the only time he'll get emotional is he had this freakish day in his life when he had his first big number one hit record with a group called Westlife, and it was the day that his father died, who'd always encouraged him throughout his life.

And it was this - as he put it, this horrific day of double emotion. The wonderful excitement of that moment of being number one, and then this terrible, crushing moment of bringing his mother to speak to his father to tell him the great news.

COOPER: So you actually do research.

MORGAN: Yes. I mean, I'm very - yes.

COOPER: Because I research Simon Cowell a lot -

MORGAN: I know you're not used to people saying that.

COOPER: No, no. I've researched Simon Cowell a lot for "60 Minutes" for my piece, I did not know that moment. Had I known that, I would have used that.

MORGAN: I'm - I'm sort of obsessive about research.

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: Because I think because of my journalistic background, 25 years in Fleet Street -

COOPER: You'd rather know more information than less.

MORGAN: I'd rather know wherever the guest is going to go on an interview, I want to go with them. So if they try and bypass my line of questioning by flicking into something else and they lied, I know where they're going.

And I don't really care where they go as long as it's entertaining and also you draw out some form of emotion. I like interviews to engender an emotion in people. Whether it's tears, laugher, anger, passion, whatever it is, it can't be dull emotionally. It can't be nothing.

COOPER: You want authenticity.

MORGAN: Yes. I want to find out what they're really like. Yes. One of them is Gordon Brown just before the last election in Britain.

COOPER: Former prime minister of Britain.

MORGAN: Former prime minister of Britain. And he was - I love the way have you to say that to an American audience.

COOPER: Just filling it in, you know?

MORGAN: Like President Obama. He's like the president of the United States, yes. So our prime minister at the time, and we had this great encounter. It was two and a half hours. Because everybody thought from his years as the chancellor, running the treasury and the money in the country that he was this dull, boring, unemotional, passionless, devoid Vulcan. And my job -

COOPER: That is the way he sort of seems.

MORGAN: Yes. People still think that. But actually if you know him like I do, I know that underneath all that is an absolute fire brand passionate, emotional guy. And I was determined to get it out of him. There were just some incredible moments. Both talking romantically about how he wooed his wife, which you've never seen him discuss like anything before, and also the terrible sadness of losing a child before she was even 10 or 11 days old. And he got very emotional suddenly, but in a very real way.

And it was an extraordinary encounter, but for him it was also an extraordinary result because the British public woke up and thought, wow, this guy's not who we thought he was. And he - as the polls closed about six, seven points, he nearly won the election on one interview because it was the human face of this guy who we thought was a robot.

Now, that to me is the perfect interview. And I don't care really if they're politicians or if they're members of a royal family, if they're religious leaders or if they're celebrities. The game plan is always the same.

COOPER: Do you think you could make John Boehner cry?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: That these kids have a shot at the American dream like I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You know, I think he needs to get more in touch with his emotional side. And I've felt this for some time. I mean, it's really funny, that. Because when I watched that as a Brit, if a British politician did that, weeping about a generic situation, about not being able to get to schools, to meet kids that he doesn't even know, he'd be laughed at. But, I mean, here I noticed although the media was scoffing a little bit, the public actually found that kind of emotion quite moving and they probably like a bit of emotion and passion in their leader.

COOPER: Oh, I think - I personally, I mean, I was surprised like the ladies of "The View" made fun of him. I kind of think, you know, people want their politicians to be more real and here's a guy who at least is showing real emotion.

MORGAN: I suppose that tells - I suppose the concern is if you get a huge national event like a 9/11 you don't want to have people who are overly emotional running your country.

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: But I didn't really get that sense from him. I thought he's just genuinely a very emotional guy about that kind of thing, about children, the future, the dream - the dream that he's living. And he feels that quite passionately, isn't it?

COOPER: Who do you think are the most interesting celebrities right now?

MORGAN: Prince William and Kate. Because in the end, what the royals always show in moments like this with the young royals with a wedding, is that they're the biggest stars in the world.

COOPER: I was amazed that - and I haven't really - I'm really not that close of a follower, but that we really hadn't heard Kate speak before.

MORGAN: No.

COOPER: That interview they gave was really the first time we sort of -

MORGAN: Well, the queen mother always had this wonderful phrase, which was if you're a member of the royal family, never complain, never explain, and certainly never be heard speaking in public.

COOPER: Really?

MORGAN: And that's why she's able to (INAUDIBLE) with an overdraft of 4 million. I think they have a drink and lunch everyday of her life. And no one cared. They loved her, because she's a remarkable lady, who have done amazing things for her country without ever speaking in public.

COOPER: Really? She never sort of - MORGAN: She never gave an interview.

COOPER: Really?

MORGAN: Never.

COOPER: The queen mother didn't.

MORGAN: Never once.

COOPER: She - and she was beloved but never -

MORGAN: I met her when she was 100 years old, maybe 99 at Windsor Castle. She's about this high.

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: Ferociously smart lady, very quick, and had a hilarious conversation with her. But I remember as I spoke to her thinking, I was 38 - 39, I'd never heard her speak - ever. There's no television clip, apart from cafe (ph) news back in the late '50s.

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: But in the war, she was so remarkably resilient -

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: -- and such a great public figure to the country, that she could have done anything and they'd have loved her for it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That's Piers Morgan. We'll have more of him tomorrow night. We'll talk about the hazards of the job. He explains how he got punched in the head after publishing some compromising photos in England.

Again, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" premieres in 13 days, Monday, January 17th at 9:00 P.M. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific right here on CNN.