Andy Cohen Explains Why He Pretended Not to Know Kathy Griffin: It Was 'So Innocuous and Dumb'

"I did not think, 'Oh, this is going to blow up' whatsoever," Cohen said Monday on his radio show

Andy Cohen says he had no idea his recent Kathy Griffin stunt would backfire the way it did.

On Monday, the Bravo star explained why he seemingly shaded Griffin last week by pretending not to know who she was when asked by TMZ about replacing her on CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live.

The video prompted Griffin to fire back aggressively, alleging Cohen asked her to do cocaine before appearing on his talk show, which Cohen has denied.

“All I have to say about the mishegas of this weekend, and I only have one thing to say about this bag of bulls— … it’s so funny, because I was on my way to have lunch with [Watch What Happens Live writer andradio co-host] John Hill in L.A. for his birthday when TMZ approached me,” Cohen said on Monday’s episode of his SiriusXM radio show, Andy Cohen Live.

In order to “avoid getting involved” with the TMZ paparazzo, Cohen said he decided to “quote the great Mariah Carey, which is funny in my mind.”

“And stupid!” he added. “Something that is so innocuous and dumb, so it’s the classic ‘I don’t know her.’ ” (In the TMZ video, Cohen repeatedly smiled and said, “Who? I don’t know her,” in regards to Griffin, a quip referencing Carey’s infamous remark about not knowing who Jennifer Lopez is.)

“Well, here is the deal,” Cohen continued. “Usually with TMZ, you’re walking and you say your thing and you get in your car. Well, my driver parked on the second level of the parking lot. So we’re standing there all that time waiting for the elevator, and that’s why it kept going on and on. And I didn’t really know how to pivot in the conversation. Like, ‘What, what, I don’t know!’ So I failed my Mariah impression. “

“Then I came and met you for lunch,” he continued, addressing Hill. “Did I even mention what happened? Because that’s how confident I was that nothing had happened. You guys, this was not … I did not think, ‘Oh, this is going to blow up’ whatsoever. I went and had lunch.”

“So I didn’t land that ‘I don’t know her’ [joke],” he continued. “But can I ask you a question? If you were a comedian and someone said, ‘I don’t know you,’ and it was obvious, like, aren’t there much more important things? How offensive is that in the galaxy?”

“We will have this conversation — you, John, me, and everyone who listens to Radio Andy, when the moment is right,” he promised. “I’m going to reserve an hour, okay? And we’re going to talk about it. And I’m going to spill the tea all over myself. But I’m not having it today. We will have it. Because I owe it to everybody who’s listening. And myself. I’m a truth teller, okay?”

Hill joked that Cohen should “indict” Griffin.

“Yeah, I’m going to be handing out indictments like [Robert] Mueller,” quipped Cohen, 49. “Like a f—ing Housewife at a reunion show. Bitches.”

On Friday, Griffin responded to Cohen’s TMZ video on Twitter, pointing out that the stars have known each other for years. (Her reality show, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, ran for six seasons from 2005-10 on Bravo, where Cohen was previously the head of development.)

“Even when it’s on tape, there are doubters? He is NOT kidding w paps,” she said. “Was my boss for 10 years. Treated me like a dog. Deeply misogynistic.”

The next day, Griffin released a 17-minute long YouTube video titled Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story, targeting both Cohen and TMZ founder Harvey Levin, whom she accused of being complicit in quieting scandals surrounding Harvey Weinstein, claiming both men “honestly just live to take women down.”

In the video, Griffin alleged Cohen asked her if she wanted to do cocaine before appearances on WWHL.

“Both times I did the show, right before we went live, Andy Cohen privately asked me in an office if I wanted to do blow,” she alleged. “I’ve never had a drink in my life. You guys know I’m no prude, but I’m kind of like a straightedge.”

“I thought he was kidding the first time,” she continued. “I was hoping he was kidding. The second time I do the show, same thing. So once again, we’re alone in an office and he’s like, ‘Wanna do some coke?’ And I’m thinking, ‘He’s serious!’ Trust me, he’s going to say he’s kidding and everything — no. He was asking me to do cocaine with him, that made me very uncomfortable.”

Griffin also said that Cohen was a “miserable boss” while My Life on the D-List was airing.

“The whole time I was working there, I didn’t know how Andy Cohen wanted to be me … I didn’t know Andy Cohen was on the red carpet, trying to be funny and asking questions on,” she said. “I didn’t know when they ended The D List and I desperately wanted to do a talk show, Andy Cohen would be the first television executive in the history of television to give himself a talk show — which seems to get picked up every season.”

Cohen denied Griffin’s accusations on Twitter, declining to comment further when reached by PEOPLE.

“I am completely stunned by this story,” he tweeted. “It is 100% false and totally made up.”

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