As a former NBC Page rocking the grey suit that Kenneth made famous on 30 Rock, Daryn Carp came right out of the Page Program to assist one of the most influential pop culture icons currently on television, Andy Cohen. While at Bravo, Daryn created the web series,“@sk Andy” that she hosts and runs on bravotv.com. In the series, fans of Andy and Bravo are given a forum via social media to ask Andy anything and get an insider’s look into the special and often hilarious relationship he and Daryn have developed over the past few years. At the start of 2014, Andy and Daryn left Bravo to start a new production company, Most Talkative.
Since leaving, Daryn has become a correspondent for Bravotv.com covering red carpet events, series premiere parties, NBCUniversal Cable Upfronts, along with hosting the Upfront Social Sizzle. In addition to red carpets, Daryn hosts her own web series for Bravotv.com, “Throwback Bravo,” where she digs through the Bravo video vault to find hilarious moments from past shows. She also produces and stars in Bravo’s social series, “Cease and Assist,” which is her unique attempt at assisting the other Bravo talent. In the summer of 2017, Daryn began anchoring Bravotv.com's newest exclusive behind-the-scenes series, “The Weekly Pregame,” where she breaks down the exciting and shocking moments on Bravo in the week ahead and scores exclusive talent interviews in the green rooms of the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen studio.
Daryn co-hosts a weekly Oxygen podcast, “Martinis and Murder,” which dives deep into the actual crime and the theories surrounding each murder, while drinking an appropriately themed cocktail. The podcast has over 1 million downloads and is part of CrimeCon in Nashville in the Spring of 2018. “Martinis and Murder” was nominated for the 2018 Shorty Awards for Best Branded Podcast.
Since 2017, Daryn has been in three national commercials for AUTOTRADER with Andy Cohen. In 2015, she appeared in a Paper Towns spot on Bravo answering fan questions about the movie. She has been the host for two Oxygen pilots: Start Me Up, a competitive-format show revolving around Kickstarter and entrepreneurs, as well as The Chaser, a drunken game show on wheels. Daryn is a people person and gives a down-to-earth and youthful perspective. She is able to “hang with the boys” and “dish with the girls” regarding anything from sports to fashion to politics.
What do I do best?
Is it bad that I have a hard time picking one thing? And to that I say I think my best talent is being able to be sarcastic and make people laugh quickly. I always say I can’t write a 5 minute joke, but give me 5 minutes and I can make you laugh. I pride myself on being witty and relating to people in a humorous way. I try to have fun and keep a positive vibe around me – at least that’s what my mom and none of my ex-girlfriends tell me.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I think the most important quality that I have is my eternal, unrelenting optimism. I try and look at the bright side of every situation and give it a little perspective. I don’t think I would have been able to have the job I have now and the job I want to have without this trait. There is so much rejection, not just in entertainment but in life that you need to be able to roll with the punches and keep your head held high.
What are my aspirations?
My personal goals and my business goals revolve around the same concept: being happy. Of course there are certain things that I want to accomplish in my life, but those goals are constantly fluctuating. I remember thinking in high school that if I got into this certain college, it would be the greatest thing. Then in college it was getting to the NBC Page Program. Then in the Page Program it was becoming on-air talent. So my goals are constantly shifting and that’s a good thing because it makes me work hard for everything that I do. Right now I would love to get my voice out there and be interesting enough for people to want to listen to. I definitely want to be able to host my own game show where I can inject my own flavor and personality out there. There aren’t that many female game show hosts and I want to break that mold.
When I took the job to assist Andy Cohen I had no idea what to expect or even if I would like it. At best I thought I would learn something from such a creative force. But in addition to that, I have turned this into a career unto itself by putting myself out there and making it known on my platform of who I am and what I want to be while (hopefully) maintaining a sense of professionalism. I will always want to grow as a person and learn from those who came before me. As long as I am happy, I am good with whatever comes my way!
My Biggest Success?
This interview! No…not really, but maybe? I think when I look back on everything I have tried to accomplish and continue to accomplish my biggest success has been me knowing what I want and going after it. I think when I told people I want to be a game show host, they immediately had assumptions about fame, etc. But for me, I have held strong to that since I was a kid. I knew what I wanted and I am going for it. There is no direct path for what I want and I couldn’t tell you even if I am on the right one, but I haven’t given up and I don’t plan on it.
My Most Challenging Moment?
There have been so many moments in my life where I honestly felt changed in a profound way: coming out as gay, working with Andy Cohen, reading anything Ayn Rand has ever written.
I have been lucky enough not to have had to make any life threatening decisions and I am utterly thankful for that. Any hard decision I have had to make has been a positive one in the long run. But my most challenging moment in life has been letting go. Letting go of opportunities, people, relationships, things that I knew weren’t working for me, or at least knew that the timing wasn’t right. I have a hard time giving up on anything and while that can seem like a force of nature, it also materializes into this anxiety of trying to make everything work. It can be exhausting.
Years ago I was set up (by a friend) with a girl who shall remain nameless. We hit it off immediately and things were progressing in the upward direction. I was fortunate enough to grow up with hippie parents in a hippie neighborhood that was very accepting of all walks of life. This girl however did not. She had grown up in a really oppressively religious household in an oppressively unaccepting environment. During the holiday break, she was going home to tell her about parents about me and come out for me, for us – we were falling in love and we needed it to be out in the open. For me I have been out and in the open for over a decade so I wanted to encourage her to do that while also being supportive. She left me in the morning, kissed me goodbye and told me she couldn’t wait to come back to be with me.
Later that day, while at work, I get a call from her and immediately picked up to wonder how everything was going. It wasn’t her on the other line, but her mother. Her mother proceeded to threaten my life with a shot gun, and call me every gay slur in the book while telling me I have no moral value, no soul, and am not even a human being. She even made my girlfriend come on the line to tell me that she was choosing her mother over me, while SOBBING into the phone. And that was it. Years later, I still haven’t heard from her.
This moment was challenging for some many obvious reasons, but it was the first time I can remember being truly helpless. I wasn’t hurt that I was called every epithet in the book, or that even that my life was threatened, I felt bad for HER. I felt awful that she had to live through that and suffer afterwards with parents like that. I could go back to my loving family and friends and be able to be who I wanted to be, but she couldn’t. I can still recall that memory extremely vividly in my mind and it can still bring me to tears. I hope that she’s ok wherever she is. I still have trouble letting that go. And don’t know that I ever will, or should.
Treat others how you want to be treated.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Professionally and personally, Andy Cohen is the greatest mentor I never knew I wanted. He is a force to be reckoned with and it has been such a privilege and an honor getting to work beside a man who is not only the hardest working man in show business, but is truly kindhearted. It’s really hard to find those people in this industry and he is one of the gems.
Intellectually, Ayn Rand is my hero. I started reading her novels in college and I really connected with her work. She taught me about individualism, Objectivism and standing on your own two feet. She taught me how to be my own hero.
However, I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a goddess.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
New York City is my number one love and I maintain that; Hawaii for the beaches; Paris for the food and New Zealand for the landscape.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I try to not be attached to any particular object or product, but my Monty Hall signed photo (personalized to me!) is priceless. I love all my books. Oh, and don’t underestimate the power of a really good bowl of cereal.
My Current Passions?
Admittedly, The Bachelorette and The Challenge are consistently DVR’d (don’t hate); as well as 60 Minutes. I will watch any documentary. I THOROUGHLY enjoy rollerblading around Manhattan because I know how cool it is and I need everyone to know just how cool it is. And my favorite thing in life might be the Ukrainian borscht at Veselka.
How did you get into the industry?
I honestly cannot remember a time where I didn’t want to be in this industry. I have always felt privileged to work where I work and do what I do – I GET to work in this industry. I had no prior connections, or any real way of getting my foot in the door, so I applied to every internship I could in college and made sure that I was prepared to take on any opportunity. I interned for CNBC throughout college and learned the ropes of production and research. The environment was really encouraging and I could shadow a number of different people to learn what I liked and what I didn’t like. I often say finding out what you don’t like is just as valuable as finding out what you do.
When I was researching my game show role models, I found that a number of them were NBC Pages and that’s how they got they start. So I took that literally. I applied to the Page Program and pushed down the door with my personality. Once I got the job I honestly thought I was set for life! About 8.5 months later, the job came out to work for Andy Cohen, who I didn’t even know at the time. But because I was so verbal and outgoing with my goals and ambitions my Page bosses saw an opportunity for me where I didn’t. They encouraged me to apply, and the rest is history.
Any emerging industry trends?
I really came here at a time where social media was just taking off. I remember when Andy joined Twitter! I would say in the past decade there’s this really interesting dichotomy of younger people taking a more active stance in politics and social justice, but on the flip side, this has caused a lot more people to be politically correct. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I think social media has given a voice to people who have previously been silenced or felt like they couldn’t speak up which is beyond wonderful! But, it has caused a lot more outward anonymous hatred and meanness from a lot of people since they can hide behind their computer screens. Sometimes I get scared to say anything at all!
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Everyone always says that linear television (scheduled TV programming) is dead! Netflix, Hulu, Amazon are all changing the industry by the day! Will we even need to have cable? Most of my friends cut the cord a few years ago – I still can’t let it go. But that changes how we want to watch content. Do most people want to binge 12 episodes of one series? Or have it stretch out over a longer period of time? Watching a season of The Real Housewives could take almost half a year to get through every episode, and if we released every episode all at once, would that change the product? Do people just want to consume everything on their phones? The industry is constantly fluctuating and we need to keep up with it to know what the people want; it’s an extremely consumer driven industry and the tastes change. It’s always a challenge to find new ways to entertain people and new ways to surprise them.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I am lucky enough to work at an innovative network with an extremely innovative person. Andy is a huge mentor in that way for me. He always seems to be able to predict a trend and then run with it. I have my own podcast Martinis and Murder, as well as my own Bravo web series, The Weekly Pregame. I want to capitalize on what the audience should be watching on Bravo this week.
There are so many different things to watch, I need to provide something different in a new and exciting way for people to take the time out of their day and give me five minutes. Or even just two minutes! Both of these projects have a really good platform when it comes to the fans. The fan-base for both the podcast and the series is passionate and dynamic. We are able to respond to fans live, the moment they ask their question. That’s huge! I used to get so many people asking me if they could watch ONE thing on Bravo that week, what should it be? Well, The Weekly Pregame gives them that answer in a simple two minute format with exclusive clips. Anyone who watches Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen understands that it’s a privilege to be in the clubhouse (there are only 30 or so seats). I wanted to let the fans in on the access that I have and let them see behind the scenes with my interviews.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Expect more and more content to hit that phone screen. We are making sure that people want to stay tuned to Bravo all week long. We are coming out with new series, exclusive interviews and more opportunities for fans to get involved with our brand.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
I try to be an integral part in everything that I do. I make sure we research for every murder we discuss on Martinis and Murder, and we always listen to fan suggestions. The podcast community is different than the television or film community – it’s important to promote others and they promote you! It’s really a positive aspect of my job. In terms of my digital series, we try and give the fans what they want and ask fun questions that they have always wanted to ask!
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
The hardest part for me has been trusting my gut on my next move. It’s hard to know what the next step should be, or if there even needs to be a next step. I never thought that when I started this job that I would be alongside Andy for more than 3 years, but here I am 7 years later trying to make a name for myself, while also remaining loyal to him. He truly is the best mentor I could ever ask for, and while I am balancing my own career with his, I learned that sometimes life happens when you’re making other plans. It’s hard to know all the time that everything will be ok – I ask myself all the time: Will I be successful? Am I talented? Am I happy? But I think along the way, the people who end up happy and successful are the ones that are always questioning where they are in life. It’s hard, but also exhilarating.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
This is a little bit difficult for me to answer, since I don’t run a business, but I create content. I hope that consumers of my web-series or even my podcast are having fun and taking a break from the stress levels of everyday life. The reason I want to be a game show host is because it is the only type of program that I know of where if you lose, you still leave happy. The world could always use a little more kindness and a little more fun and I want to be able to help provide that!
How do you motivate others?
I take as many meetings and informationals (that might just be an NBC term?) with people as possible. The best disinfectant is sunlight and showing people different paths to success is a way to abolish any negative stigmas or assumptions about paths or jobs. We were all interns once and at the bottom of the totem pole at work, but look where you are now! I think by being honest and humble, you can learn a lot from someone else’s story and their mistakes. By being exactly who I am, and being proud of my journey, I motivate others to be themselves, no matter what they want to do with their lives!
Career advice to those in your industry?
I can’t stress it enough, but sometimes life works out in ways that you least expect and that’s important to always remind yourself. Your first, second or maybe even third job might not be your dream job and that’s ok! Learn something, even if it’s what you don’t want – that’s useful! There is no perfect model for how to do everything in life, so enjoy the journey, work hard and hustle. Good things come to those who are passionate about what they do! But perhaps most importantly, the best advice I could give anyone would be to find something you absolutely love to do, and have someone pay you for that. You will never work a day in your life if that happens.