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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

New Year's Eve Special

Aired December 31, 2008 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Welcome to Times Square in New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIAN: This is it.

COOPER: I'm here with the lovely and talented Kathy Griffin.

GRIFFIN: The big night folks, now can you be in charge of this pack thing?

COOPER: Yes that's the (INAUDIBLE).

GRIFFIN: Am I supposed to be hearing you or the world?

COOPER: You should hear me, probably or the world.

GRIFFIN: Do you find my eye shadow bewitching?

COOPER: Kathy is full of glitter today.

GRIFFIN: That's right.

COOPER: I was going to wear the glitter but she scooped me on that. Welcome everyone to New Year's Eve on Times Square. They say there could be as many as a million people out here, at least a couple of hundred thousand. It is very, very cold tonight; it's around zero with the wind chill.

GRIFFIN: All right, that's it. I want to be spooned right now. Thank you Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: That's about as good as you're going to get from me.

GRIFFIN: That made my mom's night.

COOPER: Everyone is here waiting for the ball to drop, it's a new ball actually by the way, twice as big as last year. Nearly 12,000 pounds, Waterford crystal; 32,000 LEDs to light it.

GRIFFIN: What does LED stand for?

COOPER: I don't know.

GRIFFIN: You knew I was going to ask you. How about LED?

COOPER: Liquid something display.

GRIFFIN: Nitrogen let's go.

COOPER: It's no longer light bulbs, it used to be light bulbs, it's now LED displays, anyway.

GRIFFIN: I just want to look at you. I don't like when you talk so much.

COOPER: Right before midnight Eastern Mayor Bloomberg, Bill and Hillary Clinton are going to push the button to drop the ball.

GRIFFIN: That's a former President. What's with the Bill and Hillary?

COOPER: Well, as a couple you're right I should say former President Clinton and perhaps future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

GRIFFIN: Absolutely.

COOPER: And they we're going to actually press the button to drop the ball. We're actually going to be on the air all the way past 1:00 a.m. I don't know if they told you that.

GRIFFIN: No, they told me it was like a ten-minute gig and I was supposed to go party with Ne-Yo, sorry.

COOPER: We're going on past 1:00 a.m. to ring in the New Year in Central Time as well. We've got a team of people here in New York, across the country, and frankly around the world.

GRIFFIN: Where is Don Lemon?

COOPER: Don Lemon is in the crowd, Erica Hill is in the crowd right now. Erica, are you here?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am here. In fact, I'm wearing a hat courtesy of Don Lemon. I believe he gave some to the both of you as well, I'm not sure if you're wearing it or not but I highly recommend them. They are very warm.

Millions -- maybe millions behind us. We're going get to know some of them tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, we also have down in the crowd for us, Don Lemon, Kathy's favorite. Don how is the crowd?

GRIFFIN: Don't say that in front of Wolf Blitzer.

COOPER: Don, how's the crowd going.

GRIFFIN: Did Don get canned?

COOPER: Don can't hear us, let's move on from Don.

GRIFFIN: Don got fired. That's terrible. He is so nice.

COOPER: Let's go to Central Park, Gary Tuchman is in running shoes. Gary, they're going to run, what, at the stroke of midnight?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Anderson, we're only a mile north of you. But this is also a great tradition, very different tradition of what's going on at Times Square.

It's the annual midnight run sponsored by New York Roadrunners, the same people that do the New York City marathon also Emerald Nuts sponsors it which is most appropriate because you ought to be nutty to run four miles in this kind of weather like these ladies from the Netherlands, right. How do you say hello Anderson in Dutch?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.

TUCHMAN: All right, OK ladies four-mile run in Central Park Anderson and Kathy.

COOPER: Gary is actually going to do the run.

GRIFFIN: Himself?

COOPER: Yes.

GRIFFIN: Like a wild Netherlander.

COOPER: Yes.

GRIFFIN: I love the way they say hi Anderson.

COOPER: I'm told Don Lemon is actually now does have a microphone. Don, how is the crowd is doing?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The crowd is crazy. When you guys tossed to me my earpiece was going, ugh.

Kathy, how are you doing, baby? I love you; I hope you're going to wear the hat --

GRIFFIN: Hi, Don. Wow, baby so early, I like that. Hi handsome.

LEMON: Are you going to wear your hat? Hi gorgeous.

GRIFFIN: I understand you gave me a hat. I'll wear you, Don. It is that kind of night.

COOPER: Yes, All right.

LEMON: Hey look, Anderson and Kathy we've got people from New Zealand, we've got Guatemala, we've got China. You guys happy to be here? A bunch of folks -- we're going to be talking to them a little bit later on. Back to you guys.

COOPER: All right, let's take a look around the country. Brooke Anderson is in Las Vegas tonight.

Brooke, how are things in Las Vegas? BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Things are looking good, Anderson. I'm here on the glittering Las Vegas strip. You can only see pedestrians behind me now because Las Vegas Boulevard was shut down to vehicular traffic just a short a time ago.

It's being called America's party here in Vegas. And at midnight there will an extravagant fireworks display all up and down the strip. Fergie will be here at the Palazzo as well as Coolio. We will speak to revelers and celebrities throughout the show. Back over to you.

COOPER: All right, Brooke thanks.

GRIFFIN: OK Anderson, has Ryan Seacrest has been shot?

COOPER: What, no.

GRIFFIN: Oh no, all right, I am trying to make it exciting; "Breaking News."

COOPER: Well, it's going to be exciting. You don't need to -- no

GRIFFIN: I thought Nancy Grace could go find him.

COOPER: I got a text from Ryan earlier who wished us well.

GRIFFIN: Us?

COOPER: Well, he's wishing you well.

GRIFFIN: OK, I don't know, back to you, Trisha. Do we have a Trisha?

COOPER: We don't have Trisha.

GRIFFIN: OK.

COOPER: Why don't you talk to Sean Callebs? He's in one of the cities in New Orleans.

GRIFFIN: Sean Callebs -- and I love New Orleans. How is it going down there, Sean?

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kathy and Anderson. We are in the most beer-stuffed city in the country. We are celebrating New Year's Eve. A lot of people turning up for the big football game tomorrow the Sugar Bowl. This guy right here is actually starting tight end for Utah.

COOPER: All right, I couldn't hear a word that he said, could you?

GRIFFIN: Is he ok?

COOPER: I don't know.

GRIFFIN: I don't know. I think Brad Pitt has to go down and build him one of those nice houses for him to rest in for a while.

COOPER: And John Zarrella is in Key West Florida. This is a tradition for us for the last couple of years --

GRIFFIN: Yes.

COOPER: -- where Sushi the drag queen will be lowered at the stroke of midnight to an adoring crowd. John, are things heating up in Key West?

GRIFFIN: Back to you, Sushi.

COOPER: John, how is everything going in the Key West?

All right. We lost John.

GRIFFIN: Does that mean America also doesn't hear him or just us?

COOPER: Just what?

GRIFFIN: Does America hear him?

COOPER: I don't think America hears him now.

GRIFFIN: Oh you want me to do like five minutes on the low hands.

COOPER: No.

GRIFFIN: What's up with her? She's only 14. Is this on? I mean, is this on. Sorry.

COOPER: Hundreds of thousands of folks are here in Times Square.

GRIFFIN: Can I get a pap smear from Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

COOPER: Really, are we going there already?

GRIFFIN: It's for health, you know what it's the raw and honest. It's the "Raw and Keeping them Honest." You can't just sit down and quit.

COOPER: No, I mean I think it's going to be that kind of a night.

GRIFFIN: I can tell you're like -- I quit, that's it I'm going to New York One.

COOPER: No. We have New Year's in Australia.

GRIFFIN: And Zanzibar.

COOPER: Zanzibar.

GRIFFIN: Where is Zanzibar? COOPER: Off the coast of Africa.

GRIFFIN: Why don't you ever take me there?

COOPER: They've been sending us video, this is actually fun.

GRIFFIN: Ok.

COOPER: Right now at AC360.com you can go to the web site and we want people to send us pictures of their parties that they're having around the country or around the world.

If you are hanging out with a loved one or your pet --

GRIFFIN: I love the pet pictures. I want adorable dog pictures.

COOPER: Exactly, that why I am personally --

GRIFFIN: It is not all negative. It is not all pap smears me. Sometimes it's a fluffy golden retriever fun time.

COOPER: OK, can we stop saying pap smear?

GRIFFIN: Oh yes of course, why wouldn't I?

COOPER: Excuse me, I got distracted. Just send your video or your pictures to AC360.com. Look for the link that says -- show us your party.

GRIFFIN: Show us your party. OK, I mean, that's an open invitation for me to say something to get kicked off and then there's just like a bar code and snow.

COOPER: Oh yes, exactly. Erica Hill has two missions tonight.

GRIFFIN: Poor Erica, her lips can barely move. She is so frozen.

COOPER: She's been out here for hours I know. It's like she has had work done. But she hasn't had work done.

GRIFFIN: Anderson, that is worst than me saying Ryan Seacrest got shot.

COOPER: No, I'm saying her face is frozen because of the cold. Erica, help me out.

HILL: I think you should all just quit while you're ahead. Quit while you're ahead. I do want to tell you one thing, they're light emitting diodes, that's what LED stands for, in case you wanted to know. I do have some missions tonight.

GRIFFIN: Oh, I'm Erica Hill. I'm so great.

HILL: I used to be a tech reporter, OK. The first one being -- and this is all natural. My first mission is to introduce you to all of my friends here. These aren't the only friends you're going to meet tonight.

Also tonight, as you just mentioned Anderson, we want to know what you're doing to celebrate 2009. We want your iReports you. So I'm going to be showing you some of the iReport that are coming in.

We may have a couple ready to go; I think we have two adorable kids from Ontario. Their parents sent in some pictures, they are ages three and one. Big "AC360" fans. How could you not want to ring in the New Year with these two little munchkins?

And then we also have an amazing picture taken by a 14-year-old. He sent it to us, he's on his way to South Africa with his family; the last bit of sun from 2008 that he's sending us. Much more of that to come.

COOPER: Wow. That is cool. That is very cool that they send it from the plane. And also those kids are the most adorable kids I've seen for awhile.

GRIFFIN: It is very, very touching and a nice counterbalance to all the things I'm going to be saying in the next two hours.

COOPER: Exactly, kids, close your ears.

GRIFFIN: That's right, really hide the children.

Now, what is Wolf Blitzer serving tonight for dinner do you think.

COOPER: What is what?

GRIFFIN: Wolf Blitzer serving, have you ever been to his house?

COOPER: I've never been to his house, no.

GRIFFIN: You've never got in the Blitzer gate?

COOPER: Not yet, no.

GRIFFIN: Why, what's going on?

COOPER: I don't know, I'm sure he would invite if I was in Washington. He lives in Washington and I'm up here in New York.

GRIFFIN: So it's like the thorn birds. It's a forbidden love. You'll never say its name.

COOPER: The thorn birds, well, you're like kicking it back to like '84. I don't know most people watching this weren't even alive then. I mean, I was alive.

GRIFFIN: I love the Jonas brothers. I just want everyone to know.

COOPER: All right.

GRIFFIN: And how is your promise ring? Still on? Because mine doesn't fit anymore for some reason.

COOPER: Your promise ring is chafing.

GRIFFIN: I know Happy New Year.

COOPER: Please keep sending us your iReport party shots, just go to AC360.com.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

COOPER: Follow the links, of course, you've got a front row seat to the biggest party in the world. They say there may be a million people. I don't believe it, I think it's a couple of hundred thousand but it is an amazing atmosphere.

Don Lemon is down with some of the people --

GRIFFIN: Don Lemon knows everything, Don.

COOPER: Don who are you talking to?

LEMON: I was to talking to a bunch of folks. It is so cold out here. And hey, I asked my producer to get me a coke because I couldn't move. It's about ten minute to go guys, check this out. This is how freaking cold it is, within like ten minutes this froze up.

COOPER: Wow.

LEMON: Unbelievable, right.

We've got people here from New Zealand, from China, from Guatemala, all over the country. But you know, we've got a little, where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brooklyn, New York, Brooklyn, New York.

LEMON: Hey, listen, we've got a little challenge for the folks here. Let's see, where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from England.

LEMON: You're from England, if you can show me a high school picture of a famous person I'll give you five bucks. Do you think you have one?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

LEMON: Yes, check it out. Who do you have here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

LEMON: A high school picture of a famous person. Let's see.

Oh, rock on. Who is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That guy from Stewart Anderson.

LEMON: 19 year ago so we're talking about 1984, check it out, I'll give you your five bucks later. What do you think of this picture, Anderson? Is that you? Go in close.

COOPER: That's not me, no I don't know who that is.

LEMON: That's you. 1984.

GRIFFIN: It's a picture of you with your old hair.

COOPER: That's not me.

GRIFFIN: I think it is.

COOPER: No that's not me.

GRIFFIN: You had a mullet.

COOPER: That's not me. No.

GRIFFIN: Anderson, wow.

COOPER: We'll check in with Don shortly. Before you move on I believe, congratulations are in order. Kathy, you have received not only two Emmys, but you got a Grammy nomination this year, congratulation.

GRIFFIN: What are you talking about, Anderson. I don't even --

COOPER: You just happen to have this.

GRIFFIN: Yes, I just happen to have --

COOPER: Oh, this is sad.

GRIFFIN: No. This is weird. Where did these come from?

COOPER: So these are both for your show, right, for "My Life on the "D" list. Focus, focus.

GRIFFIN: Yes, I'm sorry, these are for "My Life on "D" list.

COOPER: Yes, and you got a Grammy nomination.

GRIFFIN: I am nominated for Grammy for the best comedy album. I hope I can count on you for my vote, Anderson.

COOPER: That doesn't grammatically make any sense. But I don't actually have a vote for the Grammy.

GRIFFIN: You are going to correct my grammar. I'm lucky to be standing. When is the last time you talked to Glenn Beck? Do you guys still talk or no?

COOPER: I haven't talked to him since he left. But he is a very nice person.

GRIFFIN: He is too conservative I think.

COOPER: I don't know you know --

GRIFFIN: He sounds like a heroin addict Mormon.

COOPER: I know you had asked me to bring my Emmys, but I don't bring them out of the vault, they are in the vault.

GRIFFIN: But that's not even -- you have a vault in your house.

COOPER: Do we the pictures of the vault? That is the guard. That is just some of them. But anyway, I don't like to dwell on that.

GRIFFIN: What is the one that is like a big skull?

COOPER: These are just some of the various awards we received over recently. Anyway let's move on, it's not important. Your Emmy's are great and congratulations on that Grammy nomination, I'm sure you guys got it.

GRIFFIN: I also have the key to Louisville, Kentucky.

COOPER: I saw that episode actually.

GRIFFIN: Thank you very much.

COOPER: For President-elect Obama this is going to a New Year's Eve to remember. It is the last New Year's before he moves into the White House in just a few weeks. Obama and his family are in Honolulu to ring in 2009. And maybe they are watching us right now.

GRIFFIN: And Ed Henry has got the best gig on CNN. How do you score the Hawaii gig?

COOPER: I know he is still in Hawaii, I don't know if he's still wearing board -- oh look at this, Ed Henry, how are they celebrating New Year's in Hawaii?

GRIFFIN: Put a suit on Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Aloha. Kathy and Anderson, I've got in fact an aloha shirt, I've got a lei, a flower one, the bead one. I've got the whole deal, all I need is mai tai frankly.

We are outside Duke's it's a landmark restaurant here on Waikiki beach. We are five hours behind you there in New York, so the party is just getting started. People are getting pumped up though, you can hear them.

We've got a hula band here, we've got Hawaiian band. They're going to dance the night away. I'm so sorry -- you can hear they're getting excited but I'm so sorry to hear it is so cold there in my home of New York. Let me tell you, the weather is absolutely perfect here in Hawaii.

The home of Barack Obama, as you've mentioned, the President- elect having a quiet night at the rental beach house home that he has here. He's been renting for the last couple of weeks. He's going to ring in the New Year with family and friends. He obviously needs to rest up, recharge the batteries, a lot of challenges ahead from the financial crisis to national security challenges.

He is going to have an early night tonight at home. So we're going to have to leave the party to everybody here in Waikiki beach. As you can see they do all kinds of fireworks here in the beach; everyone is excited.

Let's give Anderson and Kathy an "Aloha." All right, Anderson and Kathy.

GRIFFIN: All right, look. Ed, I'm going to have to cut you off because you're so boring. Look, he's got to spice things up. Is that a lei on? You've got to be kidding me.

COOPER: You are brutal, you're brutal.

GRIFFIN: Ed.

COOPER: All right, we're going to have a lot more here from Times Square across the country and show you how folks have been celebrating the New Year's around the world. We also have some of the hottest musical acts coming around.

GRIFFIN: Little Wayne, Giant Score, Lady Gaga.

COOPER: Little Wayne, how cool is that, Lady Gaga and others, and we're also are going to be check in with New Orleans, we're going to see--

GRIFFIN: That went so well last time. I can't wait to see that guy get dumped on.

COOPER: Yes, exactly there is a very 14-drink minimum on Bourbon Street.

GRIFFIN: I feel good, it's about boundaries isn't it.

COOPER: We can, and also later, we are going to head back down to Key West for a rare interview with Sushi. Do you get it. Rare sushi.

GRIFFIN: There's the rare sushi, I got it.

COOPER: Oh it's the comedy stylings of Anderson Cooper.

GRIFFIN: Does Larry King have feet, have you seen them.

COOPER: Look, there is Sushi.

GRIFFIN: Hi, Lady Sushi. Gee, I wonder if New Orleans wants some beads.

SUSHI: Is that Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: It is and Kathy Griffin.

SUSHI: You have an open invitation to come down here and have dinner with me. Now business calls. Drag.

COOPER: All right, we'll check in with Sushi coming up. We'll be right back.

GRIFFIN: I like those pan ye, it smell like it taste good.

COOPER: That is in New Orleans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN New Years Eve live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin live from Times Square and from all over the world. With performances by My Morning Jacket, Lil' Wayne, Hinder, Lady Gaga, 3 Doors Down, Lynyrd Shynryd.

Plus show us your party. Go to CNN.com and upload your video or pictures. CNN New Years Eve live will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Happy New Year's to you all. It's going to be a great year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Oh, it's Tom Cruise wishing a Happy New Year to everyone.

GRIFFIN: He is a bucket of crazy, let's face it. That was a very good actor.

COOPER: He is a very nice actor.

GRIFFIN: But he didn't know you -- he knows you of course.

COOPER: No, I don't think so.

GRIFFIN: He probably thought he was talking to Robin Meade.

COOPER: I want to see his new movie.

GRIFFIN: It's a very fascinating story of course, have you ever ridden the Morning Express?

COOPER: Robin Meade I'm a huge fan of.

GRIFFIN: Why was the show called the Morning Express. COOPER: I have not been on the Morning Express, but I love Robin Meade.

GRIFFIN: I would like to be on the caboose.

COOPER: Have you ever met her?

COOPER: She is incredibly cool. She's been with us on New Year's Eve.

GRIFFIN: Why don't you marry her if you are so in love with her? I'm just showing you a conversation.

COOPER: All right.

GRIFFIN: Don Lemon never treats me this way. Nor does Jack Cafferty.

COOPER: If you don't care we're going to make you wear one of those ridiculous hats that Don Lemon is trying to get us to wear.

GRIFFIN: How dare you.

COOPER: Believe me you will not want to wear one of those.

GRIFFIN: All right, fine we're not on TV right?

COOPER: Welcome back to -- we're still on practice don't worry.

GRIFFIN: Oh hi.

COOPER: Welcome back to our New Year's coverage here on CNN. I'm here with my partner in crime Kathy Griffin for the second year in a row.

GRIFFIN: I know. I'm very flattered.

COOPER: I appreciate you coming back.

GRIFFIN: Thank you much. I didn't turn down $200,000 for Harrison and Atlantic City at all. Thanks for the coach plane ticket.

COOPER: You make 200,000? No anyway -- midnight is getting closer --

GRIFFIN: Look who is talking America I mean, world.

COOPER: Midnight is getting closer and closer. From Times Square and all over the world, CNN is your New Year's Eve party headquarters. We're going to be showing you how they've been celebrating in London and Australia and points all across the globe.

GRIFFIN: I love these cutaways where you just can't hear one thing except drunken people screaming and doing gang signs.

COOPER: I know. Well, we love New Orleans, you love the vignettes.

GRIFFIN: Of course, I do. Although I thought they were in Key West a minute ago, correction. I was like let's go to Key West for those awesome vignettes, I meant New Orleans.

COOPER: I love New Orleans as well. Sean Callebs is in Bourbon Street. He was surrounded by some folks who I think had had a few too many libations. It sounds that way a little bit, too.

Sean, what are they doing for New Year's there?

GRIFFIN: They ripped him limb from limb.

SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The good thing is most of the people here are pretty well behaved. And then you have got these guys like these knuckle heads behind me. Cops will come and haul them away pretty soon.

But this is New Year's Eve here in the Quarter; it's about as loud as it gets. It's about as beer-soaked as it gets but there's supposed to be a couple of hundred thousand people coming out here, Anderson.

You talked about the weather up there. A lot better down here. Back to you guys.

COOPER: All right, Sean thanks very much.

New York has an amazing way of celebrating. Besides -- there is this fun run at Central Park. It's a four-mile run at the stroke of midnight.

GRIFFIN: Does it start at midnight?

COOPER: Yes, it starts at the stroke of midnight.

GRIFFIN: And how long is it?

COOPER: It is four miles, so however long that would -- how long would it take you to run four miles?

GRIFFIN: Four days. I would eat in between, and probably call friends and hang out. What is the name of the guy who's running tonight?

COOPER: Gary Tuchman?

GRIFFIN: And you had dinner with him? Because it sounds like you hardly get along with anyone here at CNN.

COOPER: I have had dinner with Gary and his wife and his family. They're lovely.

Gary is not just covering the race; he's actually running the race again this year. He's going to be joined by his -- I didn't know your daughter was joining you, Gary. That's so cool. GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, that was going to be the big surprise. I have a compatriot who's going to run with me. Come here young lady; this is her. This is Samantha Tuchman; she's 11 years old. We have been training for the last week in Hawaii on vacation, believe it or not. We were actually yesterday snorkeling near Molokini (ph) island and then we ran two miles so she is ready to go. Right?

SAMANTHA TUCHMAN, GARY TUCHMAN'S DAUGHTER: Yes.

G. TUCHMAN: Why are you running with me, by the way?

S. TUCHMAN: Because I wanted to spend more time with you.

G. TUCHMAN: That just warms my heart.

Also though, we want to talk to you about our other guests here; four-mile run, crazy wild way to spend New Year's. And we say it's wild because it's so cold. It's the coldest New York New Year's Eve I've ever been in Central Park or Times Square. I have been doing this for most of the last 20 years.

It's like the United Nations here -- people from all over the place.

Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Italy.

G. TUCHMAN: Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Manhattan.

G. TUCHMAN: Manhattan. That's very close.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Canada.

G. TUCHMAN: Canada.

And you are from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thailand.

G. TUCHMAN: Thailand.

People from everywhere, Anderson and Kathy. There will be 4,000 people running in this race. Back to you.

COOPER: I cannot wait to see how you are going to do and your daughter. That's so cool that your daughter --

GRIFFIN: Can we get that thing for one second? Where you ask me where I'm from and I scream it. And I do the same to you? Anderson Cooper where you are from.

COOPER: I'm from New York. I'm supposed to scream it? Sorry. GRIFFIN: That was terrible.

COOPER: I was supposed to ask you. Let me ask you.

GRIFFIN: Back to one. All right, you do it to me.

COOPER: Kathy, where are you from?

GRIFFIN: Do the microphone.

COOPER: Kathy, where are you from?

GRIFFIN: Illinois, whoo!

Anderson, where are you from?

COOPER: New York City, wooo!

GRIFFIN: Oh, that was terrible.

COOPER: I know. I couldn't commit to it.

GRIFFIN: Let's go back to Ed.

COOPER: And that's pretty much how it would -- I never understand why people do that.

GRIFFIN: Ed Henry at the Hukilau.

COOPER: No, no, no. We have very special guests for everyone right now. It took a lot of negotiating. We have landed an exclusive interview with the one and only sushi who is perched I think already in the red shoe.

SUSHI: We're live. We're live. Hello.

GRIFFIN: Sushi is directing the show.

SUSHI: Hey, Anderson. How are you?

COOPER: I'm doing great. I'm here with Kathy, Sushi.

GRIFFIN: Hi, sushi.

SUSHI: Is that your new girlfriend? Hello Kathy, I love you, baby.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

SUSHI: I love you Anderson. It's so nice. You guys are coming down here live. We are on CNN. Oh, I caught a bead.

COOPER: Sushi, what happens at the stroke of midnight?

They are going to lower me down in the shoe, darling. Everybody say hello to Kathy and Anderson Cooper in New York City. Hello. Oh, these beautiful people. It is 82 degrees down here in the beautiful Key West. And I love it here and thank you for coming every year, Anderson. And that beautiful, oh, I love Kathy.

Are you guys freezing?

COOPER: So at the stroke of midnight, the shoe gets lowered.

We're very cold.

GRIFFIN: We're freezing but --

SUSHI: Oh, well, Kathy or Anderson, if you come down here, I'll give you this coat. It is flawless. It is warm and delicious.

GRIFFIN: Is that coat also a shoe?

COOPER: No, that's the shoe. We are going to check in though --

GRIFFIN: We're freezing.

COOPER: We're going to check in with Sushi throughout the night who gets lowered in that giant shoe.

John Zarrella is there. He's been covering this every couple of years. He now brings his family there. It's become a big family even. We'll check in with Sushi in a little bit. Sushi, Thanks so much.

GRIFFIN: Of course we will. I thought that was very smooth, Anderson, I just want to say.

COOPER: What's very smooth?

GRIFFIN: I thought the shoe was just going to kill somebody.

COOPER: There was one year where -- it was actually quite funny where there was a technical malfunction and the shoe like stopped halfway down and the last we saw of Sushi is she was crawling along the top of the roof of the building.

GRIFFIN: What if that happens this year to Ryan Seacrest? Would that be terrible?

COOPER: Yes.

GRIFFIN: Anyway, you are part of the best political team on television. Who is like the third string? Who do you call when everybody else is sick?

Like, Donna Brazile is sick today, let's call --

COOPER: No, there is no one. There is no third string. Everyone is a team player. GRIFFIN: Will you admit somebody really falls asleep sometimes. Have you ever caught David Gergen like nodding off a little bit? A little bit -- come on, at lunch?

COOPER: No.

GRIFFIN: Has Jack Cafferty every gotten so mad he literally just punches Wolf in the face? Because it looks like he's going to punch Wolf in the face.

COOPER: You watch a lot of CNN, I think.

GRIFFIN: I love CNN. Watch what happens.

COOPER: You should do the new voice of CNN.

GRIFFIN: I agree. My voice is super soothing to people.

COOPER: Yes, it is very soothing; almost as soothing as my laugh, which is like the laugh of a strangled chicken.

GRIFFIN: What happens when they scream, go to break, for God's sake, go to break? What does that mean? Everything is going well?

COOPER: Things are going well. This is gold.

We're going to have a lot more. We're going to show you the fireworks that took place in London; a big celebration there as well as in Australia.

Also, let us know -- there it is -- there is the scene in London. We'll be right back live from New York's Times Square.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SANDLER, ACTOR: I want all for you guys to enjoy your time. This is the last one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was Adam Sandler, apparently not aware that this thing of our, this New Year's Eve thing that Kathy and I are doing is actually --

GRIFFIN: -- legendary.

COOPER: -- is a thing for all time.

GRIFFIN: Of course.

COOPER: The New Year has arrived in London about 4 and 1/2 hours ago. We showed those pictures just earlier. You were mentioning about Wolf Blitzer, what he does.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

COOPER: We actually are joined by Wolf Blitzer on the phone right now because he wanted to say hello to you.

GRIFFIN: Wolf is here?

GRIFFIN: Wolf, Happy New Year?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, "SITUATION ROOM": Hey, Happy New Year, guys. I'm looking at you at Times Square. And I'm thinking about how cold you are out there because I'm out in Florida where it is 70 to 80 degrees.

COOPER: Wolf, are you with Sushi the drag queen? Is that what you're doing?

GRIFFIN: Again? I hate to see that on TMZ again.

BLITZER: Kathy, can you hear me?

GRIFFIN: Of course, I can.

BLITZER: I just wanted to let you know you look beautiful tonight. Anderson, you look very handsome.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

GRIFFIN: Thank you very much, Wolf.

COOPER: Are you going to stay up -- are you going to ring in the New Year? Are you going to stay up past midnight?

BLITZER: I'm staying up -- yes, I'll be staying up at least until you guys are off the air because I love watching both you at Times Square.

COOPER: All right.

GRIFFIN: Cut the crap, Wolf. How many monitors are in the situation room?

BLITZER: At any one time there's eight but we can go to 16 if necessary.

GRIFFIN: I think it is necessary.

What is the most difficult situation you have had in the Sit Room?

BLITZER: Mostly, Jack Cafferty; that's the most difficult situation.

GRIFFIN: I find him so charming. BLITZER: I love Jack. I love Jack. He's great.

GRIFFIN: All right. You are boring me. Can we cut away from Wolf? I know when he's not committed to the event.

COOPER: No, he is committed to the event. Wolf, I want to wish you happy holidays to you and your family; a happy new year.

BLITZER: Thank you, guys. And you guys have the best. I hope 2009 is going to be fabulous not only for you guys but for all of our viewers in the United States and around the world right now.

COOPER: Hear, hear. Wolf, thanks very much for calling in. You know, it's amazing when you look --

GRIFFIN: What is he running for? Quit auditioning; you got the job, Wolf. Wow.

COOPER: It is amazing when you look out at all the crowds, and we showed some of the different shots.

GRIFFIN: How people get along?

COOPER: No. Just how many people are here; it's exciting.

GRIFFIN: Are you going to say something small --

COOPER: No, I'm not going to say anything small town. I'm saying that as a New Yorker, you never actually come to this. You sort of deride it --

GRIFFIN: You don't think about how many of them would like to kill you because that is what I think.

COOPER: You think someone will kill you.

GRIFFIN: I'm worried about sniper fire. Yes.

I think we know who's pulling the trigger, it's Ryan Seacrest.

COOPER: No, no.

GRIFFIN: Come on. If I show up dead that is the first place you should look; that's all I'm saying, then Clay Aiken and Oprah.

COOPER: What is there between you and Ryan Seacrest? I don't understand.

GRIFFIN: Look. There is our picture. We are on a billboard.

COOPER: Yes, we are. That's funny.

Did you see our big picture in the "New York Times"?

GRIFFIN: I don't read the paper. It takes too long.

But this is very exciting.

COOPER: New Year's Eve arrived in London about 4 1/2 hours ago; we just missed it. CNN's Richard Quest was right in the thick of it, on the Jubilee Bridge over the Thames; a perfect spot to check out the fire works.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening and welcome to London where the local time is just about one minute to midnight. This will be the longest minute in 2008 because of course it this moment on this hour in this city where the world adds that leap second so that the atomic clock is in tune with the rest of the world.

On these buildings we will see the countdown starting. Very shortly -- there it's kicked in -- 56 seconds to go before a new year arrives in the United Kingdom. There are 250,000 people along the embankment here in London and, of course, way over in the distance, Big Ben will chime the hour.

CROWD: Five, four, three, two, one!

QUEST: For auld lang syne. We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for the sake of auld lang syne.

So there you have it, Anderson. New Year has arrived in London where one of the best fireworks display I have seen, if not some of the worst singing, you are likely to see this side of 2009.

Anderson, a happy new year to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And to you, too, Richard. Thanks very much. We want to remind people --

GRIFFIN: Okay. I'm supposed to just act like that didn't happen. Is that guy drunk?

COOPER: No.

GRIFFIN: You have drunk people coming --

COOPER: I think that woman was drunk. I think she --

GRIFFIN: What are you going to trade me to not make a joke about what is obviously something we just saw. What have you got?

COOPER: What do I have to do.

GRIFFIN: You have ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six --

COOPER: Let's go to break. GRIFFIN: -- five, four, three, two -- that guy. Something is going on with that guy.

COOPER: what?

GRIFFIN: I mean, I made an iReport about it.

COOPER: You're going to do an iReport. All right. Send in an iReport actually of your party right now, if you could, ac360.com.

GRIFFIN: You don't really know the thoughts in my head about that Richard Quest.

COOPER: Believe, I know every thought in your head right now.

GRIFFIN: All right, all right. We're going to do the break. Because I'm only human.

COOPER: There's no new thoughts in your head. Nothing original. We'll be right back; all live coverage from New York as we count down to the New Year.

GRIFFIN: Is Erica Hill even alive? That poor thing. She has got to be frozen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back. We are live in New York's Times Square; there is no place like it on earth.

We want to take a moment again to wish American forces serving overseas the very best. Kathy, I know it means a lot to you, to the troops overseas and those back home recuperating from serious injuries. I know you -- you actually recently went to Fisher Houses.

GRIFFIN: I did.

COOPER: Fisher House is a remarkable organization.

GRIFFIN: It is a remarkable organization because I went to Walter Reed. But also when I went to Afghanistan and Iraq, when these guys come back and they're in bad shape they want to stay in the nicest environment possible.

So I went to visit Fisher House in D.C. There's one opening up in Los Angeles. And also there is a great organization called Vetdogs. And if you go on their web site, vetdogs.org, they give a lot of the amputees guide dogs.

COOPER: Right.

GRIFFIN: And oh, my gosh, their lives change when they get these dogs. I actually have had these vets come with the dogs to my house. Unfortunately, my ill behaved dogs, like attack the guide dog. It's the worst thing you've ever seen.

But these guide dogs are amazing. So, yes, Fisher House does great work. I'm glad they are opening one in L.A.

COOPER: And Fisher House is for wounded warriors and for their families while their recuperating their families have a place to stay near the hospitals where the soldiers or sailors are recovering. So we want to give a big shout out to all those folks who are watching right now from Fisher Houses and from bases around the world who are serving our country.

I hope 2009 is a successful year for you and I hope you come home quick to your loved ones.

GRIFFIN: Come back safely. We love you. We know you are watching. Hello.

Also, you know, have you seen the peace tags? A lot of people are wearing these dog tags. Proceeds go to Fisher House for that as well. Like I saw Justin Timberlake with one, only on TV, I didn't see him in person.

COOPER: Do you hang out with Justin Timberlake?

GRIFFIN: Oh, yes. You know what? I am doing the rules with him. I wait until he calls me three times and then I call him back. It makes him hurt.

Don't even get me started on Chris Kirkpatrick.

COOPER: I don't know who that is.

GRIFFIN: He's from N'Sync. Hey wake up, grandpa.

How's Wolf Blitzer?

COOPER: From Times Square, we head to Wolf Blitzer's favorite spot, Sin City. Did you know that's his favorite spot.

GRIFFIN: I'm very surprised to hear the Wolf Blitzer rocks sin city.

COOPER: Apparently he does.

GRIFFIN: With Pam Anderson? The two of them, weekend getaway.

COOPER: What?

GRIFFIN: Pam Anderson. Like Wolf and Pam get a lot of getaways to Vegas.

COOPER: Probably, I don't know.

GRIFFIN: I think so too.

COOPER: I only heard half of what you are saying. I'm just nodding.

GRIFFIN: You are in love with me and you're going to give me all your money and you're in love me.

COOPER: Let's get right now to Club CNN, in the Palazzo in Las Vegas; Brooke Anderson is standing there live.

Brooke, how's the scene there?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The scene is great, Anderson. We are still about three hours away from midnight here and there will be an extravagant fireworks display all up and down the strip from nine different locations the fireworks will be launched.

Nearly 300,000 tourists are expected here in Vegas tonight to take part in the festivities; tons of people, tons of celebrities also on hand.

David Spade actually is kicking off a new comedy gig at the Venetian on New Year's Day tomorrow here in Las Vegas. I spoke to him a short time ago about why he is looking forward to 2009. Listen to what he told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: What makes you excited to leave 2008 behind, start fresh in 2009 and do you make resolutions?

DAVID SPADE, ACTOR: I -- it was all right, 2008. I was okay. I'm always trying to be kind of even and not have too many highs and lows, thank God.

I want to try to start smoking. It looks so cool, everyone's doing it. Then you're like this. You squint a little bit and you flick it out. So that and maybe drink more coffee. Other than that I don't really have anything too great.

ANDERSON: To the kids at home, he is kidding. It's that sharp wit, it's sarcasm

SPADE: I want to try to be cooler in general. But it is very tough. It is a full-time job. I know I am getting fat. In Malibu I have a little place and the little shutter bugs take your picture. So it is hard to suck in my gut for eight hours a day. So I'm either going to move or I'm going to work out.

ANDERSON: Is it annoying the shutterbugs, the paparazzi, or does it make you feel cool?

SPADE: I get what they are doing. And I feel like I guess I'm in showbiz. If you are Brad Pitt, it is horrible. But if you're me and they get you in the background of Charlize Theron, I'm like "whee". But she lives on the beach so they are always like wasting a few clicks on me just to finish the roll. But it's stupid.

ANDERSON: I guess you're modest.

Are you the kind of guy who's going to really let loose tonight for New Year's Eve or do you kind of lay low? SPADE: No. I'm not a big boozy Susie. I will have a few cordials. I have to do the show tomorrow. So I got the Kid rock is over at another place. Maybe I'll meet up because he is like my party boy mentor from the old Joe Dirt days. If I find him it will be trouble.

ANDERSON: I'm sure it will be. Congratulations on the new comedy gig. David spade, good to see you.

SPADE: It's good to be here. Say hi to Anderson and Kathy. Nice to see you. Okay, bye you guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Yes, David Spade wanted to make sure that he said hello to you Anderson and to you Kathy and make sure to tell you guys Happy New Year. Also, Carmen Electra on hand, as well as Fergie and also Coolio; we will be hearing from all of them coming up.

COOPER: Thanks very much, Brooke. I'm sure --

GRIFFIN: I love him. His Act Live is very funny.

COOPER: His what?

GRIFFIN: I loved it. And he is really very funny.

COOPER: Yes, he is funny.

GRIFFIN: Will you come see me? I'm going to be at Madison Square Garden in February; February 19, 20, 21st.

COOPER: Are you plugging your show?

GRIFFIN: No. I'm doing it for the -- because I love America and also the New Year's spirit. Let's throw stuff at the Jonas brothers. You're frauds.

COOPER: You can't do that. You just threw something at the Jonas brothers.

GRIFFIN: Yes, I did. I will throw a rock at them if I can. That is how I roll, Andy.

COOPER: They are going to remove you from this stage. You cannot throw stuff.

GRIFFIN: I'll take on -- what are their names? Go ahead.

COOPER: I don't know their names.

GRIFFIN: Herb.

COOPER: Is it really? Herb?

GRIFFIN: Francis and Lefty. I don't know. COOPER: Still ahead, New Year's Eve in Key West, the shop dropping with Sushi (ph), also we have music from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lady Gaga and others.

And of course, here in Times Square, we're going to talk to a lot of people in the crowd about 15 minutes from the New Year.

Stay with us all night. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We are live -- we are live in New York's Times Square, about 14 minutes --

GRIFFIN: I'm going to crack one of those Jonas Brothers right outside his head. It is too late for them to be out.

COOPER: It's too late for them to be out.

GRIFFIN: Those promise rings are going to get all frozen and break off and stuff; what a shame that would be.

COOPER: Just downtown from here in New York's Webster Hall Lady Gaga has been getting the peeps out of the seats. Here she is performing this weeks number one digital download "Just Dance."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LADY GAGA, SINGER: Hello, world. My name is Lady Gaga and this is "Just Dance."

(LADY GAGA SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is Lady Gaga, performing live -- performing down at Webster Hall in New York.

GRIFFIN: She said hi to us. That's very exciting.

COOPER: She did, that was very exciting.

GRIFFIN: Rock on, Lady Gaga.

COOPER: Rock on, Lady Gaga. Rock on.

Less than -- I'll tell you just about 11 minutes to go here in Times Square.

GRIFFIN: What, until midnight?

COOPER: Yes, until the stroke of midnight.

GRIFFIN: I have something planned for the two of us.

COOPER: Really? What's going to happen? GRIFFIN: You're going to hate it.

COOPER: Oh, really.

GRIFFIN: It's going to be really bad. Remember like the whole super bowl thing with the nipple?

COOPER: Oh, no.

GRIFFIN: It is way worse than that. Stay tuned.

COOPER: No. I don't think you can say that on TV, by the way

GRIFFIN: Okay. So I'm not allowed to pants you.

COOPER: We'll be right back. Go to ac360.com, send us your party pictures and we'll put them on the air. We'll be right back. Bring you all the way this New Year.

GRIFFIN: Whoo, surprise.

COOPER: Here's a look at what happened in Tokyo earlier this evening.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(LYNYRD SKYNYRD SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There'll be talking.

GRIFFIN: It's a classic.

COOPER: And you're looking at a live picture of Bill Clinton on the stage at the center of Times Square. Former President Clinton is here with his wife, Senator Hillary Clinton.

GRIFFIN: Soon to be secretary of state Clinton. And a role model for women everywhere, I feel. I love that, I'm getting emotional just looking at them.

COOPER: Do you know them? Have you ever met them?

GRIFFIN: I've shook hands but no I don't. I'm not like in the -- I don't playing monopoly with them or anything. You can probably get in like on their game nights.

COOPER: The what?

GRIFFIN: You know, in their game night. You can probably get to one of their game nights.

COOPER: No, I don't -- GRIFFIN: I bet their game night is a riot.

COOPER: A what?

GRIFFIN: A riot.

COOPER: They are going to be pressing -- at the stroke of midnight they're going to be pressing the button that lowers the ball. About ten seconds before midnight. Actually a minute before midnight, they'll press the ball. It's going to take it a minute for it to come down and then it will be New Year.

GRIFFIN: Stuff's going to happen with you and me. Something bigger than that is going to happen. Just keep the camera on us, it will be worth it. It's called ratings.

COOPER: It's about what?

GRIFFIN: It's called ratings.

COOPER: Oh, yeah, okay. It's hard to hear you over Lynyrd Skynyrd, frankly.

You a big Skynyrd fan?

GRIFFIN: And why would you want to? Of course, I'm a dirt bag. I'm from Illinois, I love Skynyrd.

COOPER: Let's take a look around at some of the doings here in Times Square. Erica Hill is down in the crowd and you're looking also at New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg who was the one who asked and invited the Clintons to perform this ceremonial function here.

Erica, is the crowd excited? Obviously they are. Almost five minutes away.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Five minutes away.

Are you guys excited?

(CROSS TALK)

HILL: I mean, really, the excitement is overwhelming. I can't even tell you. No, it really, really was incredible earlier. There's a lot going on down her here.

Here's what I can tell you. We have a couple of cows in the crowd. I don't know if you've ever met cows. These are fresh cows.

You're from Australia?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we have. It's actually hot. (INAUDIBLE)

HILL: You're giving up summer to celebrate in Times Square, why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the ball dropping.

HILL: Have you always watched it on TV?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.

HILL: Did you ever think you would be here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's amazing.

HILL: A great way to ring in 2009.

Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Washington, D.C.

HILL: What do you think, is this your first time in Times Square?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my first time.

HILL: Would you like to see a warmer 2009?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, what?

HILL: Would you like to see a warmer 2009?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, very much.

I can tell you, this crowd behind is from Australia, Trinidad, about 13 states that we counted. It's pretty amazing, Anderson.

COOPER: It certainly is. They're starting to play some music here in Times Square. You see the Clintons getting ready.

Don lemon is down in the crowd. Don, it's amazing how long a lot of the people have been here; have been standing around here.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, "NEWSROOM": It is. And you mentioned the Clintons, Anderson. Just a couple minutes ago, they corralled us in this little spot because the Clintons were going to go by and they walked by. And everybody started screaming and waving at them.

The people who got really the biggest response, the Jonas Brothers when they walked by. The girls, teenagers in this crowd just went crazy. And a couple older folks too, like Yvonne (ph) here. You like the Jonas Brothers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love them.

LEMON: You love them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love them.

LEMON: I love her accent; she's from North Carolina. Who do you want to say hi too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Myrtle LaHorne (ph) and Shirley LaHorne and all the (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: How long have you been here in New York?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been here since yesterday.

LEMON: All right. We're going to throw it back to you, Anderson. A whole bunch of people are ready for the ball to drop.

COOPER: And they're listening to John Lennon sing "Imagine." Let's listen in.

GRIFFIN: Yes, let's.

(JOHN LENNON'S "IMAGINE")

COOPER: It's started its descent; 50 seconds to the New Year, 2009. There you see the giant ball and it's twice the size it was last year. Let's hope the New Year is twice as good as it was last year.

GRIFFIN: Exactly what I was thinking, Anderson. There's twice as many Clintons as usual.

COOPER: Yes.

Twenty-six seconds.

GRIFFIN: It sounds like the beginning of a Skynyrd song. Like the beginning when the crowds first lock it in, that's all I'm saying.

COOPER: Twenty seconds left to go.

GRIFFIN: I can't take the excitement, Anderson.

COOPER: Let's count it down together. The last ten seconds.

GRIFFIN: Oh, no.

COOPER: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, Happy New Year!

GRIFFIN: Happy New Year!

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