In an industry where it seems like anyone with a microphone and an idea can develop a podcast, Danny Pellegrino has managed to stand out. His podcast Everything Iconic has managed to morph his love for all things pop culture with his passion for Bravo to ultra successful results. Everyone from Sonja Morgan (to discuss the legendary Scary Island episode of The Real Housewives of New York City) to the iconic Jennifer Love Hewitt have appeared on the podcast, and he has even managed to parlay the success of the podcast into a career as a co-author, partnering up with Vanderpump Rules lovebirds and co-stars, Ariana Madix & Tom Sandoval for their new cocktail book Fancy AF Cocktails: Drink Recipes from a Couple of Professional Drinkers.
Michael Cook: So right off the bat, when did your love affair with all things Bravo start?
Danny Pellegrino: I fell in love with Bravo early on. I was obsessed with Inside the Actor’s Studio and My Life on the D-List with Kathy Griffin. I also loved all of Kathy’s stand-up specials that aired on Bravo, but it was her reality show that really made me addicted to the channel. It was hilarious, heartfelt, and so smart. It won some Emmy’s and it needs to be available on a streaming service. How do we make that happen? I then slowly started to get invested in The Real Housewives. New York is the franchise that hooked me right away, but then I got onboard with OC and literally every one of the others. Atlanta raised the bar. Miami is underrated. Early Beverly Hills is amazing TV. And Potomac and Dallas are at the top of their game right now.
MC: When did you decide to craft the podcast Everything Iconic around it?
DP: I had been making a lot of Housewives memes on my instagram page (@DannyPellegrino) and slowly started to notice a small community of Bravo-lovers forming. I think Bravo fans are the smartest people and also have the greatest sense of humor. Casual fans of shows like Vanderpump Rules or Southern Charm miss a lot of the humor in all of it, but the superfans see the hilarity in the details. I thought it would be fun to branch out from the memes and make a podcast. Selfishly, I also thought it would be fun to interview Bravo-lebrities and other celebs about the things I care about. The show has given me the chance to ask Sonja Morgan a bit more about that infamous Scary Island Season 3 trip that I’m still obsessed with, and I also occasionally do episodes where I chat with people outside of Bravo, like Bonnie Hunt or Jennifer Love Hewitt. Even in 2019, talking about the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise with JLH is a dream. I touch on the things I love and I think there are a lot of people out there who are into the same things.
MC: You do fantastic and hilarious recaps of the shows, but have also featured a ton of Bravo personalities on the show. What is it like getting to interview some of our favorite people from the shows?
DP: It’s SO fun. Sometimes the Bravo personalities surprise me. Cynthia Bailey came over and was SO wonderful. More than nice. Obviously you expect celebrities to be kind to an interviewer, but she was way nicer than she had to be. She was also the most beautiful human I’ve ever seen, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ve also had one or two Bravo interviews that have been minor trainwrecks, but sometimes that can be fun too. Keeps me on my toes!
MC: What are some of your best experiences interviewing Bravo-lebriites?
DP: I loved talking to Stephanie Hollman from The Real Housewives of Dallas. Last season on her show, she opened up about her depression and a suicide attempt. I’m endlessly fascinated by mental health, and I suffer from depression myself, so any chance I can get an opportunity to weave it in, I consider it a success. Selfishly it helps me feel less alone to know other people have similar experiences, and hopefully listeners will feel the same way. Her co-star LeeAnne Locken is also a riot to talk to.
MC: You have branched out and been featured on other podcasts, such as Bitch Sesh. What was that experience like?
DP: Amazing! The Bitch Sesh women are so incredibly funny and talented and beautiful. I have done their show twice, and both times were with Casey when Danielle was out, so I’m still hoping to get to do it with Danielle one of these days. Chatting with Casey is the best. I worshipped her when she was on Happy Endings (#Justice4HappyEndings), so what a dream to get to talk to her about Housewives! There are also so many other amazing Bravo or Bravo-adjacent podcasts like Watch What Crappens with the incredibly talented Ben and Ronnie, The Bitch Bible, Two Judgey Girls, Sexy Unique Podcast, The Daily Dish, Brown-Eyed Jewnicorn, Reality Life…I’m sure I’m missing some, but everyone is so supportive of each other and SO talented. I think we all offer a little something different, so it’s fun to have the hosts on Everything Iconic or to go on their shows and talk about all this ridiculous/wonderful stuff.
MC: Speaking of branching out, you are going to be part of Vanderpump Rules co-stars Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madiix’s Fancy AF cocktail book. Tell me about that experience and how it came about. What can we expect from the book?
DP: I’m so excited for people to see it! I think it will surprise viewers of their show. I’m the co-author, but it’s all their recipes. Ariana came on my podcast a while back, and I asked her what was going on with the book since they had talked about it on the show. It was sort of at a standstill, so I like to think I helped jumpstart the process. We came up with a concept and teamed up with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to publish. It’s a mix of recipes that are a little more intricate for classier occasions, as well as some recipes that are easy and perfect for when you just have a few random ingredients around the house and still want a tasty cocktail. It’s a mix of classy and trashy. With the recipes, there are some fun tidbits about them and the show. One of the recipes was released with the announcement called the Tequila Katie. Alongside the recipe, you can see a text message from Katie to Ariana and Tom that she sent when she was in Tequila Katie mode. It’s a real text and it made me laugh so hard. There are little things like that throughout the book that I think fans will enjoy. Ariana is so smart and she worked so hard to bring this book to life, and Tom is so wonderfully creative. They didn’t want this just to be a project with their names slapped on it. It’s honestly great and I am so happy with how it turned out, both as a co-author and as a fan of the show.
MC: Ok dish time; what do you think are some of the best Bravo moments from the past year? Favorite show and why?
DP: The Real Housewives of Potomac! This season has been next-level. The secret footage that Bravo aired of Michael was one of the greatest hot-mic moments since The Jinx on HBO. Below Deck had a breakout year. The episode with Ashton’s injury was heartbreaking and intense at the same time. Below Deck Med has also been delivering episode after episode, starting with a controversial and awful chef who was, thankfully, let loose from the show. I didn’t care for this season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, however it did have a few moments that were great. The reunion was, in my opinion, wonderful. Camille came in and gave a performance that made no sense, but was very compelling to watch. The Real Housewives of New York is my favorite franchise (and fave show on all of television). Their season wasn’t quite as good as some of their previous, but their Miami trip was unforgettable. Bethenny’s breakdown at a group dinner that featured lobster pop-tarts was some of the greatest TV of all time. “Life is not a cabaret” will be forever engrained in my mind. RHONY, in general, offers laughs and drama in a way that no other show on TV does. The women on the show have a history with each other, and they seem like they genuinely run in the same circles outside of filming. Also, there are, unfortunately, not many other places on television to see women over forty or fifty or sixty dating and talking openly about sex and relationships. Most of the women on RHONY are single, and they open up their lives for us. I would love to see more stories on TV about women their age in the scripted space, but until then we’re lucky to have The Real Housewives of New York.
MC: What shows are your looking forward to coming up and why?
DP: I’m looking forward to The Real Housewives of Dallas. The cast is still very balanced. One of the things that I find happens on these ensemble shows is that one or two Housewives become the stars, and it throws off the dynamic. New Housewives have a hard time fitting when there is one superstar. They either end up kissing that person’s ass, or shut out from the group by the star. The Dallas cast is still fairly new, so there isn’t one or two huge stars throwing off the balance. I’m also looking forward to Married to Medicine, which always delivers, and Kenya Moore’s return on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
MC: Where do you see the podcast going and how do you see your career progressing?
DP: I have some live shows coming up in September that I’m very excited about. I’ll be scheduling more dates around the country at the beginning of next year. I love making Everything Iconic, so hopefully people will continue to listen and escape for a couple hours every week. And my fingers are crossed that one day it could crossover to television. I have a list of people that I’d like to have on outside of Bravo as well, so hopefully a few of them will stop by to chat pop culture soon. Meg Ryan, Mariah Carey, and Jessica Simpson are my dream guests, but there are so many others. I’ve been listening to a lot of Brandy music today, and I was thinking about what an honor it would be to talk to her. I was obsessed with every project she did when I was a kid…everything from Cinderella to Moesha. There are a couple tiny acting parts I’ve done that should come out soon, and I would be thrilled to get to explore that avenue more. Outside of the podcast and performing, I recently optioned a feature film script that I wrote, and I have a few other scripted things I’m working on. Fancy AF Cocktails will be released December 3, and finally I’d love to do a book of my own within the next year or two.
MC: What gives you the most pride?
DP: In terms of work, I’m proud that I’ve been able to make things happen for my career on my own terms. I spent so many years trying to get the gatekeepers to hire me, and I finally decided to create my own content and opportunities. I always try my best to put out positive work and also to represent the LGBTQ+ community the best I can. I’m proud of the life I’ve built with my boyfriend, and the relationship I have with my family and my friends. I’m proud every time someone says a meme I made or a podcast I did makes them laugh. I hear from people all the time who listen during their late-night shifts as a nurse, or moms who listen in the middle of the night while they’re nursing. Life is so hard for so many people, so anytime I can bring a tiny bit of release to someone is a success.
All Art Courtesy of Danny Pellegrino
Pre-order Fancy AF Cocktails here: https://www.amazon.com/Fancy-AF-Cocktails-Professional-Drinkers/dp/0358171717
Check out Danny Pellegrino’s Everything Iconic here: https://everythingiconic.com/