Danny Pellegrino, ’07

For Danny Pellegrino, ’07, being an author and comedian has allowed him to meld his love of storytelling with making others laugh. Whether he’s on stage, on screen, behind the mic or at his computer, Danny is following his “true North,” as he says, by celebrating the things he loves and sharing them with others.

Danny Pellegrino

When Danny Pellegrino, ’07, arrived at the Kent Campus, he was a huge fan of the entertainment industry and knew he wanted to be a storyteller. He chose to major in electronic media production, and after graduation he moved to Chicago and then Los Angeles to be a comedian. The grind of that life was grueling, but then he realized a podcast would allow him to write his own bits and perform from his home. He started “Everything Iconic” in 2017, a podcast focused on pop culture and television - and it’s led to some exciting moments. Danny has interviewed mainstays from his childhood, including Drew Barrymore and Rosie O’Donnell. In 2022, he wrote a collection of essays entitled “How Do I Unremember This?” but after several rejections he felt deflated. Some well-timed advice from Andy Cohen, however, changed his perspective. Andy told Danny the rejections didn’t matter - he just needed one yes. So Danny persisted, a publisher saw its potential and his book debuted at No. 5 on the New York Times Best Seller list. He recently released a follow-up holiday edition called “The Jolliest Bunch” and promoted it on Sherri Shepherd’s and Drew Barrymore’s talk shows. He described it as a “surreal” experience sharing stories from past family holidays while his parents were in the audience. Danny plans to continue his podcast, but he’s also focusing on writing more, whether that’s a screenplay, another essay collection or a children’s book - maybe all three! Get to know Danny in his own words.

KSU: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
DP: I love that feeling when you can't control your own laughter, there's absolutely nothing better.

KSU: What is your favorite trait in others?
DP: I like people who are loyal and supportive, and who lift up their friends whenever possible.

KSU: What trait about yourself do you like least?
DP: I can be a pushover, and people tend to take advantage of that.

KSU: Who has had the greatest influence on your life?
DP: My parents are the greatest influence in my life. My dad's work ethic and drive was such a great example for me, and my mom's sense of humor and warmth is what I always strive for.

KSU: What is your favorite Kent State memory?
DP: My brother played basketball for Kent State, so even before I went to school there, I would watch his basketball games. I was in high school the year they went to the Elite 8, and it was such an exciting time! I would go to every home game and even travel when I could. Seeing the students support the guys made me want to go to college here!

KSU: What is your favorite journey?
DP: "Faithfully." I know "Don't Stop Believing" gets more airplay, but I'm a "Faithfully" guy.

KSU: What is your guilty pleasure?
DP: I don't feel guilty about my pleasures.

KSU: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
DP: Professionally, my greatest achievement is becoming a New York Times bestselling author. My solo essay collection debuted at No. 5, and it was thrilling! I always dreamed of writing a book, so to have it not only come out but also be so well-received was a thrill!

KSU: If you could come back as one person, who would it be and why?
DP: I'd want to come back as a female pop star.

KSU: What part of your college experience most formed who you are today?
DP: I took a journalism class with Barb Hipsman during my senior year, and I remember her seeing something in my writing that I didn't even see myself. She inspired me when I needed it most, and I might not have ever published any books if it weren't for her. Great teachers are so important and often unrecognized, but I hope people like Barb know how much their work stays with students.



POSTED: Tuesday, January 30, 2024 03:01 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024 10:17 AM