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Friday, October 27, 2017

Memes Without the Mean

Written by  Frankie Kujawa

Comedian, writer, and creator Danny Pellegrino may not be a household name – yet – but chances are you’ve seen his work. With close to 41,000 Instagram followers, ranging from “Real Housewives” stars to Hollywood elite, the memester is best known for his hilarious memes on Instagram (@DannyPellegrino).

“It’s very gay- and female-friendly,” Pellegrino explained exclusively to Baltimore OUTloud. “A lot of my memes focus on female celebrities. So, I do dive into actresses over a certain age, as well as reality TV. I found that people tend to relate to these different ‘Real Housewives’ and these older pop divas. Most of my content is exclusively female for my memes and such. I don’t do many male celebrities. It’s very female- and gay-centric and I just like to have fun with it. I decided to do what I like and, whether it’s a movie or TV show, my memes tend to lean into what I enjoy. I find that a lot of other people tend to like the same things, so it’s been fun to connect with people. A lot of followers will message me that, hey, like something and we will write messages back and forth. It’s been wonderful.”

Pellegrino’s source of inspiration has afforded him an endless supply of ideas for his postings. “I find inspiration in pop culture, specifically women in pop culture. I’m such a pop culture junkie, so I try to watch, read and listen to as much pop culture as I can.”

Born in Ohio, Pellegrino eventually moved to Chicago to hone in on his comedic roots. He took classes with the famed Second City comedic troupe and the iO Theater improv. “I then moved to Los Angeles, where I was writing and performing,” Pellegrino explained. “I eventually segued into writing exclusively. I actually just co-wrote my first book with Bob Harper.” Pellegrino’s book, with personal trainer Harper of NBC’s The Biggest Loser fame, is entitled “The Super Carb Diet” and will hit bookstores on December 26th.

Having experienced some obstacles along the way, Pellegrino never imagined to have the following he’s enjoying now. “I was always a writer and performer of comedy. I’ve had some career setbacks. To be honest, I’d gone through some depression finding my voice again. As I posted on Instagram, people started coming up me saying ‘Oh, your Instagram is really funny.’ So, I started using that as my creative outlet. It was such a small step for me to get out there. I would post one little joke on my Instagram page one day, then another the next. Then, it slowly started to grow and I really started to lean into it, and I saw what people liked and responded to. A lot of opportunities have come from that. Little writing gigs would come up, and my Instagram page sort of became my calling card for when I would go into meetings for writing or performing. I could tell people to check out my Instagram page and they could get an idea of my sensibilities.”

With the popularity of his Instagram page soaring, Pellegrino decided it would be time to launch his own podcast, as well. “Everything Iconic with @DannyPellegrino” has already become a phenomenon. “It’s definitely my own take on pop culture. Sometimes it’s going to be interviews with celebrities that I have access to, and sometimes it’s me reacapping shows and music that I like. I’m still learning the direction of it because I just launched it not that long ago. The first few episodes are up and I’m getting feedback right now. It’s definitely going to be an extension of my Instagram.”

As the subject turned to the celebrities, Pellegrino shared his dream guest that he would love to have on his podcast. “My number one would be Mariah Carey. I’m very close to having someone, not her but someone on her team, to come and do a whole Mariah Carey-themed episode. I also love a celebrity that’s just a little past their time. I would love to have Laurie Metcalfe of Blythe Danner come on. Any of the pop divas, or people they have worked with, are welcome to come on at any time,” Pellegrino laughed. “I’ll take any ‘Real Housewife’ that wants to come on it.”

Be sure to check out Danny’s social media pages:
Instagram: @DannyPellegrino
Twitter: @Danny Pellegrino
Website: Dannypellegrino.com
Podcast: “Everything Iconic with @DannyPellegrino

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