Back in 2016, I was chatting with David Cook during our broadcast backstage at The 58th GRAMMY Awards. That previous November I saw David headline Gramercy Theater, and hung out backstage with him and the legendary Steven Van Zandt after the show. Just a few months after, we were talking about the performance and Cook described to me why of his top 10 shows, at least half of the list is comprised of New York City dates.

“There’s just no pretense,” he explained. “If you’re bad, they’re going to let you know. And if you hit it, they’re going to let you know. I love that honesty.”

Later in the conversation, we were talking about Cook’s pending return to “American Idol,” the show that catapulted him to stardom. While he was in LA that week, Cook was taping a segment for the competition, which was in its final season on Fox. He mentioned running in to another “Idol” alum, Constantine Maroulis. So off the cuff, I asked Cook if he’d ever consider Broadway.

“They are some of the most grandiose productions, they’re amazing,” the singer said of the shows he attended. “If the opportunity came up and it was the right role, hell yeah I’d do it, for sure.”

About two years later, the opportunity came up and the role was right. Billboard broke the story on Thursday that Cook will make his Broadway debut in “Kinky Boots.” He’ll play the role of Charlie Price, the son of the factory owner who takes over his father’s business.

Cook’s run commences April 3 and goes through May 5. His new EP, “Chromance,” is out today (Friday).

Pete Holmes is out to showcase a trait of the comedy world that few outsiders ever experience: compassion.

“I think we’re seeing a little bit of the true side of comedians which is that we are, under whatever gruff exterior there is, pretty sweet people,” Holmes told me in an interview for DISH Network’s DISH Studio to promote season two of his HBO series, “Crashing,” which he co-created and stars in. Holmes quickly added, “That’s not everybody. I’m not crazy. Every group has different types.”

But through this show, which is loosely based around Holmes’ real life, he aims to demonstrate how “this unlikely community shows love in unlikely ways.”

“In my experience, people are rooting for their friends, they band together and they care about each other,” he continued. “And, if that’s not your experience and you’re watching this, maybe get new friends. I mean, that’s not bad advice.”

And ironically enough, while Holmes advises against surrounding yourself with less toxic people, the person most prevalent in his life on-camera for the first two seasons is comedian Artie Lange.

“You might have an idea of Artie, like ‘He probably just cares about himself,’ and ‘He’s just a comedian and they just care about money or success.’

“I have experienced many times in my life, with Sarah (Silverman) in real life, with Artie on the show, is that these people can open up to you. And I love sharing that secret.”

Season two of “Crashing” is currently on HBO, with new episodes airing every Sunday night.

When you ask Vance Joy about the celebrities he encountered while touring with the world’s biggest pop star, the first people he brings up are Taylor Swift’s backup dancers. Then Joy will mention the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and eventually you’ll get a funny anecdote about telling his friend’s father that he once met Julia Roberts.

That is Joy in a nutshell. He’s a tall, good-looking guy with an Australian accent that can sing and play guitar; he can effortlessly command any room he’s in. The artist has a successful album with a big hit already under his belt and he played stadiums across the country with the aforementioned Swift. Yet none of it has seemed to affect Joy much. The singer, nee James Keogh, is still a kind and unassuming person who will even on occasion (and by accident) introduce himself by his birth name.

Joy is blessed with many talents, one being the ability focus on what matters and not take the rest of it too seriously.

“The most important thing is just songwriting and dedicating a lot of time and focus to the craft,” Joy responded when I asked what he learned from his first album that he’s bringing in to “Nation Of Two,” due out February 23. “It can be hard and it can be frustrating but you have to keep pushing and the songs will eventually come.”

There are four songs out ahead of the LP, including the lead single “Lay It On Me,” which he performed acoustic for us at Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17. Joy noted that the tracks were chosen because of how they represent his body of work, with special attention given to tempo.

“I’m proud of all of the songs, but those are probably the most upbeat,” he explained. “Those are the ones I wanted to show first, and then some of the slower songs I think will sink in to people over time.”

His fans will have a chance to hear them live as well, as shortly after our chat Joy announced a massive world tour, with dates in North America kicking off April 13.

– I returned to my yoga practice. My building offers classes on Saturday morning and so I decided to not go out on Friday night, opting to work until 1:30 am. This positioned me to wake up without a hangover and with the desire to head upstairs so I could work on my tree pose and warrior two. Namaste.

– I finally visited the new Wegmans in Montvale. Oh, my, goodness. From the Burger Bar to the cookie bar to the sheer expansiveness of the store, it was worth the trip and then some. For those who don’t know, my first ever job was Front End Cashier at the Wegmans in the Town of Niagara, 17 years ago. Wow, that makes me feel old. Anyways, I stocked up on everything, including alcohol because Wegmans’ adjacent wine, beer and liquor store is equally fantastic.

– I had my second appearance of the year with 95.5 PLJ at T-Mobile in Mohegan Lake, New York. I loved visiting the northern part of Westchester County and hope to return soon; some of the mom-and-pop restaurants along the way looked like they served up some delicious food.


– I surprised my friend Ashley at a comedy show she was added to Sunday night in the East Village. I hadn’t seen her since she moved from Los Angeles almost a year ago to continue pursuing stand-up. She was fantastic and it was also pretty cool that I got to introduce her to Kelly’s – a Buffalo Bills and Sabres bar but also a Chicago Cubs and Bulls watering hole (she’s originally from Chicago and is a diehard Cubs fan).

– As for that aforementioned warm weather, it afforded me the opportunity to run outside Sunday, and I am beyond grateful for that. From the physical ability to run, to living in Manhattan where we have a plethora of amazing routes, to the fact that I didn’t have to bundle up because by the time I finished it was 60 (!) outside – it was a nice way to lead in to Sunday night and close out what was a great weekend.

I never thought this piece would end up seeing the light of day. There’s a long story as to why, and for now I will spare you, but nonetheless we have a brand new “2 Slices And A Story.” Basically I used the made-up holiday of “National Pizza Day” as an excuse to finally release this in an otherwise untimely manner; it was originally filmed back in November and features two Radio City Rockettes.

So “2 Slices And A Story” but with three people and three slices? We almost had a fix to that right from the start…

Looking for a last-second gift idea or tip for Valentine’s Day? BradsDeals.com’s Rebecca Lehmann offered up a handful on the show Friday night.

A secret is safe with Long Island’s Hoodie Allen. Just ask his friend, Ed Sheeran.

“I knew for a little bit. I had to keep my mouth shut,” Allen said regarding Sheeran’s recent engagement to longtime girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. “I did a good job too; I think I passed the test of just zipping it up and not letting anyone know.”

There was no pun intended on Hoodie’s zipper comment, nor on his adjective use when describing the couple.

“It wasn’t that much of a shock because they’re perfect together,” the emcee, born Steven Markowitz, said. “I love them both so I was really happy.”

I ran in to Allen on the red carpet of The GRAMMYs outside of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The hip-hop artist, who was there alongside girlfriend Sadie Newman, took over Bulova’s Instagram Story for the award show weekend. Bulova is the official timepiece partner of The GRAMMY Awards; it was Allen’s first time attending the event.

“Overwhelming,” he responded when I asked what he thought of spectacle that is a GRAMMYs red carpet. “I don’t know (because) if it’s just cold out or the adrenaline but yeah, this is pretty cool.”

As for what is currently on the artist’s plate, he just wrapped a world tour in December and is currently working on his next mixtape. Allen noted that he’s been bouncing between the road and the studio so there could be both new music and concert dates in store for his fans this year.

So, what happens to all of the championship merchandise printed for the team that doesn’t win the big game? That’s where Good360, a non-profit based in Virginia, steps in. The organization’s CMO, Shari Rudolph, explained its partnership with the NFL to give those shirts, sweatshirts and hats to countries outside the U.S. that need clothing. Rudolph also talked about working with MLB for its World Series and the production differences between the two leagues.

It was my first weekend without work or travel in over a month, however it was not a weekend without responsibility… or rather, “responsibility.”

My buddy Danny, one of my best friends from Pennsylvania, came in to town for his annual birthday celebration (his actual birthday was the previous Tuesday). What this weekend usually amounts to is three straight days of debauchery. This year wasn’t quite the 5 am-a-night marathon of prior years… at least for three straight nights. Danny had work early Monday.

But all bets were off Friday and Saturday. We met up with my friend Ryan at a private club downtown Friday night where we hung out until last call, then dialed up the venerable West Village dive WXOU Bar for a night cap, followed by a trip to my bodega for sandwiches and wings.

Saturday started with an excellent brunch at Westville’s Financial District location and continued with a few more Bloody Marys at Beckett’s while I screamed at the TV over the Syracuse game (they lost).

After a quick reset at my apartment, we grabbed dinner at Village Yokocho, an awesome Japanese restaurant in the East Village that also contains a speakeasy. From there we ordered a round at Tompkins Square Bar (there was a line at Niagara!) and then met friends at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1. The live set wrapped at 2 am so we walked back to Avenue A and one of my favorite watering holes, Kelly’s, for some late night wings and Blue Lights. Night cap? You bet; it happened up the street at Sophie’s. Danny was craving pizza, so we made that happen at Little Italy Pizza, which is open 24 hours.


Now Sunday started a little differently; I Uber-ed round-trip to Whole Foods to buy the ingredients for my vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip, which I then promptly cooked before hitting the road. We had tickets for the noon Knicks game (they are awful), watching it at The Garden with a round of double-shot Bloody Marys (they are fantastic).

A post shared by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


We bar-hopped a little, with a stop at my old neighborhood standby, The Dead Poet, before hailing an Uber to Ryan’s place so we could watch the Big Game and I could tweet out gems like this.


After the game, none of us could turn away from the live streams of the celebrations (or, rioting) in Philadelphia. Finally at about 1:20 am, we called it and returned downtown.


After all, it was Monday. Danny had work in the morning.

At The 60th GRAMMYs on Sunday, one of the night’s more poignant moments was delivered from a likely source: the live performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid. If you caught the trio’s rendition of the single at the MTV Video Music Awards then you knew it would be a can’t-miss part of the show. Just as memorable was Logic’s sermon that he delivered following the piece; he later revealed the Recording Academy asked him to speak there.

Still the song and its success are rather unlikely. It began when Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, noticed fans on tour and online reacting to his music and story in a way he didn’t expect: by saying it changed or saved their life. The reactions inspired Logic to head in to the studio and channel that energy in to a track that he would eventually entitle with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“I never thought in a million years thought that that song would take me (to The GRAMMYs),” Logic said at The Garden following the ceremony’s conclusion Sunday night. “I love to make fun music, all types of hip-hop and even over trap beats.

“And I always thought it was something more like that, like a more fun or clubby or happy kind of vibe that would get me on that stage. So I can’t believe that I made a song that I never thought would ever do any of that, just from a place in my heart, strictly for my fans and anybody it could reach – and the fact that it actually reached them… it’s crazy.”

The track was up for “Song Of The Year” and lost to Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” but to Logic, it didn’t seem to matter much.

“I mean, I won. That’s how I feel!” he told me and the rest of the Media Center at The Garden following his performance. “This is insane.”


Bonus: I asked Alessia Cara a few questions following her GRAMMY win for Best New Artist.