Jake’s Take: Top 12 Moments from 2016

In one day, 2016 concludes!

2016 has been an incredible year for me, and these are some of my many highlights:

Gwen Stefani made her Kansas City debut, and she did not disappoint! (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

#12: Gwen Stefani’s This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour

One of my favorite concerts that I went to Gwen Stefani’s This is What the Truth Feels Like Tour. After stops in Virginia Beach, West Palm Beach, Tampa, Raleigh, Toronto, and Cincinnati, The Voice coach and longtime friend, Eve, visited Kansas City’s Sprint Center on August 12, 2016. In addition to exchanging eye contact during a song, Gwen performed a bulk of her songbook including “Baby Don’t Lie,” “What You Waiting For,” “Hella Good,” “Hollaback Girl,” and two tracks with Eve: “Let Me Blow Your Mind” and “Rich Girl.”  Gwen sang all her tunes and delivered a fantastic show that made people smile.

#11: My second interview with Dolly Parton

I was truly honored when I talked to the Queen of Country Music, Dolly Parton, for the second time in my career.  Even though I only spend a few moments with her on the phone, Ms. Parton made me feel like an old friend and hearing her talk to me felt like I was on Cloud Nine.

#10: Revisiting the 1980s with Cyndi, Duran Duran & Nile Rodgers

Two legendary acts visited Kansas City this year! Duran Duran, one of the best pop-rock bands in the world, and Emmy, Grammy, and Tony-winning singer Cyndi Lauper were two of my favorite highlights of Summer 2016. Duran Duran and Nile Rodgers kicked off my summer with a spectacular performance at the Starlight Theatre.  After interviewing Cyndi and talking about her country covers album, “Detour,” in June, I had high expectations for her show, and she surely did not disappoint! The Uptown Theatre roared with delight when Cyndi performed in September. Seeing these three music icons rock Kansas City to the core made me smile the most.

Paul Rudd had a special moment with a Children’s Mercy Hospital patient. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

#9: Covering the Big Slick

Six years ago, Kansas City natives Paul Rudd, Rob Riggle, and Jason Sudeikis created an event that brought Hollywood to Kansas City for a massive fundraiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital. Over the past few events, the trio invited past participants, David Koechner and Eric Stonestreet, to become co-hosts. This year was the first time that I covered this event, and was blessed to see the celebrities interact with the kids and to interact with them over the weekend.  I hope to work with this fantastic crew again in 2017.

#8: A Dance Off with Wendy Williams

Wendy Williams is one of my favorite talk show hosts of all-time! I had met the Hot Topics and “How Ya Doin’?” television personality in person last year in 2015 when Wendy came to town on her own Sit Down Tour.  After meeting her, I became determined to be in the studio audience.  During the first week of October, my wish was granted, and I was amongst the 270 audience members jumping up and down during a live taping of the Wendy Williams Show. Despite being on the first seat of the final row, I was determined to have an excellent time. I showed off my dancing skills during a commercial break, and my dancing caught the attention of Wendy’s audience coordinator; her Executive Producer Suzanne Bass and finally, Wendy herself! It was great to “dance” with her for nearly a minute, and I think the audience loved it. I hope to visit the show again soon.

#7: “I Grew Two Inches” at The View

The View celebrated a huge milestone this year as it turned 20-years-old. I have watched the ABC talk show off and on for 11 years, and while I was in New York in October, I was very fortunate to sit in The View audience for the second time in two years. While I enjoyed the show and that day’s guest (Kelly Clarkson), I loved the audience’s Q&A segment with the co-hosts.  I was very fortunate to ask a question at the taping and my question was: “How has The View helped you grow as an interviewer?” Just before Whoopi opened her mouth, Joy Behar just simply stated: “I grew two inches.”  The whole studio audience exploded in laughter, and Whoopi said: “Well, that sums it up.” Thank you, Joy & Whoopi, for making my trip to the Big Apple a much more exciting one.


Jeff Dye is one of the most talented comedians of my generation. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

#6: Jeff Dye visits Kansas City

It is very rare when I meet my interview subject in person, but when they are in the Kansas City area, I make it my mission to see them. One of my favorite people that I got to meet this year is comedian Jeff Dye. He is one of the few comedians from my generation that makes me laugh until I nearly pee in my pants and he exactly did that when he visited Kansas City’s Improv in the spring.  After his appearance in Kansas City, NBC released Jeff’s road trip series: Better Late Than Never, dueled Rob Riggle on Lip Sync Battle and became the host of That Awkward Game Show. I cannot wait to see what Jeff has in store for us in 2017.


When Jacob met Drew Manning (fit2fat2fit)

Finally meeting my friend fit2fat2fit creator & fitness entrepreneur Drew Manning was one of my highlights of 2016. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

#5: Jake & Drew Manning finally meet!

One of my favorite guests on the blog is fitness entrepreneur and fit2fat2fit creator Drew Manning! Drew has appeared on Jake’s Take six different times throughout the blog’s five years, and I am very grateful to call him both a friend and a fitness mentor. When Drew told me that he would be speaking at Williams Woods University in January, I braved the cold and drove 170 miles to see my friend in action. Drew shared his story with the students and even teased his latest venture with them. After the lecture, Drew and I were finally able to talk face-to-face, and it will be one memory that I will always remember from 2016.

#4: The Boss visits Kansas City

My father, Matthew Elyachar, is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan. He has seen him countless times over the years, but not with me or my brother, Aaron.  For his early Father’s Day/birthday gift, my mom, Gloria, Aaron, and I treated him to The River Tour’s stop at Sprint Center. It was unbelievable to see the Boss in action and he delivered one of the best performances in Sprint Center history. While it was a joy watching Springsteen and the mighty E Street Band perform the entire River album and some of their major hits, seeing my father relieve his “Glory Days” made my night.


“Some people wait a lifetime for “A Moment Like This.” But I was incredibly grateful to be at one of the final “American Idol” shows from CBS Television City. (Photo property of Jacob Elyachar)

#3: Interviewing the American Idol XV Final Five

American Idol was a part of my life since I was an eighth-grade student attending Oxford Middle School. When I started blogging, I made it my mission to one day to visit Los Angeles and cover an episode of the FOX singing competition. After sending a passionate e-mail to the public relations team, I cut through the red tape and learned that I would be covering one of Idol’s final shows at CBS Television City.  While I got a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest on the way in and caught choreographer Beau Smart backstage, the best part of the experience was getting to meet Idol’s Final Five and ask them the questions I have been waiting to ask since their respective first auditions that season.  I hope that Idol returns in a few years because I truly believe that there are still undiscovered gems that are across the country waiting for the chance to shine.


Simon Cowell AGT

Shaking hands with Simon Cowell was one of my favorite moments of 2016. (Screen capture property of Gloria Elyachar)

#2: AGT visits KC & the Judges’ Auditions

As a longtime fan of America’s Got Talent (AGT), I was ecstatic when they brought their Producer Auditions to Kansas City. It was a pure joy to be able to cover the Producer Auditions and interview AGT Executive Producer Jason Raif, who exclusively revealed that the Golden Buzzer would be back for Season 11. I had the chance to see a Golden Buzzer audition in Los Angeles when I got to see Mel B hit it for Laura Bretan. Also, I also saw Linkin’ Bridge audition and finally got to shake hands with one of my heroes: Simon Cowell!


Meeting Stan Lee at Planet Comicon

It was a true privilege meeting one of my heroes, the one & only Stan Lee, at Planet Comicon. If you are at the SDCC, go to his panel, you won’t be disappointed! (Photo property of Epic Photo Ops)

#1: Meeting Stan Lee

Stan Lee is one of the most influential men in the comic book industry. He spent his life crafting the best stories with unforgettable heroes (the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, and the X-Men to name a few), diabolical villains (Doctor Doom, Doc Ock, Green Goblin, and Magneto) and helped transform Marvel Comics into what it is today. Earlier this year, Stan Lee traveled to Kansas City and appeared at Planet Comicon. I was amongst the hundreds of fans who had the opportunity to meet the iconic creator, and it meant the world to me that he was one of the people that inspired me to write.  I will never forget meeting Mr. Lee for the rest of my life.



Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar