By Jenny Wallace
Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Saturday, IUP invited KU students to listen to Nickelodeon star Josh Peck speak about his experience not only with his role on “Drake & Josh,” but also about his life afterward.
Our generation grew up watching “Drake & Josh,” one of the funniest, well-known, quotable and relatable shows on TV. Although the show only lasted for four seasons and ended in 2007, it is still talked about as if it never ended.
Growing up, Peck was the stereotypical chubby kid with a single mom who used comedy as a defense mechanism. This “silver lining of an unfortunate circumstance” is what led him into acting at age 9 and gave him the confidence he needed to succeed.
At age 12, Peck was cast in a film called “Snow Day,” and while he was off camera, Peck would chat, idly and unknowingly, with the president of Nickelodeon. It was this outspoken attitude and personality that led him to a role on “The Amanda Show.”
This show then led to Peck’s starring role. As Peck recalls, he and fellow actor Drake Bell started gaining the attention of Nickelodeon, all it took was one member on the set of the “Amanda Show” to point the two of them out, saying,“You see those two idiots?” The rest was history.
Peck’s favorite episode was the one where Drake, Josh and Megan lost a baby on the roof. During the diaper changing scene, the set was rigged so water would spray as if the baby peed on them. Once the director yelled “action,” the baby actually started peeing. It was then, Peck realized, that this was exactly the kind of comedy he loved.
“I think so fondly of ‘Drake & Josh’ because of the way people talk about it,” Peck said. He added that even though the show ended over 10 years ago, fans treat him like he still lives with Megan.
Recently, when Peck traveled to Vancouver to film, security took a good look at his ID, and after he walked past, one of the members of security said, “Hug me brother!”
Another moment that stood out in Peck’s life was when he was drinking coffee at 2 a.m. in Amsterdam, when someone walked up to him and bluntly said, “I know you. You’re the funny fat one.”
As far as a reboot goes, Peck said, “I don’t think it’ll ever happen…I don’t want to mess up what I think was really really special.”
Peck is friends with John Stamos, and they co-starred in “Grandfathered,” which featured a mini “Drake & Josh” reunion. Peck also guest starred on “Fuller House,” to which he added, “Have any other reboots ever been dope?”
In addition, Peck keeps in contact with former co-star Miranda Cosgrove.
“Miranda’s in my life…She’s probably in the garage of her house fostering kittens right now…She’s a gem,” Peck said, referring to Cosgrove’s status as an animal activist.
Peck also looks back on the fact he watched Cosgrove grow up and finds it funny that now she texts his wife more than him.
After “Drake and Josh,” Peck starred in “Red Dawn” with Chris Hemsworth. For the role, he trained with Navy Seals to get in shape, causing him to have a “mini emotion breakdown” every day. He calls it a “surreal experience.”
Besides the Hollywood media, Peck also grew a following on Vine, a popular site popular prior to TikTok. Although his agent and manager were against it, his girlfriend Paige (now wife) encouraged him to create an account, and his friend Romy said, “Don’t let anyone tell you what this is…it’s too new…don’t stop doing this.”
This led to Jason Nash connecting Peck with David Dobrik, a popular influencer on Youtube and avid “Drake & Josh” fan. The pair filmed a skit in two hours, as opposed to what would have taken two weeks on a movie set.
“I’m an artist and I don’t really care about the medium,” Peck said. As far as his friendship with Dobrik, he said that he had fun filming that day.
“I didn’t know he’d hit me up every day for two years, but I’m really glad he did,” Peck said.
In addition to switching mediums, Peck also switched from Nickelodeon to Disney and from chubby teenager to daddy. Not only did he lose over 100 pounds by age 20, he also became a father in 2018.
As his wife was giving birth, he remembers telling himself, “It’s baby time, I’m Josh from ‘Drake & Josh.’ Who let me have a kid?”
When Peck’s son Max was born, he recalls the doctor saying, “[the] baby’s so cute…Huge head. Wow!”
Since growing up in the spotlight, playing numerous roles, engaging in new media and starting a family, Peck had some advice to his audience: “You don’t need permission, you have a powerful enough video camera to film whatever you want to film,” as long as it makes you “feel something.”
Peck added, “There’s no need to procreate anytime soon, if you’re still into getting brunch and clubbing, that is.”
Peck encouraged everyone to take it easy, because in the age of social media, we’re all judging and comparing ourselves to celebrities instead of our neighbors or coworkers. Rather than act to impress others, we need to show up and help others, as doing good things gets us good things in return.