Josh Peck, known mainly for his social media presence and leading role on Nickelodeon’s “Drake and Josh”, visited SRU on Friday to talk about his life and career.
The event was part of SRUPB’s speaker series and was held in the Morrow Field House. SRU theatre instructor Deanna Brookens spoke with Peck, asking prepared questions and selected student questions that were chosen by UPB before the event.
Peck said that his whole life was based around acting, with his career starting with stand up routines at comedy clubs at nine years old.
“I was too chubby for little league,” Peck said. “I was not a natural athlete. I started doing comedy in New York and it’s sort of what got me into acting and eventually what led me to work for Nickelodeon and doing everything in my life so I feel really grateful for it.”
Peck thanked his mom Barbara for his success, saying that she constantly supported him throughout his career and kept him grounded, providing reality checks. Peck said he is always in contact with his mom, who will call him before shows to help out with nervousness and always ask him what he orders from room service in hotel rooms.
“My mom’s a single mom and she’s a total comedian and performer but she never really had the support growing up,” Peck said. “When she saw that I sort of took a shine to it and I wanted to be a performer she sort of gave me all the support she never had. I was really lucky to have her behind me.”
When it came to “Drake and Josh”, Peck recalled getting the part through filming the movie “Snow Day”, where he was encouraged by his mom to say that he loved the television show “All That”, which led him to be called out to Los Angeles to be on “The Amanda Show”. Nickelodeon was looking for a new buddy comedy, and Peck said that he and fellow actor Drake Bell, who met on “The Amanda Show” were chosen for it after a skit in which they fought over a large shrimp. A year later and Peck was making “Drake and Josh”.
“It’s just crazy to see how it’s withstood the test of time,” Peck said. “When we were making it we were just kind of punks. We were these kids on this show, just any regular kids.”
Peck said he still gets noticed at airports and in public for the role and was noticed in Slippery Rock before the event.
The actor also recalled meeting his wife, Paige O’Brien, whom he married in 2017.
“It’s dope,” Peck said. “I thrive in the institution. Big fan overall, it’s great. If I was out there right now at 31 and single this sh*t would be weird.”
Peck lamented the loss of the now-defunct Vine, saying it was a crazy thing that he misses, the six-second nature of the platform making it unique for comedy.
“There’s something so special about the idea of six seconds, having to have a comedy economy,” Peck said. “You had time for a setup and a punchline.”
Peck said that new platforms like YouTube and Vine allow for anyone to be a star, and he encouraged those in attendance to make the content that they wanted.
“When you make stuff that makes you laugh or cry, if you upload it and create a channel it’ll find an audience. I promise you that,” Peck said. “What’s exciting about that is the power is in your hand for the first time.”
Peck also spoke about expectations in life and meeting them, saying that after college many are in a rush and feel that they have to perform and be successful.
“I would say just let it happen, let off the gas and believe in your preparation,” Peck said. “It will all reveal itself. Find something you love and fall in love with the process of doing it.”