Josh Peck Discusses ‘Drake And Josh’ & Shares Life Advice In Virtual Lecture

Before coming to Penn State, I could’ve never imagined getting to relive parts of my childhood through the events that have come to Penn State.

Seeing the Jonas Brothers perform, and now, getting to watch a virtual lecture from “Drake and Josh” star Josh Peck, have been surreal experiences that didn’t disappoint.

Peck spoke to Penn State students about his career and shared life advice in a virtual lecture Monday night. Penn State senior Josh Starr moderated the SPA event.

Peck and Starr opened the virtual lecture by bonding over their names and Jewish upbringings. During this, he revealed that his last name is actually Peckerman, but thanks to his uncle persuading his mom, his last name got shortened to Peck.

He continued by talking about how he’s currently been living in Vancouver for the last few months with his wife and son while shooting a TV series version of “Turner & Hooch.” The DisneyPlus series is a spinoff of the 1989 film, which starred Tom Hanks.

Peck shared about he has been #blessed to meet both Hanks and Justin Bieber. When he met Bieber, who mentioned he was a fan of “Drake and Josh,” they traded phone numbers. But, unfortunately, Peck hasn’t heard from Bieber since.

“Justin Bieber did ask for my number — and I gave it to him — and it’s been four years. I have not yet heard back,'” Peck said.

Peck poked fun at him being the “chubby kid” but also noted that that came with the stereotypes of actors who looked like him were relegated to being the “best friend” or “the bully.” But Peck felt that “Drake and Josh” broke away from these one-dimensional archetypes.

“They did a beautiful job, I thought, of balancing Drake and [me]. I was heavier and kind of nerdy but super smart and always level-headed. And Drake was cool and musical but kind of dumb,” Peck said. “So it was even and they wouldn’t do the low-hanging fruit of an easy fat joke with me. I thought that, really to their credit, elevated the show.”

Peck got into stand-up comedy around age 10, saying he never wanted to be the “sad, chubby kid.” He performed on Conan O’Brien’s show and would audition for everything that came up for Nickelodeon.

“I just knew from a really young age that it would be imperative for me to make the joke first,” Peck said, “you know, to draw attention away from maybe me and feeling insecure and to become the center of attention in the room in a way that I could control it.”

His first movie was “Snow Day” when he was 12 years old, which is also where he made the then-president of Nickelodeon, Albie Hecht, laugh. This interaction made an impression on Hecht, who later invited Peck to be on “The Amanda Show.”

Peck said that he’s still surprised how the show has still remained prevalent even after it ended nearly 13 years ago. He’s had a few interactions where people have referenced the show, including one time where he was at a TSA check where the security guard yelled “pip-pip a doodly doo” to him.

A few of Peck’s favorite moments from “Drake and Josh” include the “Two Idiots and a Baby” episode from the first season where he and co-star Drake Bell babysat their TV dad’s boss’ son. And of course, another one of his favorite memories from the show is anything involving Crazy Steve, played by Jerry Trainor.

Peck also talked about the creative freedom he feels he has by getting to create content for his YouTube channel, which he described as the natural next step following his experience as a Vine star.

“What was so refreshing was for years before and after, I’d been a little bit at the mercy of this huge machine of business, right, where it’s like you have to convince the casting director and producers and director and all these people to put you in a role,” Peck said. “Whatever corny, silly shit I’m doing, I don’t need permission to do it anymore.”

Starr asked Peck what advice his 34-year-old self would give to his 14-year-old self. Simply put, Peck said that he would tell himself and others to “take it easy.”

“Be easy with yourself. Don’t feel the need to just come out of the gate 1000 miles per hour,” Peck said. “Take your time and it’s going to be awesome.”

Peck closed out the night by answering Starr’s final question: What would he do if COVID-19 ended tomorrow? His response: meet Oprah, lick a park bench, hug his mom, and go to the Creamery and get everyone some free samples.

“I roll like that I’m on DisneyPlus.”

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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