Josh Peck Charms UD
BY Senior Reporter
Josh Peck, the former child-star turned adult comedian shared his experience transitioning from a young TV personality on the Nickelodeon hit show “Drake & Josh” to, most recently, father and social media guru.
Walking onto the stage in Trabant on Sept 7. after a brief introduction by student organizer Matthew Marsilli, Peck surmised his knowledge of Delaware to the tune of resounding applause.
“First state,” Peck says, “Second Smallest! Blue Hens! This is Joe Biden’s friggin’ home state, you guys aren’t messing around!”
The conversation-based performance, with moderator and university event coordinator Eric Spence, lead to short stories and anecdotes from both personalities, though the majority of the night honed in on Peck, with Spence directing questions directly towards his guest.
“We know a lot about you Josh, but most recently, you became a dad,” Spence says.
“I procreated,” Peck says. “Making babies is super fun.”
Peck went on to tell stories of his son, Max, including an incident in which the doctors had interesting news for the new parents on their last night in the hospital.
“A doctor and two nurses come into the room,” Peck says. “The doctor goes ‘Okay. So no big deal but. Max was pooping. And he was really pushing. And he kind of stopped breathing for like two seconds. But then he caught his breath and he was fine! Just wanted to let mom and dad know.’”
Stories such as these populated the show. In explaining why he got into comedy at such a young age, Peck explained much of it had to do with his weight.
“Well I was chubby,” Peck says, “And like, you don’t want to be the sad chubby kid, you don’t want to be like ‘I’m starving and life is mean.’ I think comedy, just in my life, became this great asset because I could sort of make fun myself before other people made fun of me or kind of distract and use it as a currency. I saw early on that comedy was valuable.”
Peck is known primarily for his work on Nickelodeon, but his list of film credits include action movies such as Red Dawn, a few key dramas including Locating Silver Lake and Battle of the Year. Peck explained to the audience that he actively sought out new experiences during his time on Drake and Josh.
“In the time we had off in between the show, I would try so hard to do anything that was a bit outside of my comfort zone,” Peck says. “And then I would go back to doing something like Drake & Josh and get to reach that part of me that loves being goofy and sort of at a ten.”
Peck’s traditional film and TV journey ultimately lead him towards exploring a new type of media- social media. Peck’s Youtube channel has over three million subscribers, with one of his videos getting 11 million views. In a pre-show interview, Peck revealed that his secret to creating successful content lies in staying true to himself.
“It sounds overly simplistic,” Peck says. “But it has to make you laugh. Like, it makes me laugh or it makes me think about something. You have to be the arbiter of what you find interesting…. I find that sometimes, where I felt like an idea was super topical or relevant or very in right now, is usually when I fall on my face. And when I do something that genuinely makes me laugh, I’ll see a great reaction.”
For Peck, part of the draw to Youtube and other social media platforms over the traditional TV industry is the flexibility it allows him.
“I really get to set my own hours and you’re sort of rewarded for how much productivity you have but you also don’t have anyone breathing down your neck if you want to take the day off,” Peck says. “So it’s been a perfect sort of balance, with having my son and being married, to kind of give that my focus for now.”
Peck encouraged the audience to utilize social media if they too wish to create content or explore the digital world, eliciting a resounding response of applause from the audience.
“It’s a special time,” Peck says. “It’s really like a renaissance, it’s not the way it used to be. You don’t have to be in L.A. or New York or have an agent to be discovered. Literally, upload something that makes you laugh or makes you cry or anything in between, as long as it makes you feel something and you think it’s smart and enjoyable and catches your interest. And if you do that, it’ll find an audience. And I think that’s just, we’re at a really exciting time.”