Our generation’s childhood has been defined by the renowned sitcoms on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. One sitcom in particular, Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh,” was a memorable and iconic show to many. On Oct. 12, the Student Association Programming Board (SAPB) hosted “A Zoom Webinar with Josh Peck,” bringing star Josh Peck to Binghamton University students’ screens amid quarantine.
Despite being a childhood idol for many attendees, Peck was his typical hilarious and goofy self, never taking himself too seriously. He began the webinar pretending to do a grand stage entrance, while Sophia Cavalluzzi, SA vice president for programming and a senior majoring in English, and Shaye Dorsey, a senior majoring in history, cheered and clapped to fabricate the excitement Peck would have heard from an audience if the event was in person.
Peck first discussed how his year with the coronavirus pandemic has been going. He explained how having his son, Max Peck, has deepened his humanity and understanding of emotions such as happiness, love and fear more than ever before. He also laughed about how weird quarantine has been, which is relatable for everyone.
“2020 is like my teenage years when I was fat on television,” Peck said. “Not the best, slightly uncomfortable, but what came after that was an incredible butterfly that emerged.”
Peck moved on to opening up about his experience with breaking into comedy and the entertainment world. Growing up as a chubby kid, Peck explained how he used comedy as a defense mechanism. Making people laugh and performing stand-up comedy started as an outlet for him, but his talent in entertaining was eventually discovered by Nickelodeon. Additionally, Peck was happy he was an actor on the show before the time of instant stardom for Nickelodeon and Disney actors, such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. Peck simply just wanted to entertain people and make them laugh, then go home and play video games with his friends.
Although the silly questions and jokes were hilarious, Peck was eventually asked the inevitable questions about his time filming “Drake & Josh.” When asked about his favorite memory from the show, he surprisingly brought up a memory that most people would cringe at the thought of. In the episode “Two Idiots and a Baby,” Drake and Josh babysit the son of Mr. Nichols’ boss. When filming a scene where it was supposed to appear as if the baby was peeing on them through special effects, the baby actually began to pee on them. Yet, Peck remembers this moment as a fond memory of achieving his dreams of acting.
“I just remember being like, I’m getting paid right now to be funny and I’m also getting peed on,” Peck said. “And it’s been my dream to be on Nickelodeon and here we are.”
Peck also explained why he thinks “Drake & Josh” resonated with so many people. The whole idea behind the show was a mixed family — single parents newly married with two teenage boys and an evil little sister. The new step-brothers navigate sharing a room and getting along and as the show progresses, so does their relationship. The jokes in the show were sure to bring anyone to fits of laughter, but more importantly, everyone could identify and relate to different moments in “Drake & Josh.”
After “Drake & Josh,” Peck was involved in multiple acting jobs but newly emerging apps, such as Vine, grabbed his attention. Peck loved the ability Vine gave him to create videos and comedy skits on his own, but also with other content creators he began to connect with, such as David Dobrik. With acting, Peck explained there is a form of gatekeeping involved that is not there with other forms of art and entertainment. The lack of restrictions and boundaries made him fall in love with creating content for the internet.
“Being able to go directly to your audience, that’s power,” Peck said. “All of a sudden, I could create without asking for permission.”
One student submitted a question asking if Peck had any advice for students interested in going into the entertainment and arts industry. While Peck admitted the difficulties in “making it” in Hollywood, he also shared his love for young people interested in going into any form of entertainment.
“I know you engineers are pretty impressed with yourselves over there,” Peck said. “But, we love the arts.”
After laughing at his sarcastic joke, Peck advised diving into social media. He explained how social media and YouTube provide everyone with the opportunity to create content, no matter where you live or who you know in the industry. Peck encouraged the inspiring idea that anyone can be an entertainer if they just step a little outside of their comfort zone, put in the work and just dive head-on.
While the idea of creating a YouTube channel or posting TikTok videos might sound like a recipe for disaster and embarrassment, Peck advised to just go for it. He went on to explain if you always remain in your comfort zone and play it safe, how will you ever know what could have been? Peck explained if you want to grow and bring your humor or any other talent you possess to an audience, social media is the best way to do so as soon as possible.
“Just try it, because it might have to suck for a while until it’s great,” Peck said. “You might have to do badly until you’re great at it. The Rat’s closed, what else are we going to do with our time?”