The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

‘Hug me brotha’: ‘Drake & Josh’ star Josh Peck welcomed with open arms as Senior Speaker

Josh+Peck+spoke+to+students+about+his+experiences+in+the+entertainment+business%2C+social+media+and+finding+his+own+happiness.+%28Photo+by+Emma+Sylvester+25%29
Josh Peck spoke to students about his experiences in the entertainment business, social media and finding his own happiness. (Photo by Emma Sylvester ’25)

When asked how his visit to Lafayette had been going so far, 2022 Senior Speaker Josh Peck fit in with the Leopards immediately. “I’ll probably end up at Milo’s,” he joked to the crowd of hundreds of students gathered in Colton Chapel.

Peck, a childhood actor turned social media star, recently published a memoir titled “Happy People are Annoying,” which students were able to buy and get signed at the bookstore after the talk.

Peck drew a crowd of over 600 Lafayette students to his discussion of mental health, his experience as a child star and his role as Josh in Nickelodeon’s TV series “Drake & Josh.” LAF Co-Presidents Sabrina Sicilia ’22 and Emilie Biolsi ’22 moderated the talk.

Sicilia began by asking Peck how he got into acting. Peck said he realized that “it pays to be the funny, chubby kid.” Because he was overweight, he knew that people were going to talk about him, so acting became his way of controlling the conversation and making fun of himself before others ever could.

Peck recalled that he started performing stand up comedy at 10 years old, when clubs would have to sneak him in to perform in order to not lose their liquor license.

Biolsi transitioned to asking Peck about his experience working for Nickelodeon. 

Peck explained how he moved from working in advertisements to working on shows including “Drake & Josh.” He said that his quick stardom posed benefits and challenges, as he was living his dream but at the same time felt deeply insecure due to his weight. 

However, Peck said that the legacy and continual love he receives for “Drake & Josh” is one of his favorite things, and he frequently thinks back on memories of TSA agents, families and even President Obama recognizing him for the show. 

“What’s really special is the way this show lives on,” Peck said.

When asked if he would allow his son to go into acting, he said that his son is going to have a very different childhood than the one he had, so it would have to be more carefully considered.

“My experience was pretty specific,” Peck said about being a childhood star. Being an only child with a single mom, Peck said that he had a lot more flexibility to move to a job without “having to worry about algebra.”

Peck then spoke about his more recent career, saying that he never would have expected his social media presence to gain such a large following. He said that for a while he tried to reject his past as the “big funny actor” and push away his origin story, but once he accepted and learned to love his past, he started to realize what options he had for the future.

“It was embracing my past and also moving past it that allowed me to define what happiness means for me,” Peck said.

Peck said that his favorite part about YouTube is being able to go straight to the audience without the barriers of agents, producers or directors. He said that he found power in this ability and eventually found his footing in the online realm.

Sicilia asked Peck why he chose to write a memoir at such a young age. Peck explained that he felt that most memoirs are from people that have already succeeded and jumped over every hurdle. He wanted to write one that gave advice “from three steps ahead, not from the finish line.”

“What I wanted to do was write something from the halfway point,” Peck said.

Peck concluded the talk by giving advice to the graduating class.

“The good news is, it’s all going to work out,” Peck said. “Just not on your timetable.”

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Emma Chen, Managing Editor
Emma has very strong opinions about crust, has never eaten a blueberry, and is a staunch hater of AP style.

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