Former “Drake and Josh” star presents comedy panel with SAB
Bethany Hall filled with laughter and cheering as Josh Peck presented a comedy lecture with the Student Activities Board (SAB) on March 2.
Peck, who is known for his role in Nickelodeon’s “Drake and Josh,” bounced across the stage and referenced many of Seton Hall’s trademark people, traditions and oddities.
“I was just hanging out with Father John earlier,” Peck joked after he was introduced. “He was awesome. He came up to me and he was like ‘What’s up? Father John, cool priest.’ And I was like, ‘Cool. Do I salute you? I’m Jewish.’”
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The crowd of more than 900 students erupted with laughter as Peck uncomfortably waved his arm up and down, pretending to shake hands.
The Seton Hall references, however, didn’t stop there. “I walked on to campus, I like, glided across the seal,” Peck said. “Y’all are superstitious!
That’s crazy. That’s alright, I made out with the Pirate boot.”
Catherine Rubens, a junior psychology major, said that this was her favorite part of Peck’s visit. “He knew so much about Seton Hall,” Rubens said. “I thought that was really cool and it was really personable. And it made me feel like he’s not just a celebrity, you know? He gets it.”
When asked about one piece of advice he would give college students in an interview with The Setonian, Peck said, “Don’t walk over the seal.”
He then transitioned to a more serious note and advised students on how to handle the kind of pressure of college life.
“It’s already working out, whether you know it or not,” he said. “And I think there’s a lot of pressure that the world puts on us and that we put on ourselves. The reality is you’re doing great right in this moment and if you’re living and just slowly growing every day and learning from your mistakes and your challenges and imparting that new information into your endeavors, I think that’s great. Take it easy on yourself, is my advice.”
The evening was filled with similar conversations, ranging from light-hearted to serious, and had everything from comedy bits to advice for college students.
Apart from the Seton Hall references, Peck started the show by speaking about his newborn son, Max Milo, his wife, Paige O’Brien Peck, and his transition into fatherhood.
He then explained how the immediacy of social media has been wildly different than his career in TV and movies, where the finished product can take months or even years to reach people.
“What was exciting for me with social media was the immediacy of it,” Peck said. “I literally posted this video from my car on Vine, and all of a sudden, you guys reacted. And I never felt that power before being able to go straight to you.”
He then went on to talk about his vlogs on YouTube, in which he partners with celebrities like David Dobrik and Liza Koshy.
“When I initially started vlogging, I was trying to do like Casey Neistat style,” Peck joked, followed by cheers from the crowd.
Ciara Aliparo, a senior social and behavioral sciences major, was noticed by Peck. “I kind of just said something in my mind a little too loud, so the fact that he recognized it at all was really unexpected,” Aliparo said. “He asked me to shake his hand, and made the joke like, ‘Well now that we’ve shaken hands, you’re no longer my stalker. We could be pals.’”
Later in his set, he talked about how YouTube is one of the various methods he uses to connect with his audiences.
“What has been really lucky for me throughout my career is that I love being able to connect with an audience,” Peck said. “I think that’s why I’ve so willingly and happily gone to other mediums like YouTube, and Vine, and social [media]. I don’t put any weight in the way that it’s delivered… if it makes you happy, then great.”
Peck carried this idea over to the question and answer portion of the night, and explained how his love for creating led him to many titles and mediums.
“It’s easy when you’re young, especially to be like ‘I’m this,’ or ‘I’m one specific thing’, and I used to scoff at the idea of being an artist because it just sounded corny,” Peck said. “But now I’ve really sort of grown comfortable with that sort of title for myself because it’s like, I just want to create. And I don’t care about the medium. I just want to make dope things and share them with an audience.”
Peck also said that failing in college is a part of the experience of finding oneself, especially for people majoring in the arts. He compared college to a gymnasium where students should try out everything they think is right and wrong for them.
“You’ll never get a chance like you will right now, to really fall on your face, but in doing so, find out and get really close to what’s right,” Peck said. “This is a great time. Embrace it.”
During the entirety of his set, Peck also spoke about his childhood and varied career, from his early roles like “Snow Day” and his “Drake and Josh” fame to movies like “Red Dawn” and his podcast “Curious with Josh Peck.”
Joe Fox, a junior public relations major, said, “My favorite part was when Josh talked about the different experiences he had in show business, from ‘Drake and Josh’ to ‘Red Dawn.’ I thought that was probably the most interesting.”
In between making Drake and Josh references and even an impersonation of his character’s favorite TV personality, Oprah, Peck spoke about how the show has lived on and has followed him.
Peck said how even a Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) agent sent him off with a “Pip pip doodly doo,” in reference to one of the most iconic lines in Drake and Josh.
He added that he felt excited when former President Barack Obama mentioned his show in a speech once, but put his character first in the title, calling it “Josh and Drake.”
“It’s incredible to see the effect it’s had on people, and I feel really lucky for that,” Peck said during his set.
Rubens said that her favorite part of the show was all the Drake and Josh references.
“I was really hoping he would at least make one and he made quite a couple so that was just really exciting to be able to witness that in person,” Rubens said. “I’m a huge fan of ‘Drake and Josh’ and just all the other projects that he does on YouTube and stuff, with the vlog squad and David Dobrik, so it was cool to see him in person because he’s somebody that I love.”
Fox also agreed and said,“I’m a big ‘Drake and Josh’ fan, so I thought it was really cool to be able to come on campus and see somebody who I kind of grew up watching.”
Peck told The Setonian that this connection with the college age group is why he travels and visits colleges and universities.
“I’ve found that I’ve hit this interesting sweet spot where many of the college audiences are people who grew up with me,” Peck said. “I feel as though it’s a great way for me to come in and paint for them this sort of tableau of what my life has been, and the challenges, and also the big wins.
“Also, give them a fun insight in ways that they wouldn’t normally get if they were just watching me on screen. And I mean, to come to Northern New Jersey? I mean, Seton Hall. C’mon.”
Alyssa Schirm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.