Josh Peck

At 6 p.m. on Monday, Penn State’s Student Programming Association hosted a virtual lecture with actor and social media influencer Josh Peck.

The lecture, sponsored by the Jewish student organization Hillel, was free for any interested students.

Peck is best known for playing Josh Nichols in the Nickelodeon sitcom “Drake and Josh” — he received a 2008 Kids Choice nomination for the role, according to SPA.

Since the show ended in 2007, he has continued to pursue a successful acting career, which student Josh Starr, the moderator of the event, discussed with Peck.

Over the past decade, Peck has acted in numerous films and television programs, including the indie film “Locating Silver Lake,” Netflix’s “Take the 10” and Fox’s series “Grandfathered.”

Peck said he is currently working on a remake of Tom Hanks’ 1989 film “Turner & Hooch” for Disney Plus.

“You get to live a hundred different lives as an actor,” Peck said.

Peck also discussed feeling self-conscious about his weight throughout his teenage years and his early acting career.

“We all have something that we were insecure about growing up,” Peck said. “I was fat from 11-19… If I was a normal kid, I would have just burned all my yearbooks and sworn my family to secrecy. But my awkward teenage years are in reruns, and that’s cool!”

Peck said he learned to accept and embrace himself with time.

“I have only really embraced it over the last few years that growth is beautiful and [a] part of life,” Peck said. “If you're not growing, you're probably not moving into a good direction.”

In addition to discussing his acting career, Starr and Peck bonded over their shared Jewish faith and heritage, including holidays such as Passover as well as their favorite Jewish foods.

Peck also talked about raising his son Max in a multi-faith household with his Catholic wife.

“[People ask us] whether he will be bar mitzvahed or baptized or confirmed,” Peck said. “I think he’s just going to be our son. I don’t want to dictate it for him. I just want him to be a good person.”

Toward the end of the event, Peck gave advice to college students nearing graduation.

“Take it easy. Every day, do something positive for yourself, grow a little bit and enjoy your life,” Peck said. “Don't feel the need to come out of the gate a thousand miles per hour. Take your time. It’s going to be awesome.”

Starr ended the interview by asking Peck what he would do if the coronavirus pandemic were to end today.

“I would meet Oprah,” Peck said with a laugh. “And I would hug my mom.”

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