Josh Peck: Be More Resilient | E178
Josh Peck: Be More Resilient | E178
Josh Peck rose to fame when he was a teenager starring in Nickelodeon’s hit show Drake & Josh. Despite living his dream of being an actor, Josh struggled with low confidence that took over his life, which ultimately manifested in a struggle with body image and sobriety. What Josh learned about himself in his darkest moments led him to launch a flourishing career as an actor in TV and movies and an incredible following on social media. Today, Josh is not only an actor and social media sensation, but also a podcaster and the author of the new memoir Happy People Are Annoying. Josh’s story is one of growth, passion, and acceptance. In this episode, Hala and Josh chat about Josh’s love for acting and humor, how Josh launched his career as an actor and his experience on Drake & Josh, how getting typecast affected his career, pivoting from TV to movies to social media, Josh’s struggle with body issues and sobriety, and what his career journey taught him about achieving happiness.
– On the title of his book, Happy People Are Annoying
– How did Josh first get interested in performing?
– How did he start to learn about humor?
– How he overcame the doubters
– The story of telling the president of nickelodeon he wanted to be on All That
– Experience on Drake & Josh
– The relationship between humor and insecurity
– Pivoting after Drake & Josh ended
– Staring in the movie the Wackness
– How getting typecast affected his career
– Losing weight
– Josh’s experience with drugs and when he realized he needed to get sober
– What his career journey taught him about achieving happiness
– Dealing with the letdowns and criticism
– Starting his social media journey and how he gained millions of followers
– What is next for Josh
– Josh’s actionable advice
– Josh’s secret to profiting in life
– And other topics…
Josh Peck is an American actor, comedian, and YouTuber. He began his career as a child actor in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and had an early role on The Amanda Show. Josh became famous for his role in the Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh from 2004 to 2007, and in its two television films in 2006 and 2008.
Josh also acted in films including Mean Creek (2004), Drillbit Taylor (2008), The Wackness (2008), ATM (2012), Red Dawn (2012), Battle of the Year (2013), Danny Collins (2015), and more. He played the main role in the Disney+ original series Turner & Hooch, and Hulu Original How I Met Your Father (2022). In 2017, Peck started a comedic lifestyle YouTube channel, Shua Vlogs. Josh is the author of Happy People Are Annoying.
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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: You are listening to YAP, Young and Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit. Welcome to the show. I'm your host, Hala Taha, and on Young and Profiting podcast. We investigate a new topic each week, an interview some of the brightest minds in the world. My goal is to turn their wisdom into actionable advice that you can use in your everyday life, no matter your profession or industry. There's no fluff on this podcast, and that's on purpose. I'm here to uncover value from my guests by doing the proper research and asking the right questions. If you're new to the show, we've chatted with the likes of Ex-FBI agents, real estate moguls, self-made billionaires, CEOs, and bestselling authors.
[00:00:48] Our subject matter ranges from enhancing productivity, how to gain influence, the art of entrepreneurship and more. If you're. And like to continually improve yourself, hit the subscribe [00:01:00] button because you'll love it. Here at Young and Profiting Podcast. This week on YAP. We're talking to one of the most recognizable faces of the millennial generation YouTuber and Television star, Josh Peck.
[00:01:13] If you're not familiar with Josh, he's most well known for starring and hit Nickelodeon shows like Drake and Josh and the Amanda Show. These roles catapulted Josh to starring in a string of hit television shows and movies, including Red Dawn, The Wackness, the Disney Plus original series, Turner and Hooch, and most recently the Hulu original, How I Met Your Father and the iCarly Reboot on Paramount Plus.
[00:01:36] Today Josh has one of the biggest dedicated fan bases on the internet with over 13 million followers on Instagram alone. He's also a podcaster who hosts The Curious with Josh Peck podcast and author of the new memoir, Happy People Are Annoying, which has been very well received. In this episode, Josh and I have an honest conversation about the relationship between humor and insecurity.
[00:01:59] He [00:02:00] reflects on his early interest in performing and comedy, and he shares his inspiring come up story from Nickelodeon to the silver screen, as well as a harsh reality that comes being an actor. We then learn how he overcame his issues with body image and drug addiction, and we hear his secret to true happiness.
[00:02:17] If you've ever struggled with mental health issues or addiction, or maybe like me, you grew up watching Josh on TV, and you simply want insight for what it was like for him on the other side of the screen, whichever it is, you're gonna without a doubt, love this conversation. Hey Josh, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast.
[00:02:36] Josh Peck: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:02:37] Hala Taha: I am super hyped. For those who don't know and who might be living under a rock, you are a young comedian and actor. You actually started on Nickelodeon shows like the Amanda Show and the Drake and Josh Show, which pretty much defined the TV conception of most millennial childhoods, especially those younger millennials and in fact I have a lot of 25 year old-ish [00:03:00] girls that work for me and they were freaking out that you were coming on the show more than Matthew McConaughey being on the show. That just goes to show that you are truly an icon of our generation.
[00:03:09] Josh Peck: It's a great honor and you really, if you really sit down and think about it, McConaughey's fine, good actor, but, and see a he offering up with Peck's offering. I'm not so sure .
[00:03:21] Hala Taha: Yeah, and since your Nickelodeon days, you've had multiple film and millennial roles, you've become a huge social media influencer with over 20 million followers across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. And on top of everything, you're now an author with your new memoir. Happy People Are Annoying.
[00:03:37] So let's start there. What's up with the title of your book? Why are Happy People So Annoying ?
[00:03:41] Josh Peck: My book agent told me that'd be a good title, and I realized I should go with the people whose business it is to sell book. I'm only half joking. I wrote a 30 page proposal for this book and I had no title.
[00:03:54] And initially I was working with titles like the Millennial Guide to [00:04:00] Survival or everything I Wish Someone had Told Me. And I didn't love any of those, but I, as there's nothing easy about titling anything. Your podcast, your book, your kid, and , once my agent read the proposal, she pitched this idea.
[00:04:14] In a weird way, the book grew into the title, which was like this idea that I'd gone throughout my whole life, assuming that like happiness or what I thought it was reserved for people who were generationally wealthy, attractive, the quarterback. and I just thought that I didn't receive the same sort of manual for living that everyone else had been given at birth.
[00:04:36] And my journey facing challenge and trial and walking through it has helped me to define what happiness is for me.
[00:04:43] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love that. And I have to say, your memoir was super easy to read. It was inspiring, it was funny. It was relatable even though I'm not an actress and never did acting before.
[00:04:53] But I related to a lot of things that you said, and I feel like a lot of people who read your book did as well. And I think my audience is [00:05:00] gonna really resonate with your story. So let's start up with your childhood. You grew up in Hell's Kitchen. You had a single mom as a mother, you never met your father, and you were up and down financially as a child, and at eight years old, you actually started developing your love for comedy and ended up doing standup.
[00:05:16] So let's start there. How did you first get into performing? .
[00:05:20] Josh Peck: I think just having a mother who was like this unrealized performer, like her great love has been musicals and singing and just kind of standup comedy. She's just a natural entertainer and she used that superpower to be a great business person.
[00:05:35] And yeah, we certainly struggled financially, which I don't think is a new experience for anyone with a single. Especially a woman in the eighties, like having to deal with all like that toxic masculine workforce. And what she was those waters she was navigating, I would imagine required her to arm herself with those tools of like when I walk into a room, I'm gonna crush it with a joke [00:06:00] immediately, and then you're gonna know who has the power here.
[00:06:02] So I knew immediately there's a currency to like having the ability in which to take over a room and comedy can be that superpower, and even at eight or nine, it doesn't matter. You're immediately upgraded to the adult table as soon as you prove that you're fun.
[00:06:17] Hala Taha: That's super, super interesting.
[00:06:19] So how did you hone your chops? Like how did you practice and start to learn initial.
[00:06:23] Josh Peck: I think I was just obsessed with television and sitcoms and talked about my best friends growing up were Billy Madison and Ace Ventura and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Like I didn't know that I was putting in my 10,000 hours.
[00:06:36] I just saw, thought that I was obsessed with TV like all my other friends were. But in a weird way, I was like absorbing the rhythms. And comedy is very, for the most part, subjective, but there is a justice to comedy and that if it doesn't get a joke, it's really hard to interpret that it work. So I like the idea of being like, there's no debating this.
[00:06:59] If I [00:07:00] get a laugh and laughter, like crying is involuntary. There's no interpreting that I got it and I get the pat on the back for that one.
[00:07:08] Hala Taha: It was like that instant gratification, right?
[00:07:11] Josh Peck: Oh yeah. You chase it.
[00:07:12] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so it seems like your mom was really supportive throughout your journey, but actually people like your grandparents really thought that there was no lifelong career trajectory as an actor, and they thought it wasn't really a stable profession.
[00:07:28] So how did you move through that even though there were some naysayers in your life?
[00:07:31] Josh Peck: I think just inherently, there were people in my life, like family members. People had no problem, especially then in the nineties, like giving their opinion about how ridiculous it is that the idea of having a full realized life and this crazy profession and their pragmatism or their nervousness isn't without reason. Like even now in today's day, I would say, look, if my son told me that he wanted to be an [00:08:00] actor when he was 18 or 19, I would certainly be like, are you sure you don't wanna be a dentist?
[00:08:04] How about teeth? Maybe you should try Tea because it's a crazy business. It's a big swing. Even though I feel like many of us feel like we know some actor in our life, or some performer or some influencer nowadays, it still is the lesser taken path. And because of that, it affords you some really big wins and possibilities for greatness and also a lot of uncertainty.
[00:08:33] So it was understandable, but I went to perform in Arts High School when I was 12 years old, and I remember I was suddenly surrounded by people. My school had alumni like Claire Danes and Jesse Eisenberg and Alicia Keys, but even maybe not as big as they were just like working kid actors who are on Broadway shows or tv show
[00:08:54] and I was like they're making grownup money. So suddenly it seemed possible cuz I was, making [00:09:00] 20 bucks a weekend performing a Caroline and certainly not enough to pay your rent. But I was like, wow, these kids are doing the thing that I love and they're making a grownup salary. Like maybe this is possible.
[00:09:11] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so you believed in yourself enough where at one point in your memoir, you talk about meeting the president of Nickelodeon for the first time and you were in love with the show all. Which is like the kid's version of Saturday Night Live. For those who don't know and you mustered up the courage to actually tell him that you wanted to be on the show.
[00:09:30] So I'd love for you to share that story and some of the lessons that you learned.
[00:09:34] Josh Peck: I would audition for Nickelodeon a lot as a kid, and the Viacom headquarters was in a building called 1515 Broadway, which I imagine is still there. And it had all their subsidiaries housed in this gigantic building that if you watch MTV now or have for the last 25 years, Whenever they're doing back in my day there was a show called TRL, but like whenever you see them overlooking Times Square, that is 1515 [00:10:00] Broadway.
[00:10:00] So I would audition at Nickelodeon all the time. and I would basically tell them like, listen, I'm young, I'm funny, and I'm chubby. Like you need me, trust me. Like I have the secret sauce. And they were like maybe we need you, but we'll see. And solely but surely, I would do a commercial or do a TV show for them.
[00:10:21] and then I booked this movie called Snow Day, which was my first movie. My mom and I fly to Canada first time out of the country and one day I'm just like chatting with some guy who had a great laugh and I'm giving him some of my material from standup and my mom saddles over to me and is do you know who that is?
[00:10:37] That's the president of Nickelodeon. And she said, you should tell him you wanna be on all that. Cuz until that, I could not get a call back for all that. I would audition, I would pray, I would try to suck up to the Cassie director, but I was just not what they were looking for. And so I tell 'em that and nine months later I got a call from him saying, congratulations, I'm gonna [00:11:00] move your mom and you out to California and you're gonna be on the Amanda Show.
[00:11:04] And I don't know what that lesson is other than shoot your shot.
[00:11:08] Hala Taha: Yeah, . It is, shoot your shot and don't be afraid of asking for what you want. You have the courage to ask for what you want, and it didn't turn out exactly how you wanted, but it was a huge step in your career that I think really changed your life.
[00:11:22] So Drake and Josh was really like your mega hit that I think everybody knows you from. I'd love to hear about how that turned into you leading the show with Drake and also the best and worst parts of you being on.
[00:11:35] Josh Peck: We were both in the Amanda show together and initially I was iced by the producers of that show cause I think they were strongly encouraged to put me on the show by that president.
[00:11:45] I'm not sure that idea was theirs. So initially I just sat around watching people like Amanda Binds, who was so much more talented than I was and singing like what her secret sauce was and trying to learn from her. Resenting the fact that I was sitting on the bench [00:12:00] and over time I figured eventually, like they're painting me and I'm here, so I imagine they'll give me a shot.
[00:12:07] And they did, and it worked out in my favor. And so when they, when Nickelodeon needed a new buddy comedy, Drake and I were just a really good option. and that's what sort of led to Drake and Josh. And I think the best part of that show in hindsight is the fact that, 20 years later people still talk about it, that it still means so much to families and that they let us into our homes, which is a very like, privileged opportunity, even more so than everyone wants to be in the gigantic Marvel movie or like the big huge Blockbuster, but there's something special about having a show that like the whole family can sit around and watch in their living room.
[00:12:43] It's very intimate and I think that's what the show has been for a lot of people and even generations now, which is really special. And I think the hardest part of the show was just, I was introducing myself to the world in a body. that I wasn't quite comfortable in cause I was pretty overweight.
[00:12:59] And I think [00:13:00] navigating those waters of being a public person, getting to do something that I dreamt of doing while also feeling like just massively insecure was were they were challenging waters to navigate. .
[00:13:12] Hala Taha: Yeah. So I wanna stick on this for a point cuz I think this is a really important piece of your story.
[00:13:17] So my team always gives me quotes and stuff in my research and there was a couple that really stood out and they were, the reason why people are funny is usually not funny. And you have another quote, real artists take the misery and sadness out of life and translate that into art. So is there some real reason why you were funny as a kid?
[00:13:37] Was it more like masking this insecurity that you had? I'd love for you to share more about that.
[00:13:42] Josh Peck: Certainly, when I meet like really attractive people now that try to go joke for joke with me, I always want to say to them like, listen, there's a chance I'm funnier than you, but trust me, I trade it for a second.
[00:13:53] For your face, , I would've traded it all, but I certainly, cuz why not? Listen, I live. [00:14:00] a pretty like normal life, all things considered, but being a public person, like I'm not gonna dilute myself like I do get a little bit of special treatment here and there. Like maybe it's easier to get a reservation at a restaurant.
[00:14:12] I'm not that fancy. Or I'll be like in a coffee shop and people will be like, oh, it's on me. And I'll be like, don't gimme that free coffee. Like I, this I can afford. And so I have to remind myself of oh, like most people don't get this. Josh have an understanding of like your privilege.
[00:14:28] Attractive people get that all the time. , like a lot of people grow up that way, right? Where they're just like, oh, people are so friendly. I'm like, yeah, to you. And so I just think that the need in which to create this defense mechanism to navigate your way through the world isn't necessary for certain people.
[00:14:47] But for a guy like me, it certainly.
[00:14:50] Hala Taha: Yeah.
[00:14:51] Josh Peck: And there's a legacy of the big funny guy, so it made sense. Maybe if I grew up in a really athletic community, being the big guy, [00:15:00] it would've made sense to try to go be an offensive lineman for my high school football team. But in New York, growing up with the mom I had, it was to be funny and entertaining.
[00:15:09] Hala Taha: I love that. It's like you use that as a way to shine and be likable, even though you felt like on the outside you weren't just be being liked for your looks. You got to be liked for your personality basically.
[00:15:20] Josh Peck: I think so. And I think there was a need to, I felt like I walked into situations at a disadvantage that people made a snap judgment about me being that weight of oh, you are, you lack willpower, or you're slovenly, I didn't wanna be that great. I just wanted to be at an even at the same level as everyone else.
[00:15:38] Hala Taha: Let's hold that thought and take a quick break with our sponsors.
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[00:18:29] So something that I found very, very interest. Growing up watching Drake and Josh, everybody thinks that you are super rich. You made it for life off that show, but it turns out you were only paid like a hundred grand a year for five years or something on that show, and it really was tough after it ended to continue to monetize that fame because there was no social media.
[00:18:52] Hollywood in the two thousands is very different from Hollywood now, so I'd love for you to share some more on that and give us some color about that situation. [00:19:00]
[00:19:00] Josh Peck: It's gross to talk about money, but the reason it I felt compelled to do it was that I believe there was this misconception of what a guy like me coming from that show where we should be at in life, the moment it's over fiscally and just how much runway you, you actually have.
[00:19:19] I remember this woman after she read the book or saw some excerpt from an interview, was like, I work with kids and I make 50 grand a year. Who are you to say this? And I was like, ma'am, first of all, no one is debating you that you should be making way more money and what you do is way more important than what I was doing.
[00:19:36] I just think the difference is that no one thinks you are making a million a year, but a lot of people thought I was. And so I think the reality is, When you finish a show like that, if you're making a middle class income, you only have a year or so runway. If you've been smart with your money before, it's important to find another job, especially if [00:20:00] you're helping support the family the way that I was at that age, which was my honor, cuz my mom gave up so much of her life to come help me was challenging.
[00:20:08] And I think naturally we see kids like that. And if they do have to do a job to pay the bills, which maybe necessarily some Oscar award-winning part, but it's just something that's again, for a paycheck, we instantly judge them and think what'd you do? Blow all your money? What are you, just some cliche who, had a Bentley or something when in reality they're just, there wasn't as much as people thought.
[00:20:30] Hala Taha: Yeah, it's so interesting. , and it's sad, like I, I feel like Nickelodeon you probably feel like did a lot for your career, but do you ever feel like they took advantage of you considering how big that show was and how little money you made off of it?
[00:20:44] Josh Peck: In hindsight, I don't really, yes, no, I'm kidding.
[00:20:50] I don't complain and I don't begrudge it because I'm lucky enough to be so happy with where I'm at now, and I think things are certainly better from what I've heard.
[00:20:58] Hala Taha: Yeah. So what [00:21:00] happened after you ended Drake and Josh? How did you pivot considering that your television career was over?
[00:21:04] Josh Peck: Certainly. I don't know. My television career wasn't over, right? The show was over. So I think that's not the best way to phrase it, because it's like your career isn't over as an actor until you stop acting. So it's just what's next? So that's really what it was. What was next. So I wound up starring in this movie called The Wackness with my favorite actor, sir Ben Kingsley and Method Man and Mary-Kate Olsen.
[00:21:28] And we wound up winning Sundance and it was like this indie movie that I dreamt of doing because, at 21, what I really wanted my whole life was just to be an actor. I didn't wanna be a movie star and I didn't wanna be, I certainly didn't wanna be child star and I didn't wanna be the funny, fat guy.
[00:21:43] I just wanted to be an actor amongst actors. And I remember getting that opportunity. because I loved doing the kind of stuff I was doing on Drake and Josh, but it came a bit naturally to me just being like big and funny and sticky and that was a huge part of me. But movies like Mean [00:22:00] Creek and eventually the Wackness, that was another side that I really wanted to explore something more grounded and subtle cuz those were the sort of movies I loved growing up.
[00:22:09] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so we're looking at you right now. You're pretty fit. Back in the day, you were about a hundred pounds or so heavier, right? You were a bigger guy and you were often typecast as the big funny guy. How did you feel that limited your potential in any way?
[00:22:25] Josh Peck: It just limited me as long as I wanted to stay that weight.
[00:22:30] I think back then bigger guys were limited to two kinds of roles, which was the bully and the best friend. and Mean Creek actually that movie, I was playing a bully, but it was the first time I actually got to play this fully realized person. Cause he was this tragic character. This kid who so desperately wanted friends.
[00:22:49] It the only way in which he knew to do that was to antagonize kids just so they would notice him. And I remember when that movie came out and it was so well received and I [00:23:00] thought, I can't wait another 10 years for another part like this to come around, like for a big guy to actually play a real person.
[00:23:07] So I lost the weight and there were certainly people who were like, right now you're part of a pool of four or five guys, vying for these roles. But if you lose weight and you get down to a normal weight, like you're gonna be going against Jake Gyllenhaal for roles. Are you sure you want to do this?
[00:23:22] And obviously, Jillian Hall doesn't have to audition for movies. It's so damn handsome and talented , but like they basically were saying the pool is much wider if you are at an average in quotes, weight. But I knew that I wanted to be able to play those other roles and it was necessary for me in addition to all just the inner reasons I did it, that I wanted to be healthier and more comfortable in my own.
[00:23:47] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so you had tried many diets before that. What did you do to actually get the weight off?
[00:23:52] Josh Peck: Oh, it's just boring. I just ate better and worked out more and I feel bad saying that cause people always want some kind of hack. I know I [00:24:00] did at that time, but I guess the only thing I can ever say to people who are on their own journey to perhaps lose a bit of weight or get healthier, , I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
[00:24:10] I tried so many different ways, and inevitably I had to feel completely over my way to try at someone else's. And so I always say to other people if you are feeling hopeless or you're feeling like your way doesn't work anymore, I'm sorry you're going through that. But it's a great place to start and pain can be a great motivator and you never learn anything on a good.
[00:24:34] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love that. Okay, so you lost all this weight. You accomplished this big goal, and you eventually turned to another vice other than food, and that was drugs and alcohol. And in the book you described the first time you ever did drugs, and you say that it made you feel typical. What do you mean by that?
[00:24:52] That it made you feel typical?
[00:24:54] Josh Peck: I think I'd spent my entire life, up until that point, I was having this very specific [00:25:00] experience. I'm working in this adult career as a young kid since I was 12 years old and there was a lot of responsibility. May ambi com, a big fan of, especially cuz she's done this beautiful job of transitioning from starting as a young actor and growing up in, into this great adult performer.
[00:25:18] She said, as an actor you're not really allowed to have a bad day. Now there are plenty examples of actors having bad days on set. , it's very important that you come and you show up ready to do what you have to do because there's a lot of money riding on it. And so I think that was my life up until I was 18, 19 years old.
[00:25:38] And I felt like I had to be very measured with everything I did cuz I had so much riding on it. As opposed to what a lot of 18 and 19 year olds wanna do, which is to be frivolous, a bit reckless and basically stupid. And so when I was 18, 19 and I was experimenting in this these ways, I felt very typical and I had lost [00:26:00] all this weight and I felt like I, I was making up for lost times.
[00:26:03] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so what was the turning point? Can you share the story when you realized that like you have to get sober and that like enough was enough and you wanted to change your life for the better in that way?
[00:26:15] Josh Peck: So I lost a hundred pounds and I thought I'd be all better, and then I wasn't, I was still the same head, just in a new body.
[00:26:22] So then I tried drugs and alcohol and that didn't work. . And so then I figured success and prestige, maybe that'll work. So I do this movie as I talked about the Wackness, and as I said, like my dream when I was 16 in that movie, Mean Creek, was to one day come to the Sundance Film Festival, which at this time to me was like better than the Oscars.
[00:26:46] and to be thin and to have a movie I was proud of. And it came true, like I was 21 and I remember the movie was screening there and like Quintin Tarantinos at the screening, like these heroes of mine. And I'm working with my [00:27:00] hero, sir Ben Kingsley. Like I'm an actor nerd. So for me, this was like Michael Jordan.
[00:27:04] And that night the reviews start coming in and they're beautiful and it was truly everything I'd ever hoped for and I think I imagined that I'd wake up the next morning and the old Josh would be gone. That voice inside my head that woke up a few minutes before I did every morning that told me all the reasons why I'd never be enough, that it would just be gone.
[00:27:25] And I woke up the next morning and that voice was still there. And it was like this terrible realization that I said, oh no, I'm bottomless. It had been like a suspicion I'd had my whole life that no matter what I try to. That hole in the soul with it, it'll just never be enough. And I remember, I, I flew home that day and everyone who was part of the movie was like, are you nuts?
[00:27:50] You're going home. This never happens. Like you never have a hit movie at a festival like this and you're just gonna leave. And I was like, yeah, I [00:28:00] gotta get outta here. And two weeks later I got sober. And I think it was that realization and also taking some action that allowed me to do.
[00:28:09] Hala Taha: Wow. That's a really powerful story and thank you so much for sharing that. So what you said reminded me of this thing called the arrival fallacy that people keep mentioning on my podcast. And basically what that means is like you achieved something. and you're like waiting and you think everything, you're gonna be happy.
[00:28:25] Finally when once this happens, I'm gonna be happy. And then it happens, and then you're like, oh, now I have to find the next achievement to like dangle in front of my face until I'm happy. So what has your whole career journey taught you about achieving happiness?
[00:28:40] Josh Peck: It's a great question. I love the way you phrase it.
[00:28:43] Look, I think society tells us that you'll be all better if you can just afford this vacation, or you'll be all better if you can just buy a Beamer, or you'll be all better when you can fly private. But the reality is that like the gift is that you get to try because there's so many [00:29:00] people who are born into circumstance throughout this world who never even get the chance to try.
[00:29:05] And so the fact that you're like maybe in a place. There's some financial insecurity or just life insecurity, but you get to put your best foot forward and work your butt off. That's a gift. And I have to remember that, and I've, it's every corny slogan is true. It's about the process, not the result and all these things, but
[00:29:29] for me, it's never been luckily about the billboard, it's never been about like going and doing some cool red carpet thing or all the cash and prizes. It's just I really like the moments between action and cut. It's a puzzle for me. I remember I was in, I've had this great like year last year of, I was working really consistently and I'm working on this really cool thing now and I'm so lucky.
[00:29:53] And so I've been in acting class the last couple months cuz I was like, don't get rusty, stay primed, stay ready. [00:30:00] And I remember my acting, I did this scene and my acting teacher goes, you really didn't consider this, or, yeah, you missed this. And I remember thinking in my head, I was like, I'm never gonna be perfect at this thing.
[00:30:11] It's like this puzzle that has a hold on me. Like I just want to figure it out and I'll never fully figure it out, even if one day I do it. Superb. and the verdict's still out on that, so I'm lucky to have a thing that really grabs me still.
[00:30:28] Hala Taha: Yeah, and it's more like you're not necessarily basing your happiness on achieving that next big gig.
[00:30:34] You're basing your happiness on being the best actor that you can be and enjoying your craft. So I think that's really special.
[00:30:42] Josh Peck: We all want to succeed. We're all bombarded with hustle hustle and optimize your life creme as much as you can into a 24 hour period. but what has helped me is finding the virtue in what I do.
[00:30:52] And it's easy to think as an actor, like what's virtuous about what I do. It's self-serving just to so that I can get more [00:31:00] followers and make more money. But the reality is that people live really hard lives and they come home and they turn on a show and they lose themselves in it for an hour or two hours or 20 minutes.
[00:31:12] and they can forget about their troubles or what's going on in their family or their boss who's a jerk or whomever and just feel like a relief that comes, that watches over them by watching what an actor or a producer or director is able to provide. So there's virtue to that. So that's a reason to do what I do and to make it about something bigger than me, cuz if it's just about me getting that next role.
[00:31:37] Cause I really want the announcement on Twitter then it's never gonna be enough.
[00:31:44] Hala Taha: Yeah. And I feel like people can relate to that no matter what profession they're in. Acting is a tough business and I actually was really happy that in your memoir, you didn't try to cover over the fact that it's really a hard business to be in.
[00:31:56] There's lots of ups and downs. So I'd love to understand like how you [00:32:00] dealt with all the downs.
[00:32:01] Josh Peck: I therapy, support, good friends being sober and never laying down. I've heard someone say if you're walking through this shit, just try not to sit down. There were so many moments where I wanted to quit.
[00:32:18] There were so many moments where I was just like, looking at my life at 32, 33 years old and in audition room for, I don't know, maybe I've gone on a thousand auditions in my life and for the 900th time being like, I thought I'd be further by. I thought I wouldn't have to do this at a certain point. And here I am still singing for my supper, but I also am very like comfortable in that place.
[00:32:44] And every time I've done something, I did a show with John Stamos where I played his son on this Fox show, which I wish I could time travel back to 13 year old Josh and tell him that one day we'd be able to pass for John Stamos son and that everything was gonna work out and that maybe I [00:33:00] should hold back on seconds.
[00:33:02] And that show was this great thing and everyone was like, this is the moment. And then that show was a great experience and then got very canceled. Or last year I did this show for Disney Plus Turner and Hooch. So proud of it. One of the best experiences. And that show only went one season. So like I'm comfortable in that place of go to an audition, get the pages, memorize it, go in there and realize that nobody's really thinking about me. I'm there to serve a purpose. Hopefully I can help whatever puzzle this writer or director is set up for themselves, where they're like, I really gotta fit these roles. Like maybe I can be that guy and if I'm not maybe you're closer now to who you're supposed to pick, cuz you realize someone like me is definitely not who you need.
[00:33:48] Hala Taha: Yeah.
[00:33:48] Josh Peck: And I've heard that said before about auditions, like you are either gonna help them. By being the right guy for the role or help them get closer to realizing who they don't need. Either way, [00:34:00] you're of service and I have to remember that.
[00:34:03] Hala Taha: We'll be right back after a quick break from our sponsors.
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[00:40:03] Something that was super interesting to me was that in your book you say that you tell people that your life either existed BRD or ARD. Before the film Red Dawn and after the film Red Dawn. So how did you deal, since we're talking about rejection, how did you deal with the criticism of that film and how did you reinvent yourself after that?
[00:40:23] Josh Peck: Red Dawn was just like the amalgamate or sort of the apex of all the things that I thought I needed in my life. I basically was like 23 playing Chris Hemsworth's brother, which sounds crazy to me too. Don't worry. And I love my whole life I was like, this was what I wanted to be, was the badass action star.
[00:40:41] When in practice I was so full of imposter syndrome that I actually let it turn me into a fraud and I let go of everything that had always been working for me. And the result was this very still uncomfortable, not great performance in the movie. And I was I took a lot of flack for it, but I think it's important to like [00:41:00] flop and keep going and normalize, flopping.
[00:41:04] I'm glad I got to do it at a time where I was young enough to where I could really learn from it and that it had to happen. And in the moment I really thought this is it. When this movie comes out, I'll die. And it came out. And the reviews came out and I, I just kept walking and I think that's important to know, and I don't, on my podcast male models, I've been lucky enough to interview like serial entrepreneurs, Gary Vaynerchuk and Damon John.
[00:41:31] And I remember I asked them, how long do you mourn a loss when a company doesn't quite live up to expectation or something falls through a deal or something, how long do you let it affect you? And they both like literally took a moment and said minutes. and I was like, really? Because I like to be wounded.
[00:41:52] I like to take weeks to get over things . But I was like, yeah, that's how you do it, right? That's how you become as successful as them. You just [00:42:00] keep pushing.
[00:42:01] Hala Taha: Yeah. It's not about how many times you fall down and it's about how quick you get back up and it must be tough being an actor because a lot of us who have more normal jobs, you might do bad at work one day or even get fired, but it's not plastered all over the internet.
[00:42:15] Nobody knows. So it must be even harder when you're an actor and you're getting all these outside people giving you that negativity. Like we said before, when you ended Drake and Josh, social media wasn't really a thing back then. There was no like influencers yet. So you actually started your social media journey on Vine.
[00:42:32] I'd love to hear about what got you started on social media, how you got your first big break and how you parlayed it into the millions of followers that you have today.
[00:42:40] Josh Peck: The show ended in 2007, so it wasn't even like social media wasn't even remotely a thing. Like Facebook had been around for what, two years.
[00:42:47] But other than that, YouTube existed in 2013. I made my first vine cuz I was a fan of the app. And for anyone who doesn't remember, it was like the original TikTok. and suddenly I started to get these followers, and I remember thinking [00:43:00] after a couple months when I had about a hundred thousand followers, it was a real inflection point.
[00:43:04] Like I could really lean in or maybe stop doing it and people would've just forgotten. and I even had agents and managers calling me at that time saying to me like, what are you doing? Like we're trying to make you not just like the goofy guy from that kid's show and you're like making silly videos in your card.
[00:43:20] Is this, does this hurt us? And I was really lucky to have an apostle during that time, my buddy Rami, who worked in social media early on and he said, listen Josh, don't let anyone tell you they know what this is cuz I work in it and even I don't. But I'll tell you that being able to go straight to your followers, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, finding out what they like, what they don't like, and everything in between, that's powerful.
[00:43:45] So do this. Do it every day, and that's what I did. I made a vine a day because until that point, I'd always been at the mercy of the gatekeepers. I'd always needed five people to sign off on me, for me to get a role, and then 18 months before I came [00:44:00] out, but suddenly I was going straight to my audience and with the click of the upload button, I could deliver content.
[00:44:08] So as long as I didn't have an ego about the way in which I was doing it, and as long as I didn't think I really need a trailer and some fancy coffee if I'm gonna be acting, and instead said, this is your job, so just do it whether it's on your phone or for an IMAX camera. And the result was really great and it grew to a good amount of success on Vine, Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok and brought me here now.
[00:44:32] Hala Taha: Yeah. And honestly, I love what you're saying. You're basically saying, for a long time, and I always talk about this for a long time, everything that you did required a gatekeeper to say yes, you're, you're welcome Josh.
[00:44:43] Like we pick you, we choose you. Now you get to create your own life because you own it. You own these social media channels and you can communicate directly with your followers and monetize that. So I think that's super powerful.
[00:44:56] Josh Peck: I think it's so necessary and it, in 2013, The [00:45:00] Rock didn't have 300 million followers and Kevin Hard and Jack Black weren't on YouTube, like it wasn't as normal then.
[00:45:06] So it was a bit more of a leap. But I think the line has totally blurred between traditional and social media people. And I think now it's just about the content. And yeah, it afforded me security to get married, buy a house, have a kid that I don't know if acting would've ever given me.
[00:45:25] Hala Taha: I love this. Thank you so much, Josh.
[00:45:28] So what are you up to today? What's new? What is coming out for you?
[00:45:32] Josh Peck: I have this movie called 13 The Musical, coming out August 12th on Netflix. And I'm on How I met your father right now in Hulu. And Yeah, and just making TikTok and chatting with you and my podcast Male Models that I'll plug. I'm a fan.
[00:45:50] Hala Taha: Okay, cool. So we'll stick all those links in the show notes so you guys can follow Josh. And so I always ask two last questions at the end of the show, and then we do something fun at the end of the [00:46:00] year. So the first one is, what is one actionable thing my young and profiteers can do today to be more profiting tomorrow?
[00:46:07] Josh Peck: Oh wow. It's a great question. I would say find someone today that you can do something nice for, ideally, because we're talking about young and profiting, like someone in the business space, someone who can do you a favor down the road, figure out how to do a favor for them today.
[00:46:27] Hala Taha: That's a really good piece of advice. And what is your secret to profiting in life?
[00:46:32] Josh Peck: Oh, profiting in life. Yeah. It, it connected to that first thing, doing nice things for other people, becoming indispensable, helping people. It has an immediate payoff because of just the karmic sort of payout, which is immediate, right?
[00:46:47] You feel better. It's the best way to get out of self. But if you do these things, what you'll find is when people are in a position, then to spread goodwill, to pay it forward. When they have an opportunity, [00:47:00] you're gonna be at top of. Like people go out and they become super selfish and they're like, no, I have to wrestle money and prestige and goodness in the world.
[00:47:09] I gotta go out and get mine. And it's good luck cuz no one's gonna think of you first for anything. But if you've got a great track record of being there for people, of being a reliable, good source of good work, then the moment they have an opportunity to spread that goodwill, they're gonna think of you first.
[00:47:27] Hala Taha: That is such a great lesson. Thank you so much, Josh. I love this conversation. I think my audience is gonna love it. Where can everybody go learn more about you and everything that you do.
[00:47:38] Josh Peck: I guess just follow me on Instagram, shuapeck.
[00:47:40] Hala Taha: You're like, just Google my name,
[00:47:42] Josh Peck: I dunno.
[00:47:42] Hala Taha: Josh peck.
[00:47:43] Josh Peck: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:47:44] I really love chatting with you. You're awesome at this.
[00:47:47] Hala Taha: Thank you so much, Josh. Great conversation.
[00:47:50] Young and profiteers. I hope you enjoyed that conversation as much as I did. And I don't know about you guys, but I grew up watching Drake and Josh and so I was really [00:48:00] excited about this conversation and it actually really surprised me.
[00:48:04] Truthfully, I had no idea about the struggles that Josh faced until I started researching for this interview. And the thing is that I watched him on TV all the time and he always seemed so funny, so happy, so energetic, and very successful. And so this was all really surprising. And the thing is that when Josh was facing insecurity around his weight and drug addiction, he still showed up to his job to make people laugh and entertain them.
[00:48:29] Own lives were a little bit better. So how big and strong of him to do that? And what a powerful reminder that you really never know what's going on behind the scenes with other people. Even seemingly happy people, successful people, they might be going through some stuff and you just have no idea.
[00:48:46] You just see the highlight reel of their life. So be sensitive, be observant, and check on all of your friends and family. No matter how successful or happy they may. And honestly, I wish that [00:49:00] more male actors and celebrities were open about going to therapy because there is a mental health crisis in the world for men specifically.
[00:49:08] There's so many men who are committing suicide, and I think a lot of it has to do with them a being ashamed to get help. And so I wanna call out here that it is not shameful to get mental health support, to have a therapist to go to therapy, and everyone should strive to be as mentally healthy as they can.
[00:49:26] It's a sign of maturity. So if you need to get help, seek help. Do not be ashamed by it and beyond the importance of mental health and therapy. A huge takeaway from this conversation is what Josh says about happiness and passion. Josh said that he realized that he's never gonna master acting, but it's in the pursuit of learning and doing that, he finds happiness.
[00:49:48] The gift is that you get to try, I'm gonna say that again because this is so powerful. The gift is that you get to try. I have to say that I've like [00:50:00] always had this mentality. I am really good at rejection because I always thought of rejection as actually being declined, an opportunity that you got and was the opportunity.
[00:50:11] That's very important. Not necessarily whether you win or lose. So I almost got a show on MTV, but we didn't get it. I was devastated, of course, but only for a couple days because then I would think about it and be like . It's cool that I got this opportunity. How many people get the opportunity to have a show on MTV?
[00:50:28] They filmed me the whole summer. I must be like somewhat special, like that. I'm getting these opportunities and so the opportunity and getting the opportunity and getting the opportunity to try the gift is that you get to try. That is just so powerful flip it all in its head. It's not about winning or losing or being the best, it's about trying and getting the opportunity to try and having the health to try and having the mental health to try and the skills to try and the relationships to try and all these things that you work on to get that opportunity to [00:51:00] try.
[00:51:01] I love that and it's definitely something I'm gonna think about the next time I'm having a tough day as the CEO of my company. I'm not perfect, but I get to try and I get the opportunity to learn and to get better, and that's a beautiful thing. All right, so as we wrap up, there's one more thing I wanna talk about before we go, and that's something I gleaned from this conversation that shows up over and over again in my life and in this podcast, is that you have to find your way around the gatekeepers.
[00:51:27] Do not let the gatekeepers tell you no, that is not an excuse. Every time you wanna do something in your life, if you're at a company, if you're a part of an organization or whatever it is, if there's other people involved, there's gonna be gatekeepers and sometimes you need to go around them. , I need to just handle it on your own and not expect anybody to open doors or do you any favors or give you that leg up.
[00:51:53] Sometimes you gotta just do it on your own. And so for Josh, that was through social media. He went straight to the source of his [00:52:00] fans and he used Vine later, Instagram, YouTube, and he no longer needed. Agents and talent scouts to be successful. And he could just hit the publish button and make it happen for himself and have a platform to millions of people.
[00:52:13] And guess what? It worked. Josh's community is insane and it took him taking a risk and going around the gatekeepers to try something new and different. And through social media, he gets to do more of what he loves. He gets to make people laugh. He gets to act, create awesome content. And the best part is he owns a hundred percent of it.
[00:52:31] He owns his social media. I feel like I can relate here because I started my LinkedIn journey four years ago, and now I'm one of the biggest influencers on that platform. I started LinkedIn to promote my podcast, and by the time I had 30,000 followers, I was still working in corporate and I felt like untouchable.
[00:52:51] I felt if I got fired from Disney or something I wasn't that worried because I felt like I had such great job security because I was a thought leader in my industry and, [00:53:00] everybody knew me as like this marketing guru. And all of a sudden you become more desirable at your company because you have more leverage, you're more well known, you've got more like status.
[00:53:10] And then on the flip side, you have more opportunity because more people know who you are. And it's just like this, insurance that you create. Having a personal brand is like having insurance and very strong job security. I never felt more secure until I started having my own personal brand and growing my presence on social media.
[00:53:30] And this reminds me. Of what recent guest Alex Banayan talked about, it was number 167. He talks about this concept of the third door, and he says that life, business and success is just like a nightclub. There's always three ways In. The first is the first door, right? It's the main entrance where the line curves are on the block where 99% of people are waiting around, hoping, crossing their fingers to get in, and then there's the second door, which is the VIP [00:54:00] entrance.
[00:54:00] That's where all the billionaires, celebrities, and the people born into it are just like slipping through. They might know the gatekeeper personally, but what nobody tells you is that there's. Always a third door. It's the entrance where you have to jump outta line, run down the alley, crack open the windows, sneak through the kitchen.
[00:54:19] There is always a way, and in 2022, social media is often that third door. And so I want you guys to think about growing your personal brand. I want you guys to think about leveraging your social channels, taking it more seriously. Digital is everything right now, and I'm telling you, even if you don't wanna be an influencer, just growing your social media just a little bit, establishing your personal brand will bring you so much opportunity.
[00:54:43] That is where people validate who you are, validate your skills, and I promise you. You can't lose if you focus a little bit about growing your social media in a professional way. All right, so let's hear for Josh. You guys can show Josh and the YAP team and me some support by dropping [00:55:00] us a five star review on Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast platform.
[00:55:05] And speaking of Apple Podcasts, we just hit number one on the how-to charts in the US. That's the highest ranking we ever got. We also got number one in education in Canada. So huge milestones for us here at YAP. Congratulations to the team, and Apple is actually not our biggest platform. It's like our fourth biggest platform, which is very different from most podcasters.
[00:55:25] We took a different approach in terms of growing the show and it would just be super helpful if everybody tuning in right now would subscribe to Apple Podcasts. And if you enjoyed the show, drop us an Apple Podcast review, help us maintain that number one spot and maintain our social proof. I'd really appreciate it and you guys can also find me on social media.
[00:55:45] I'm on Instagram and Twitter at yapwithhala. I'm on LinkedIn and you can search for my name. It's Hala Taha. Thank you guys so much for listening and thank you to my wonderful YAP team. I love you guys. See you next time. This is Hala signing off.[00:56:00]
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