YAPClassic: Josh Peck on Shedding Limiting Beliefs and Overcoming Addiction to Find True Happiness
YAPClassic: Josh Peck on Shedding Limiting Beliefs and Overcoming Addiction to Find True Happiness
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. In 2017, he started a comedic lifestyle YouTube channel, Shua Vlogs. Josh is the author of Happy People Are Annoying.
In this episode, Hala and Josh will discuss:
– The title of his book, Happy People Are Annoying
– How he overcame the doubters
– Josh’s experience on Drake & Josh
– The relationship between humor and insecurity
– How getting typecast affected his career
– 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
– 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, he started a comedic lifestyle YouTube channel, Shua Vlogs. Josh is the author of Happy People Are Annoying.
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Josh’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shuapeck/
Josh’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/ItsJoshPeck
Josh’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTr-klXfdXmrU9FEP987ueg
Josh’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshpeckofficial
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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: What is up young and profits today? We're dusting off my interview with Josh Peck. Josh is one of the most recognizable faces of the millennial generation. He's most well known for starring in hit Nickelodeon shows like Drake and Josh and the Amanda Show. Since then, Josh has worked on several hit TV shows and movies, including Red Dawn, the Wackness, the Disney Plus original series, Turner and Hooch, how I Met Your Father and The iCarly Reboot on Paramount Plus, he also is a podcaster and the author of the memoir, happy People are Annoying.
In this episode, Josh and I have an honest conversation about the relationship between humor and insecurity. His early interest in performing in comedy, and his inspiring come up story from Nickelodeon to the silver screen. We also dive into the harsh reality that comes with being an actor and being in the spotlight and how he overcame his issues with body image and drug addiction.
This is a great episode for anyone who has struggled with mental health issues, body image issues, or addiction. I personally grew up watching Drake and Josh, so I was very excited for this interview for that reason. But then Josh blew me away with his insights on happiness and mental health. Without further ado, enjoy my interview with Josh Peck.
Hey, Josh, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast.
[00:01:28] Josh Peck: Thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:29] 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 con conception of most millennial childhoods, especially those younger millennials.
And in fact, I have a lot of 25 year old-ish 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.
[00:02:01] Josh Peck: Well, 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 how he offering up what Peck's offering. I'm not so sure.
[00:02:13] Hala Taha: Yeah, and since your Nickelodeon days, 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. So let's start there. What's up with the title of your book?
Why are Happy People So Annoying?
[00:02:32] Josh Peck: Well, 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 books. I'm only half joking. I, I wrote a 30 page proposal for this book and I had no title. And initially I sort of was working with titles like the Millennial Guide to Survival or everything I Wish Someone had Told Me.
And I didn't love any of those, but I, as you know, like there's nothing easy about titling anything. Your podcast, your book, your kid. And so once my agent read the proposal, she sort of pitched this idea. In a weird way, the book sort of 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, 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. And my journey facing challenge and trial and walking through it has helped me to sort of define what happiness is for me.
[00:03:38] 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. 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 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. 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. So let's start there. How did you first get into performing?
[00:04:14] Josh Peck: I think just having a, a mother who was sort of 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. And yeah, we certainly struggled financially, which I don't think is a new experience for anyone with a single parent. Especially a woman in the eighties, like having to deal with all like sort of like that toxic masculine workforce.
Mm. And what she was sort of, those waters she was navigating, I would imagine required her to sort of arm herself with those tools of like when I walk into a room, I'm gonna crush it with a joke immediately, and then you're gonna know who has the power here. So I knew immediately like 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 funny.
[00:05:15] Hala Taha: Mm. That's super, super interesting. So how did you kind of hone your chops? Like how did you practice and start to learn initially?
[00:05:21] 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 sort of putting in my 10,000 hours. 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. If I get a laugh and laughter, kind of like crying is involuntary. Like there's no interpreting that I got it and I get the pat on the back for that one.
[00:06:08] Hala Taha: Hmm. It was like that instant gratification, right? Oh yeah. You chase it. 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.
So how did you kind of move through that even though there was some naysayers in your life?
[00:06:32] Josh Peck: Well, I, I think just inherently, there were people in my life, like family members. I mean, people had no problem, especially then in the nineties, like giving their opinion about how ridiculous it is that mm-hmm.
The idea of having a, a full realized life and this crazy profession and. 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 actor when he was 18 or 19, I would certainly be like, are you sure you don't wanna be a dentist?
How about teeth? Maybe you should try teeth because. It's a crazy business. It's a big swing. Even though I, 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, 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.
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. I mean, my school had alumni like Claire Danes and Jesse Isenberg and Alicia Keys, but even maybe not as big as they were just like working kid actors who are on Broadway shows or TV shows.
And I was like, well, they're making grownup money. Mm. So suddenly it seemed possible cuz I was, you know, making 20 bucks a weekend performing at 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.
[00:08:18] 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 that. Which is like the kids' 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.
So I'd love for you to share that story and some of the lessons that you learned.
[00:08:41] Josh Peck: Well, 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 sort of had all their subsidiaries housed in this gigantic building that if you watch M T V now or have for the, the last 25 years, Whenever they're doing, like, I mean, back in my day there was a show called T R L, but like whenever you see them sort of overlooking Times Square, that is 1515 Broadway.
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, well, maybe we need you, but we'll see. And slowly but surely I would do a commercial or do a TV show for them.
And then I booked this movie called Snow Day, which was 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 sort of saddles over to me and is like, do you know who that is?
That's the president of Nickelodeon. And she said, you should tell him you wanna be on all that. Cuz until that point, I could not get a call back For all that I would audition, I would pray, I would try to suck up to the casting director, but I was just not what they were looking for. And so I tell him that and nine months later I got a call from him saying congratulations.
I'm gonna move your mom and you out to California and you're gonna be on the Amanda Show, and I don't know what that lesson is other than shoot your shot.
[00:10:18] Hala Taha: Yeah, it is. Shoot your shot and don't be afraid of asking for what you want. I mean, you had 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.
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 that show.
[00:10:47] Josh Peck: Well, we were both in the Amanda show together and initially I was sort of iced by the producers of that show cause I think they were sort of strongly encouraged to put me on the show by that president.
I'm not sure that idea was theirs. So initially I just kinda sat around watching people like Amanda Bines, who was so much more talented than I was, and singing like what her secret sauce was and trying to learn from her instead of. Resenting the fact that I was kind of sitting on the bench and over time I figured like, well, eventually, like they're paying me and I'm here, so I imagine they'll gimme a shot.
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, you know, 20 years later people still talk about it, that it still means so much to families and that they, they let us into our homes, which is a very like, privileged opportunity.
Even more so than like, you know, 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 like watch in their living room. 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 sort of introducing myself to the world in a body that I wasn't quite comfortable in. Cause I was pretty overweight. And I think 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.
[00:12:30] Hala Taha: Yeah. So I wanna stick on this for a point cuz I think this is a really important piece of your story. 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? Like was it more like masking this insecurity that you had? I'd love for you to share more about that.
[00:13:00] Josh Peck: Certainly, I mean, when I meet like really attractive people now that try to go joke for joke with me, I always wanna say to them like, listen, there's a chance I'm funnier than you, but trust me, I traded for a second for your face.
Like I would've traded it all, but I certainly, cuz why not? I mean, listen, I live a. Pretty like normal life, all things considered, but being a public person, like I'm not gonna delude 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.
I mean, I'm not that fancy. Or like, I'll be like at a coffee shop and people will be like, oh, it's on me. And I'll be like, don't gimme the free coffee. Like I, this I can afford. And so I have to like remind myself of like, oh, like most people don't get this. Josh. Like, so have an understanding of like your privilege.
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 sort of navigate your way through. The world isn't necessary for certain people, but for a guy like me, it certainly was.
Yeah. 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, 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.
[00:14:32] Hala Taha: Hmm. I love that. It's like you use that as a way to kind of shine and be likable, even though you felt like on the outside, you weren't just being liked for your looks. You got to be liked for your personality basically.
[00:14:44] 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 like, oh, you are, you lack willpower, or you're slovenly or something, and.
I didn't wanna be that great. I just wanted to be at an even sort of at the same level as everyone else.
[00:15:09] Hala Taha: So something that I found very, very interesting growing up, watching Drake and Josh. Everybody thinks that you're super rich and that. You made it for life off that show, but it turns out you were only paid like a hundred grand a year for like 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.
Hollywood in the two thousands is very different from Hollywood now, so I'd love for you to kind of share some more on that and give us some color about that situation.
[00:15:45] 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 like, 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.
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. Like, 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.
I just think the difference is, 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 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 you're sort of helping support the family the way that I was at that age, which was my honor, cuz my mom sort of gave up so much of her life to come help me was challenging.
And I think naturally we see kids like that. And if they do have to do a job to pay the bills, which maybe isn't I. Necessarily some Oscar award-winning part, but it's just something that's sort of, again, for a paycheck, we instantly judge them and think like, what'd you do? Blow all your money? Like what are you, just some, some cliche who, you know, had a Bentley or something when in reality there just, there wasn't as much as people thought.
[00:17:21] Hala Taha: Yeah. So what happened after you ended Drake and Josh? How did you pivot considering that your television career was over?
[00:17:27] Josh Peck: Certainly. I mean, I don't know. I mean, 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, ser Ben Kingsley, and Met Man and Mary Kate Olson. 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 a, a child star and I didn't wanna be, uh, the funny, fat guy. 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 sort of like big and funny and sticky and that was a huge part of me.
But movies like Mean Creek and eventually the Wackness, that was, um, another side that I really wanted to explore something more grounded and subtle cuz those were the sort of movies I loved growing up.
[00:18:35] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so we're looking at you right now, you're pretty fit, but back in the day you were about a hundred pounds or so heavier, right?
You were a bigger guy. And you were often typecast like, you know, as the big funny guy. How did you feel that limited your potential in any way?
[00:18:52] Josh Peck: Well, it just limited me as long as I wanted to stay that way. I think back then bigger guys were limited to sort of two, 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 sort of this tragic character, this kid who so desperately wanted friends that the only way in which he knew to sort of do that was to sort of antagonize kids just so they would notice him.
And I remember when that movie came out and it was so well received and I 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. So I lost the weight and there were certainly people who were like, Right now you're part of like a pool of four or five guys, you know, 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 Joha for roles. Like, are you sure you want to do this? And obviously, I. Jill 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 skin.
[00:20:18] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so you had tried many, many diets before that. What did you do to actually get the weight off?
[00:20:23] 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 did at that time, but I guess the only thing I, I can ever say to people who are on their own journey to, to perhaps lose a bit of weight or get healthier is. I was just sort of sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I tried so many different ways, and inevitably I had to feel completely over my way to try it, someone else's. And so I always say to other people, if you are feeling hopeless or you're feeling like you're way doesn't work anymore, I'm sorry you're going through that, but it's, it's a great place to start and pain can be a great motivator and you never learn anything on a good day.
[00:21:06] 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, 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? That it made you feel typical?
[00:21:25] Josh Peck: I think I'd spent my entire life, up until that point, I was having this very specific experience. I was. Working in this adult career as a young kid since I was 12 years old and there was a lot of responsibility. Maya Beek, who I'm a big fan of, especially cuz she's done this beautiful job of transitioning from starting as a young actor and sort of growing up in, in this great adult performer.
She said, as an actor you're not really allowed to have a bad day. Now there are plenty examples of, of actors having bad days on set, but. 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.
And I felt like I had to be sort of 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 these these ways, I felt very typical and I had lost all this weight and I felt like I, I was making up for lost times.
[00:22:38] Hala Taha: Hmm. 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 kind of change your life for the better in that way?
[00:22:51] 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.
So then I tried drugs and alcohol and uh, that didn't work either. And so then I figured, well, success and prestige, maybe that'll work. So I, uh, 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.
And to be thin and to have like a movie I was proud of. And it came true, like I was 21 and I remember the movie was screening there. And like Quentin Tarantino is at the screening, like these heroes of mine. And I'm working with my hero, sir Ben Kingsley. Like I'm an actor nerd. So for me, this was like Michael Jordan.
Hmm. And that night their abuse started 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 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.
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. And it had been like a, a suspicion I'd had my whole life that no matter what I try to fill, 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?
Like, you're going home. This never happens. Like you never have a hit movie at a festival like this and you're, you're just gonna leave. And I was like, yeah, I 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 that.
[00:24:48] Hala Taha: Wow. That's a really, really powerful story and 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 achieve something I. And you're like waiting and waiting and you think everything, you're gonna be happy.
Finally when like, 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?
[00:25:20] Josh Peck: It's a great question. I, I love the way you phrase it.
Look, I think society. Tells us that like, 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, all better when, but the reality is, is that like the gift is that you get to try because there's so many people who are born into circumstance throughout this world who never even get the chance to try.
And so the fact that you're like maybe in a place where. There's some financial insecurity or just life insecurity, but you get to put your best foot forward and work your butt off. Like that's a gift. And I have to remember that, and I've, it's every corny slogan is true. You know, it's about the process, not the result and, and all these things, but.
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, you know, I was working really consistently and I'm working on this really cool thing now and I'm so lucky and.
And so I, I've been in acting class the last couple months cuz I was like, don't get rusty, stay primed, stay ready. And I remember my acting, I did this scene and my acting teacher goes, well, 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.
Like, 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 superbly. And the verdict's still out on that, so I'm lucky to have a thing that really grabs me still.
[00:27:11] Hala Taha: Yeah, and it's more like you're not necessarily basing your happiness on achieving that next big gig.
You're basing your happiness on being the best actor that you can be and enjoying your craft. So I, I think that's really special.
[00:27:25] Josh Peck: We all wanna succeed. We're all bombarded with hustle, hustle, hustle and optimize your life crem as much as you can into a 24 hour period. But like what has helped me is finding the virtue in what I do, and it's easy to think as an actor, like what's virtuous about what I do.
It's self-serving just to like, so that I can get more followers and make more money. But the reality is, 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. 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 kind of 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 like 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. Cause I really want the announcement on. Twitter then it's never gonna be enough.
[00:28:29] 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 like cover over the fact that it's really a hard business to be in. There's lots of ups and downs. So I'd love to understand like how you dealt with all the downs.
[00:28:48] Josh Peck: Uh, uh, therapy support. Good friends being sober and never laying down.
I, I've heard someone say, uh, if you're walking through this shit, just try not to sit down. There were so many moments where I wanted to quit. 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 now.
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 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 should, should hold back on seconds.
And that show was this great thing and everyone was like, this is the moment. Like, 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 Hoot. 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 like, 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, well, maybe you're closer now to who you're supposed to pick, cuz you realize someone like me is definitely not who you need.
Yeah, 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, you're of service and I have to remember, that'll
[00:30:59] Hala Taha: something that was super interesting to me was that in your book you say that you tell people that your life either existed b r d or a r d before the film read Dawn and after the film read 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 sort of reinvent yourself after that?
[00:31:23] Josh Peck: Well, uh, red Dawn was just sort of like the amalgamate or sort of the apex of all the things that I thought I needed in my life, but, I basically was like 23 playing Chris Hemsworth's brother, which sounds crazy to me too. Don't worry. And I, I thought my whole life I was like, this was what I wanted to be, was the badass action star.
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 stilted. Uncomfortable, not great performance in the movie. And I was sort of, I took a lot of flack for it, but I think it's important to like flop and keep going and normalize, flopping.
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 like, this is it. When this movie comes out, I'll die. And it came out. 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.
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? Cuz I like to be wounded, I like to take weeks to get over things.
But I was like, yeah, that's how you do it. Right? Like that's how you become as successful as them. You just keep pushing.
[00:33:04] Hala Taha: Yeah. It's not about how many times you fall down, 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 know, you might do bad at work one day or even get fired, but it's not like plastered all over the internet.
Nobody knows. So it must be even harder when you're an actor and you're getting all these outside people kind of giving you that negativity. So, 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. Right. So you actually started your social media journey on Vine.
I'd love to hear about what got you started on social media, how you kind of got your first big break and how you parlayed it into the millions of followers that you have today.
[00:33:46] Josh Peck: I mean, the show ended in 2007, so it wasn't even like social media was, wasn't even remotely a thing. Like Facebook had been around for what, two years.
But other than that, I mean, YouTube existed kind of in 2013. I, 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 after a couple months when I had about a hundred thousand followers, it was a real inflection point.
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 car.
Does 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 know. 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.
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 out, but suddenly I was going straight to my audience and with the click of the upload button, I could deliver content.
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, well, 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.
To a good amount of success on buying Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok and brought me here now.
[00:35:42] 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 like, yes, you're, you know, you're welcome Josh.
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.
[00:36:06] Josh Peck: I think it's so necessary and it, in 2013, the Rock didn't have 300 million followers and Kevin Hart and Jack Black weren't on YouTube, like it wasn't as normal then.
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.
[00:36:34] Hala Taha: Yeah. I love this.
Thank you so much, Josh. So I always ask two last questions at the end of the show, and then we do something fun at the end of the year. So the first one is, what is one actionable thing my young and profits can do today to be more profiting tomorrow?
[00:36:51] Josh Peck: Oh wow. It's a great question. I would say just. 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.
[00:37:11] Hala Taha: Hmm. That's a really good piece of advice. And what is your secret to profiting in life?
[00:37:17] Josh Peck: Oh, profiting in life. Yeah. I mean, it, it sort of connected to that first thing. I mean, look, Doing nice things for other people, becoming indispensable, helping people. I mean, it has an immediate payoff because of just the karmic sort of payout, which is immediate, right?
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, you're gonna be at top of mind. 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.
I gotta go out and get mine. And it's like, well, 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.
[00:38:16] 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?
[00:38:26] Josh Peck: I guess just, um, follow me on Instagram, Joshua Peck.
[00:38:29] Hala Taha: You're like, just google my name, I dunno. Josh Peck,
[00:38:32] Josh Peck: thank you so much for having me. I really love chatting with you. You're awesome at this.
[00:38:36] Hala Taha: Thank you so much, Josh. Great conversation.
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