Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

November 17, 2016

Josh Peck Talks Jewish Identity, Working on “Drake and Josh”

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“How come Jews don’t go to jail? Because we eat lox,” Josh Peck joked to a full house of over 600 attendees in Call Auditorium Wednesday evening. The former star of Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh attracted so many Cornell students and visitors that attendees exceeded the auditorium’s capacity, forcing organizers to turn people away.

Peck was not afraid to joke about his Jewish identity, saying all Jewish men “end up marrying our mothers.”

“I don’t know man, I’m proud to be Jewish,” he said. “I fucks with some Hamantaschen.”

Peck described growing up in New York City with a single mother and attending a performing arts high school.

“I think I tried to be funny because I was fat,” he said. “And you can’t be the sad fat kid, because that’s rough.”

At 12 years old, Peck said he auditioned for The Amanda Show, where he first met his future co-star, Drake Bell. Peck confessed that he and Bell “did not like each other” at first, but after a few months, Peck finally won Bell over with his standup comedy.

“From that moment on I thought, ‘you laugh at my jokes, I love you,’” he said.

Peck explained that he and Bell received their big break while on The Amanda Show. Nickelodeon had been looking for the next “buddy comedy,” and the producer, Dan Schneider, thought they would be the perfect duo to star in Drake and Josh.

Since Drake and Josh ended after four seasons, Peck said he has been acting in other television shows and films, such as The Mindy Project, Drillbit Taylor and Grandfathered.

Peck shared some of his best celebrity co-star encounters with the audience, featuring Tom Cruise, Chris Hemsworth and John Stamos — Peck’s co-star in Grandfathered.

“[Stamos is] super handsome … We would go out together and people would say ‘Oh my god John Stamos I love Full House’ and then they would turn to me and go ‘I fuck with Drake and Josh too,’” he said.

Peck also fielded several questions about his past co-stars, like Miranda Cosgrove and Amanda Bynes, and obliged when asked to perform his most famous lines: “Hug me brotha” and “I aint callin’ you a truther!”

This event was presented by the Cornell Hillel Major Speaker Series and made possible by a gift from the Himan Brown Charitable Trust.