No one wants a Drake & Josh reunion more than Josh Peck -- well, except for maybe his brotha Drake Bell. Seeing as we're in the golden age of television revivals, D&J took matters into their own hands to stage an epic reunion of their own on Peck's new Fox comedy Grandfathered. (Until we can lock in that official Drake & Josh reunion with creator Dan Schneider, this will have to do.)
In the upcoming episode, which airs Tuesday, Feb. 9, Bell plays Kirk, a flashy tech investor whom Gerald (Peck) and Vanessa (Christina Milian) are desperate to meet up with to pitch their new app. But once Gerald and Vanessa actually meet him, they realize that he's probably not the best man to do business with. To be perfectly honest, we don’t care who this guys is as long as the beloved Nickelodeon duo finds a way to recreate this iconic Drake & Josh moment:
That being said, it's pretty cool to see our teenage crushes -- now both 29 (!) -- sharing some screen time again. It's been nearly nine years since Drake & Josh went off the air, so this is a BFD (Big Fucking Deal) for us. MTV News caught up with Bell over the phone to chat about the upcoming episode, working with Peck again and whether he'd be down for an official "Drake & Josh" reunion. (Spoiler alert: he totally is.)
MTV: I grew up on Drake & Josh, so this is pretty big for me. How did it all come together? Did Josh just call you up and ask if you'd be down to guest star on an episode?
Drake Bell: That's exactly how it happened. I was on tour last year, sitting in my hotel room watching a movie, and I saw Josh was calling me up. I was like, "Hey, what's up man?" -- just thinking he called to shoot the breeze -- and he was like, "Hey, man. I've been talking to the producers and they think it would be really awesome if you would come and guest on the show and do a little reunion. Is that something you'd be interested in doing?" And I was like, "Oh my gosh. Are you kidding me? We've been trying to work together for years. Let's do it!" So I got to come out and have a little bit of a reunion. It was awesome.
MTV: The effortless chemistry between you and Josh was always my favorite part of Drake & Josh. So how easy was it for you guys to fall back into a familiar rhythm?
Bell: It was completely like old times. When we got on set, we were both a little worried. We had hung out and stayed in touch over the years, but we hadn't worked together or tried to be funny together. So we were kind of nervous about whether we were going to be able to pick it up. But honestly, the first scene we sat down to do, it was like BAM. It felt like we were together yesterday. We just fell right back into it.
MTV: How would you describe the dynamic between your character and Josh's character Gerald?
Bell: It's actually a very Drake & Josh dynamic. I play this Silicon Valley entrepreneur who's a billionaire, and I'm very cocky and don't give Josh's character the time of day. I'm kind of rude to him, so it is a little bit like earlier Drake & Josh. We fell right back into our rhythm in that first take. It was like we picked up right where we left off, as if we were doing Drake & Josh the day before.
MTV: This being a Drake & Josh reunion of sorts, can fans expect any iconic Drake & Josh references or lines to be in the episode?
Bell: We shot a ton. They let us have fun after each take and do a lot of Drake & Josh riffs. They were like, "Are there any Drake & Josh inside jokes that could work here?" And Josh and I would brainstorm and come up with a few that would work in each scene. So we definitely shot a ton. I'm not sure what we're going to use, but I hope they put a supercut of it online because we did a ton of Drake & Josh references.
MTV: How many Oprah references were there?
Bell: I think we did one. I can't remember if we did it for a promo or if it was actually for the show, but we definitely made some Oprah jokes. I haven't seen any of it yet. I can't wait to see me and Josh back on screen, and at 29 years old. That's just crazy.
MTV: I saw Lucy Hale recently posted an amazing #TBT photo of herself and you on the set of Drake & Josh. She said it was her first-ever acting job.
Bell: I know! That's incredible. I remember that, too. Isn't that funny? That was her first role. I look at pictures like that, and I'm like, man, I have been doing this for a really long time.
MTV: That being said, are you glad that you started in the industry so young?
Bell: I am. I love what I do, and most people spend their lives on their endeavors, and I get the privilege to have been doing this since I was five. I get to go play and have fun and entertain people. I just love it. I'm stoked that I started young and that I was able to work with Josh for many years. I learned so much on the set of Drake & Josh. That kind of education is invaluable.
MTV: Do you remember your first audition with Dan Schneider?
Bell: I remember it vividly. I had to go in and audition for Dan. Now, I grew up watching All That, and he would guest star on All That, so when I went in, Dan was kind of like a star to me. I was like, "Oh my god. This is the guy that's on All That." I was super nervous. For the audition, I had to do three original characters, do a couple of voices and a few sketches. I was around 10 years old at the time, and I was constantly doing voices and characters and being obnoxious. I was like, "Oh, man. Only three characters? I have so many voices I can show them." So I went to my acting coach, and we made this sketch that incorporated about 30 different characters into a three-minute monologue. I went in and did that for my audition... I think Dan still has the tape. I would love for him to put that online someday. I got through about 20 of the characters before my brain locked and I forgot everything.
MTV: Obviously, I've written many stories about Drake & Josh, and I've asked so many of your costars about a potential cast reunion. Given Nickelodeon's new strategy to revive some of their '90s and '00s classics, has there been talks about an official Drake & Josh reunion?
Bell: Hopefully the buzz around [Grandfathered] will help. Josh and I, Miranda [Cosgrove], and Yvette [Nicole Brown], who played Hellen, and Jerry [Trainor], who's Crazy Steve, and Jonathan [Goldstein], who's Walt the dad -- we all keep in touch. I'm actually working with Jonathan right now, and I talk to Yvette all the time. We're like a family. So we would love to come back and reprise the characters and see where they are. Josh could come home to visit the parents with his kids and his wife, and he's got a great job, and Drake comes downstairs and he's wearing the same clothes and still living with his parents. I think that would be pretty awesome.
MTV: How do we make this happen? The entertainment industry is all about revivals right now. What is Dan Schneider waiting for?
Bell: We're all just waiting for that call. It would totally make sense to bring Drake & Josh back -- and the fans would just love it. People would go absolutely crazy if we were able to play Drake Parker and Josh Nichols one more time.
MTV: Does it surprise you that there's still such a strong Drake & Josh fandom online?
Bell: Josh and I were actually talking about this on set. It's almost like the show is more popular now than when we were on the show. I don't know if it's social media, but I see the quotes and the memes everywhere. Maybe it was such a quotable show, or maybe kids who loved the show are just figuring out some of the jokes -- I don't know what it is. Josh and I are just shocked. For example, I'm at Disneyland right now, and a six-year-old came up to me and just told me she loved Drake & Josh. I was like, "You weren't even alive when we were doing that!" And then I'll have 30-year-olds come up to me and tell me that they grew up on our show. It's just really crazy to see that it still has this momentum. It's awesome to see how much the fans are loving it, and I think they're going to freak over this episode. I hope it's just a taste. I hope that we're able to either do a reunion or do something more together.
MTV: Do you have a favorite Drake & Josh meme?
Bell: I think my favorite thing is when people send me Instagram photos of people's yearbooks, and one guy will put "Are you calling me a liar?," and his friend will have "I ain't calling you a truther." And those are people's actual yearbook quotes. That's so amazing. It's just so cool that somebody actually quoted us in their yearbook.
MTV: I have to know if there was any friendly competition between you and John Stamos on set. After all, he is the main dude in Josh's life these days.
Bell: [Laughs] Our chemistry is much better than their chemistry. I'm just kidding. John is awesome. He's the new older, better-looking Drake character. Gerald is sort of the older Josh. He still needs somebody to teach him how to be cool, and that guy is John Stamos.
MTV: Do you feel like Stamos out-Draked you?
Bell: Oh, no no. I cannot be out-Draked.