With the season finale of Nickelodeon’s hit show iCarly rapidly approaching, not only is Nathan Kress, who plays “Freddie Benson,” looking back on his journey thus far, but he’s also looking forward to the future.
Nathan Kress, I quickly learn, is destined to make people laugh. As I’m speaking to the soon-to-be 20-year-old on the telephone, I find myself chuckling at the clever way he recounts his favorite memories and experiences. He is full of kindness and ease, and I have to shoo away my grinning family—who, like many families in America, are big fans of his—from my doorway.
“I just got back [to California] from working on the new film,” Kress tells me, after introductions are exchanged (more on this new film later). “It feels good to be home for a few days!”
Kress is most known for his role as Freddie Benson on the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly, which is currently in its final season. He plays a geeky high-schooler who films the goofy “iCarly” webcast for his best friends Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove) and Samantha Puckett (Jennette McCurdy). The webcast becomes immensely popular on the web and the teenagers are left with the satisfaction of making thousands of viewers laugh every week—which doesn’t stray too far from the actual show itself.
Since Kress was very young when he began going to auditions, he relied on his parents to help him get to and from work. “My support group first started with my parents,” Kress says. After a break from acting during elementary school to do “normal kid stuff,” Kress soon realized he was destined to perform and began to pursue it again professionally.
Joining the iCarly team has definitely been the highlight of Kress’s career so far, and now that the show is ending, Kress has a lot to thank for it. “Those first few weeks [on set], I soaked everything up like a sponge,” he explains. Since its premiere in 2007, the witty series has won the hearts of many, claiming fans from ages 2 to 82. The show, being so demographically neutral, allows families of different backgrounds to sit down and enjoy it together. For this reason, Kress quickly discovered that he has a lot of fans from the older crowd, too.
“When we have fan interactions, one of my favorite things is hearing from the parents,” Kress laughs. “Most of the time, they are even more excited than the kids! They are much more unabashed about coming up and telling us how much they love the show.”
So what is this magic formula that grabs the attention of so many different people in all age groups? Well, for starters, the writing captures the older audience, and the jokes win the hearts of the kids. “There’s a lot of stuff reserved specifically for the older crowd that flies over the younger kids’ heads,” Kress explains. “And then pretty much whenever you get Jerry Trainor on screen, whether he’s falling or getting hit with something, you can bet that the younger audience is laughing.”
At the mention of Jerry Trainor (I specifically remember the episode when his character, Spencer, thought his tuxedo brought him luck with love, so he wore it everywhere—and under everything), I ask what was it like working with such talented people. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with,” Kress says sincerely as we discuss Cosgrove, McCurdy, and Noah Munck, who plays Gibby. Although our conversation is happening over the telephone, I can picture the smile on his face. “They are so amazing.”
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Photographed by J Squared Photography