Danny Tamberelli is THE child star of the 90's. No, really. Besides being in The Mighty Ducks, he was on all of Nickelodeon’s best shows: The Adventures of Pete & Pete, All That, and Figure It Out. If Nickelodeon were every 90's kid's dream town, he’d have been the mayor.
The 32-year-old New Jersey native was only seven when he auditioned for Pete & Pete. “I went up and auditioned in New York and when I came out of the audition the director, producer, and casting director walked out after me,” he remembers. “My mom had thought I had done something wrong because they don’t usually come out after you, and she was like ‘Oh my gosh! What did he do?! I’m so sorry!’ And they were like ‘No, no no! We want to use him, we think he’s great!’”
Pete & Pete first aired in 1993 and followed two red-headed brothers, both named Pete, in an unconventional examination of suburban life. Tamberelli’s character “Little Pete” would always get into trouble, and his older brother “Big Pete” would narrate their adventures.
The show ended in 1996 but has recently been resurrected thanks to the internet’s obsession with nostalgia and all things 90's. Just by searching "pete and pete" you'll stumble across multiple articles and Reddit rabbit holes that state that the show “invented the modern-day hipster.”
As Pete & Pete came to a close, Danny was approached by one of the show's executives to work on All That. “I loved sketch comedy and I loved Kenan Thompson,” he says. “Kenan and I had done a bunch of Nick stuff together.”
Tamberelli took over Vital Information for Lori Beth Denberg and played several vital characters, like his personal favorite: Jack Campbell, Fat Cop. “I was always in this humongous sumo-wrestler suit,” Danny laughs, “and the idea was to just be big and fat and knock everything over. It was my moment to be like Chris Farley.”
At this point in his career Tamberelli was the most recognizable redhead every kid wanted to be friends with. It was only natural that once his run on All That was over he stuck around Nickelodeon.
Besides its memorable original series, Nick was also known for its tweenage game shows (Legends Of The Hidden Temple, Double Dare, What Would You Do, Guts, etc). So after he left All That, Tamberelli joined the late 90s game show: Figure It Out.
The show’s panel consisted of Nickelodeon stars and popular child actors who had to guess a kid contestant’s secret talent, and if they didn't guess it then the kid would take home one of those classic Nickelodeon prizes.
“I never wanted to take those prizes away from those kids…” Danny says, “But [Lori Beth and I] shared the same idea. If the kid was nice, and was like ‘Oh it was really nice to meet you!’ we’d let them have the bike. But there were some kids that were like, ‘You’re never going to guess what I do!’ and it was like ‘Oh really? It’s on now! You want a piece of the Aggro Crag? Nope.’”
But the real star of the show was slime. “We shot four episodes of Figure It Out a day, and they loved to slime me,” he says, remembering having to shower multiple times a day because he was the audience’s favorite contestant to slime. “The slime was a very vanilla puddingly, waterly, food coloringy taste.”
Since his Nick days Tamberelli has gone to college, started his own sketch comedy group (called Manboobs Comedy), and launched a podcast with his Pete & Pete co star Michael Maronna. But his main pursuit is music and you can find his band Jounce touring regularly.
Romina Puga is a pop culture reporter and producer for Fusion. You can find her on "Fusion Now," Fusion's daily TV updates, going over new movies, music, apps, and why D'Angelo is still sexy.