Photo by Brett Erickson
Nearly a decade after the end of iCarly, Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove) returned to the silver screen with an inside look at the Nickelodeon’s beloved characters all grown up. Taking another go at her popular web show, Carly, Freddie (Nathan Kress) and Spencer (Jerry Trainor) offer nostalgia’s warmth all the while navigating a new chapter of life as adults. The reboot garnered critical praise, while bringing millennials a sense of comfortable familiarity to television. Nevertheless, the series finds strength in one of its new cast members, Laci Mosley, who plays Carly’s best friend, Harper.
Ahead of the season 2 finale, the jack-of-all-trades actress opened up to LA Confidential about Harper, finding connection through comedy and what it means to be a good scammer.
Did you grow up watching Nickelodeon?
Yes, absolutely. Loved All That, loved Amanday Bynes, loved Kenand and Kel—still love Kenan. I recently did Kenan’s show on NBC. Those are my icons as a kid. It was so dope seeing children do comedy. It's very inspiring.
Were those shows informative for your sense of humor?
Absolutely. All That, definitely. Kenan and Kel, like are you kidding me? “Orange Soda,” iconic. I loved Cousin Skeeter. Nickelodeon was really ahead of the time when it came to Black entertainers. I feel like I saw the most Black comedians like on Nickelodeon as a child and that was just really amazing to see.
You've played iCarly’s Harper for two seasons now. What have you enjoyed about the role?
I've enjoyed the camaraderie that we've built as a set. That speaks through the cast, obviously, and the people that you see, our guest stars and everything, but also just our crew. We have the most amazing people in front and behind the camera. We have such a great time with each other. It's nice to have a job where you go to work and you're excited to be there every day.
How has Harper evolved over season 2?
What's been fun about this season is we get to see Harper work through her career. One of the things that I talked to the showrunners about— Don Dunn and Ali Schouten— before the season came out, we had lunch. What I really love about the show is they’re super collaborative and they really do respect us and our input, which is not always the case. Sometimes you’re an actor and sometimes you’re a model. You put on the clothes and say what you're supposed to say and the script supervisor comes over and corrects every word.
I talked to them about how I’m feeling this in my own life where I wanted all these things. I moved to L.A. I wanted to build an acting career. I've wanted to do this since I was five. And I've gotten to a place where I've gotten everything that I wanted, and then I realized, “Oh, there's still so much more.”
I wanted Harper to have that same experience like you're getting the things that you want, but you're not there yet. You get that confidence, but then you get humbled a little bit. And so Harper has that experience. She gets bigger styling jobs and falls on her face a little bit. She also dates now. We know that the relationship between Harper and Dutch ended, even though Poppy and I love each other in real life. She's amazing. So now you're gonna see her date men, you're gonna see other people. I think that's a fun journey, especially as a fan growing up with iCarly. It’s like the millennial dating situation is ill.
Let’s talk more about your standup. What do you feel while doing live comedy?
I feel connection when I do comedy. Because there's an audience, sometimes they'll talk to you while you're on stage, they laugh and the thing about comedy that I love so much and I think it's so deeply powerful is that there when people laugh, it's because they relate to something. They can draw back to their own experiences. It comes from a place of truth. So when you have a connection like that, it is just overwhelming to me. Connecting with people, giving people joy, receiving joy from them. It's just one of the most powerful connections that I can have as a human being.
You started your podcast, Scam Goddess, in 2019. How does it feel to have launched that well before the recent scam content boom. You were ahead of everyone before The Dropout, Inventing Anna, WeCrashed, The Tinder Swindler, etc.
Scam Goddess was my Trojan horse. I wanted to do a comedy podcast and, at the time, I didn't have a big following. I pitched it to networks and they're like, “We don't know who you are and we already have too many of these kinds of podcasts,” where it's just remarks on whatever's happening that week and comedy or whatever. So I’m like, “All right, bet. What's not tapped?” And Miles Gray, who is at iHeart and he does The Daily Zeitgeist and I love that man so much so much, I got on that podcast a lot. And they always ask, “What's in your search history?” And every time I went, for some reason, there was some scam artist that I was researching. And then Miles called me the “scam goddess.” And then I was like, “That's it.” And so then I put together that pilot and I pitched that and it worked. But it's literally still me doing a comedy podcast, but it's also true crime, but without all the death and sadness and ladies getting murdered on their walk home.
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How do you differentiate between a good scammer and a bad scammer?
So the differentiation between a good scammer and a bad scammer is who you're scamming. Capitalism is a scam and if you're scamming up, much like jokes, if you're punching up, then I'm always going to be on your side. But if you're harming the most marginalized people or the people who are in the most danger, then I'm not going to be on your side, and that's for scams as well. Like if you're scamming people who don't have any money or resources or are not being predatory to our ecosystem as human beings, then that's wrong. But if you're scamming big corporations and people who literally have their foot on the necks of average Americans, hardworking people, poor people, like get it. I love it.
It sounds like scamming is sort of an element in the Netflix movie you’re going to be in, The Out-Laws. Did your knowledge about scamming prepare you for the movie?
Somewhat! That movie was very fun and also a little intimidating for me because I was working with Ellie Barkin, who is hilarious, Pierce Brosnan, Adam DeVine, who’s so sweet and so wonderful, and Lil Rel Howery. These are people that I've watched as a comedian. I had to feel myself a couple times and be like, “You belong here! This is fine.”
When I sent in the audition tape for this, as soon as I knew that it was Happy Madison and Adam Sandler’s company and Allen Covert, who’s fantastic. I was like, “Oh, they're wild.” So I went completely off script in my audition. I sent the tape to my agents and I remember, I said, “Yo, this is a little wild. But this is what I'm giving.”
I didn't hear back for months and was like, “Oh, well, I guess I didn't get it.” And then it came through and I was like, “Oh, this is really amazing.” And I just really enjoyed that it was such a friendly set, it was such a kind set and everyone was being their full selves and having a good time.
Do you have a preference for being on camera or podcasting or standup?
They're all my children. Everyone has a favorite child. Some never say it. That's me. I I'll never tell you what my favorite child is, but I love them all.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Brett Erickson