You Don’t Know Billy on the Street?!?!?!

"Why do you like Jessica Alba?! Jessica Alba doesn't even like Jessica Alba!!!"

FuseTV’s “Funny or Die presents ‘Billy on the Street’” is one of my new favorite shows guilty pleasures. It’s delicious.

I call it a guilty pleasure because there are plenty of times I feel like I shouldn’t laugh, but of course I do. (“Let’s play ‘Rebecca Black or Black Person?’!” “Are you ready for, ‘Are You Smarter Than A Gay Fifth Grader?’?!?!”)

Here is how host, Billy Eichner, can be summed up best:

?!?!?!?!!?!?

This Upright Citizens Brigade veteran runs around the streets of New York City with all the enthusiasm of a chipmunk inhaling helium, accosting unsuspecting passersby with hilarious pop culture questions. Half the time, there’s no right or wrong answer. Except when it comes to Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep is ALWAYS the right answer.

The fact that Eichner, a New York native (Forest Hills, Queens, to be exact), can get this kind of reaction from jaded Manhattanites delights me, having spent a lot of time among the city’s soulless stares myself. He might seem out of control, but he’s clearly running the show; he thinks on his feet and rarely cracks a smile. “Billy on the Street” is much more about his interactions with people than it is the questions themselves.

Warning: Clip has the F-bomb (twice!). A GoGuiltyPleasures first! Whoa.

As they say, anything goes in New York, and Eichner makes it work for him. This past week, a drunken businessman hovered over a British couple while Eichner tried to quiz them. The couple was clearly uncomfortable with the intoxicated intrusion, but Eichner invited the man into the mix and the result was comedy gold.

The idea for the show was in the works for years, as part of Eichner’s comedy bits. His street interviews were always a big hit, and eventually he tossed up some videos on YouTube in 2010, gaining the interest of many, including Funny or Die, who started airing the show in December.

While doing research for this post (hahaha. No seriously.) I stumbled across this New York Times article. They said everything I wanted to. And more. Only better.

So I’m just going to post some more clips and then go pout. FYI – the show airs Thursdays at 11 p.m. on FuseTV (so put down that stinky old book and find out what channel that is for you here).

Have you seen it? What’s got you laughing lately (besides moi)?

Photo Credit: John Durgee / Fuse

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20 responses to “You Don’t Know Billy on the Street?!?!?!

  1. OK, so Billy on the Street is my absolute favorite show. And I never even heard of it until I just read this.

  2. I don’t know what FuseTV is but I’m pretty sure we don’t get it in China because we have one English station and it’s only for the purpose of teaching English to the Chinese. But I’m still going to check out these clips on Funny or Die.

    I’m loving Portlandia. Season 1 was great. Season 2 has been a bit off so far.

    • You could be “GG on the Street” and do the same thing in Shanghai. Or would it get old fast, because they’d be too distracted by being interviewed by the most attractive person they’ve ever seen, and wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the questions?

  3. I’ve just “discovered” 30 Rock and it has a guilty pleasure sensibility to it. Do you watch that?

    • Me, too! I just started watching it this year, but they keep switching when it’s on. Damn funny stuff.

    • You bet your sweet chipmunk cheeks I do! I LOVE 30 Rock. I read Tina Fey’s memoir (“Bossypants”) in December – it was amazing. You’re so right about the guilty pleasure aspect. Like the fact that she always picks the hottest actors to play her boyfriends. 😉

  4. Sorry Jules. This show looks hysterical, but I’m usually reading War & Peace on Thursday nights.

  5. You sold me! But when will i find the time? I also just started watching 30 Rock and Portlandia.

  6. Meryl Streep is *always*the right answer. LOL. Loved the review (sorry the NYT said everything you wanted to say–I for one am going to boycott their review!).

  7. So funny. I searched and could not find but I bet I can watch online. I’m still not sure if that lady thought “The Situation” was lame as in ‘can’t walk’. Just an observation.

    • Oh crud, really? I definitely think you can watch a lot online (the first hyperlink on this page should take you to the show’s home page!)!

      I bet you’re right, LOL She was willing to turn a blind eye in the name of cold hard cash.

  8. I can’t actually watch the clips just yet, but I am so, so very deeply looking forward to it based on this post.

    I love your summation of him. :p

  9. I always dug UCB, but haven’t heard of this. Hm. I am intrigued.

    Did you ever see Wonder Showzen? Probably not – you seem like a much too good of a person. It was this warped Sesame Street thing, but they’d muppet-on-the-street interviews that were just bizarre. All the more so for being conducted by a puppet who often wound up on the receiving end of violence.

    • I’m dying to know what you think! He kills me.

      No I haven’t seen Wonder Showzen (but now I’M intrigued; my moral integrity is on the line! Do I or don’t I??). It sounds a little like that Comedy Central show with the muppet-type characters acting out real life prank calls, Crank Yankers.

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