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‘Billy On The Street’ on the art of the ambush

You may know him as "Billy On The Street" but there's more to comedian Billy Eichner than meets the eye. He gives his Brief but Spectacular take on the most difficult person he knows: himself.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Finally, another installment of Brief But Spectacular, our series where we ask interesting people to describe their passions.

    Tonight, we hear from comedian Billy Eichner, star of “Billy on the Street” on truTV and the Hulu original series “Difficult People.” He opens up about his comedic style and process.

  • BILLY EICHNER, Comedian:

    We were filming recently, and someone yelled out from across the street, “Billy, please harass me,” which is a really strange request.

    “Billy on the Street” is a game show in New York City where I ambush people on the street with pop culture trivia. It also features celebrity guests helping me ambush people.

    My favorite segments are the Super Bowl, where I asked the New York giants what they thought of the Madonna halftime show.

    Sir, are you excited about Madonna?

  • MAN:

    Madonna?

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    Yes.

  • MAN:

    No, absolutely not.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    Why? She’s the halftime show.

  • MAN:

    She’s an old hag.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    You’re an old hag!

    Hey, did you see Madonna?

  • MAN:

    No.

  • BILL EICHNER:

    She was amazing.

  • MAN:

    I was in the locker room.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    OK.

    We did a segment with the first lady this year, Michelle Obama, and I had her push me around in a shopping cart while I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar acceptance speech for “Shakespeare in Love,” which is what you do when you have the first lady on your show.

    And away we go.

    “I would like to thank the Academy from the bottom of my heart. I would like to thank our miraculous cast and crew.”

    For $1, be honest. Who is hotter, Abraham Lincoln or Barack Obama?

  • FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA:

    Oh, Barack Obama.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    Oh, sorry, it’s Abraham Lincoln.

    “Billy on the Street” is — it’s a persona. It’s a performance. It’s pretty much my id as a 12-year-old kid, like, blown up.

    “Difficult People,” which is a scripted half-hour show on Hulu created by my friend Julie Klausner, a great writer, performer.

  • ACTRESS:

    I am starving.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    I know. I’m trying to order food. There is no Wi-Fi.

  • ACTRESS:

    What are we supposed to do, wander around the neighborhood and try to find something?

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    No. And you know what kind of food they are going to have in this neighborhood? It’s going to be Turkish food and Tapas. Just kill him.

  • ACTOR:

    A moment of silence for the deceased, please.

  • BILLY EICHNER:

    It’s “Will & Grace,” but more unattractive and more unlikable, which is what America wants.

    I am gay. And I’m in comedy. I don’t know what to say about it. I was so blind to homophobia as kid. I grew in New York. I went to Stuyvesant, a really nerdy math-science school, where no one had sex.

    When everyone asks me, was it a conscious choice to be out of the closet as a comedian, I was like, I don’t know. Was it a conscious choice to be white? I don’t know. This is just like what I bring to the table. It’s just not that big of a deal.

    And we all have the same issues. My gay married friends with kids are just as boring and annoying as my straight married friends with kids now. And I don’t want to hang out with any of them, to be honest.

    Hi, I’m Bill Eichner, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on the most difficult person I know, me.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    You can find more Brief But Spectacular videos on our Facebook page. That’s Facebook.com/NewsHour.

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