Billy Eichner was singing before he was yelling. The star of Billy on the Street had an early love of Broadway and musical theater but, as he tells Marc, comedy didn’t come quickly. No stand-up, no improv, no sketches. Then he developed a stage show in New York and the seeds of his comedic persona were planted. Billy also talks about the new season of American Horror Story, his role in the upcoming remake of The Lion King, and the return of Billy on the Street. This episode is sponsored by Sam Morril: Positive Influence on Comedy Central, YouTube Music, Stamps.com, and Starbucks Doubleshot.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I would do this. How are you what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck, what happening a mark marin. This is my podcast wmd up. Welcome too it will show I tell ya jews happy new year? Jews non. Jews welcome two year: five, seven, seven, nine that's right year, five thousand seven hundred and seventy nine on the hebrew calendar. good morning goodwill in you get ready. a tone that comes up in you're. So this is the good times. This is the apples and honey times. This is the the time. Were you blow the chauffeur a bit show far should say not the guy driving any ways, ah yeah in sort of a jewish theme, shall I guess not real-
injured two jews on the shelf. That happens a lot, but there billy eichner on the show. Today I just got back from Minnesota is other stuff going on there. A had some good shows, but before I get, into the bulk of what I'm going to blather on about? I wanted to give a little shout out to my buddy Matt, broader human. Remember, I even though Matt braga has been on the show a couple times of funny guys he was also on my eye of sea show marin. He played the vat the veterinary and he's got a pod gaston. check out called advice from a dip shit with Matt, broader call in. They leave a message asking for advice and then mad serves them without having listened to them beforehand. So it's in the moment kind of a dear abby, if you will helping people on the many mistakes matters made along the way and his bungling life to this point. So go
check that out advice from a dip shit with matte bronzer, you get it on apple, podcasts, stitcher or wherever you get I guess mp4 format. Doing the thing. So I thought tell you about. It I am honestly exhausted because what I do is I go do these shows I was in the mini. was it acme comedy club, one of the best comedy clubs in the country and had some great shows out. There me, the guy middle was was greg coleman very funny, and the guy who hosted ali soul time funny people and it was It- was great exhausted, because what I do is I have to come back and do this on sunday, so I fly back. at very early in the morning and I don't generally sleep on the plane and I felt and I eat peanuts in whatever I do say every time I come home and I do this after a weekend aware feel I gave the fuckin flew. I don't just
tired and I gotta tell you that I hadn't done asked me, and I guess it's been a couple years in I've been doing these club dates to sort of build out some stuff in it's just it is so we're leaving and great to be doing stand up in an amazing comedy room, just an intimate tight, well worn room gag me minneapolis and I love minneapolis. I love the audiences there and I'm not just pander for no reason. I'd take. a special there that they're just at their good people their polite people. They are their cultured people, They they love, comedy they're, good audiences and Maybe it's a midwestern thing, the politeness thing, but it's it is kind of yours. I think even the assholes are kind of polite in so tat. If I'm not mistaken, maybe someone easy correct me on that in a minute certain, but In these chaotic times we strive to maintain some sort of cod.
at least rituals life, and I'm not talking religious ritual is just so. You know you every day is an odd swat of this garbage. fire of a culture right now still got a manage and, and the word manage implies. and like it, you know everything seems very a manageable. Many things are unmanageable. Many things seem completely out of our control. So Sometimes you hold on kind of tightly to the things you think you can, control he ever you just it's almost got a life preserver on some level. If you, because drowning in the chaos that is the daily news or having hard time breathing Garbage air it whatever it is. My point is the idea of managing can can be pretty tight and when you get the tight aggravated knee to manage or you need to fight the fights if they're small,
birds will shed on you. If you're walking around tied, like not life, will kick you in the groin I made that non gender specific, the groin balls well or I could have went with. You know the badge, but I did not not keeping a general? So here's the point that I'm trying to make not a prima donna. I don't live excessively I saved my money. But recently I realized hey your fee. Eighty four years old got no wife and no kids. What are you saving it for exactly So I got a house, and now I'll. Try to state and I so tell occasion fly, fly first class I can, which is always if possible, that's what I do my money, I don't buy expensive things. I buy reasonable things and, if I like them, I'll buy three or four of them examples, nike shoes, the wild horses which I you never know when nike going to not make the shoe you like any more bought three pairs of those.
waves bob Dylan record. I got five of those. Why I don't know, I don't look as I like the record. Doesn't make sense. You only need one. I got bagged up backups but point is managing tightly wrapped aggravated trying to keep it together. You know, I guess you committed. I can breathe, you can pray you can exercise. I do one of those things access he's right now, but I'm a little tightly rat. so I come in hot I'm coming in hot I gotta go the car I get to minneapolis apis. Go to the fancy hope which I'm excited about I'm checking. And I go hey, you know cause I'm. As many of you know, don t now stop the coffee and I figured out a way to ritualize. It didn't take much to you as if demands rich, as does most brewed drinks, but so got a kind of compulsive addictive personality in the idea. Bringing loose tea in plastic bags. I can row up her yet
plays into my the embassy. days, the back in the day drug bags, but I my teeth with me and I, like you, up in the room of annoying to be there for a few days with the teacher I say to the guy Anita mean you, kedo up in the room to boil waters at that will have on those enact the item this right, dad I'm like what the fuck, how the to get? You know? That's not that big, an ask. You know this. A high end hotel me what the fuck, how can you not have a goddamn water kettle to boil water? With I mean it's fucking ridiculous. I didn't say that I mean what I said was I oh really. okay, that's all that strange, okay, okay, so as a subtext, air of like eve, fucking kidding me in My brain won't. Let it go so. I said you really don't have a tea kettle, a water kettle. That seems ridiculous to me. I'd know we don't like you know they're, not that expensive. You can by m I you know you could buy. Em is for, though, tell you can have a couple, so that's all my job and I'm like alright, fine, fine
go because I didn't want to go downstairs every day want to call room service everyday day. can how waters I can make my own silly. Tea in the room go. I get in. I go to whole foods to get some almond milk and get some nuts and stuff and have them set up. I got to set up so I can have tea and snacks in the room that aren't horrible, don't have delivered to me so that I couldn't let go of the tea kettle. water kettle, the boiler- I couldn't let go of it, so I thought drop my bags in my room and I went to target. I wanted. or cause I'm like, I'm going to spend. How much could it cost for fuckin water kettle. You have for me to have for the weekend. Is it worth it just to get we and throw it away or let the fucking hotel keep it for the next people? That's the max. missing. That was in my head kind of it was kind of my head I'll. Just by the hotel, a water cattle
so I stopped out of there and I'm on my way to target I stopped at walgreens just to visit the travel size is section. I don't know why I like to go to travel size section, but it's calming to me. I do not know what it is even go to the walgreens down the street from me here and check the travel sizes, if I need anything. I think they're just some excitement I get when one. Unlike look. They make that in a little one That's a little one of those. so I got found it in the front of the travel sizes and What target I find a water kettle, The water boiler for team. Ninety nine and I bought it now when a bag of my know cause I walk in with it in plain sight, because there's theatrical envy After my spite right now, I'm fighting the fight I'm doing the righteous thing I am doing
at this hotel should have done. I'm going to make a point with the box. I didn't say that I said that no bag, thank you. I walk out of there. I got my box and I'm ready to walk in with a big fuck you to the guy who works at the hotel to the hotel itself with my boss. With my water boiler in it I am just stomping down the street from target So I was like a mile walk and I've got sweden. My head, I mean I got a plan man I locked into this. You know why Because the fucking world is on fire, everything is chaotic and out of control, things seem hopeless, but I got fight to fight here and it's a water kettle, and it's about some poor duty just works at this fucking hotel? between my head- hey heads up at hewing, maybe she get,
couple of these if you're in upscale hotel, here's a pic of the water kettle that I bought at target. So I stop away I stomp away and I'm like I'm, I'm excited. I'm focused. I am focused on the task and so I I'm about to walk into the hotel with my box in my water boiler in it and just to sort of like as I walked by the desk tilt the box. So to do tell me they have one could see it m m lit up. I'm excited about this dumb, petty victory. And I walk in and that guy's gone he's off work and where he was is that I pregnant woman seemed nice and the and I saw her the stupid
but apparently something had been communicated cause I walked in and she saw me with my box and said: oh you when, but your own ha well we found you one. We found one said: I'm just standing there and I'm like oh okay and then she says you want me to return that for you, the I live by you want me to return there for you might like so perfect. It was such a beautiful I was the asshole that stormed out to stormed out target to buy a fuckin water kettle to make a point. and because I needed one but but more to make a point and I'm going to let the pregnant woman? Take it back for me not She couldn't. But why would I let you know I'm not an ass whole. I am kind of an asshole, but I said no not take it back I'll. Take it back tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you for getting me that their water kettle, so the whole plan spoiled and I'm just humbled. I was home.
right out of my pissy bullshit, yeah, and that was how I entered minnesota it's good to be humbled. I got I got hit a couple times with the humbling, though, small things, not big things. You know whole foods, went to whole foods, india to load up on, a barn and then, like you, know a everything was just piss me off I go. I go. The whole ujian about to pay for my salad and I see a water dispense. Machine. I said I had to get water there their cup, so there is a god. That's broken. You gotta go to the other side, this there's a water fountain. You can get a cup over there and, for some reason. That again, I was just like da fuck. Am I having really I mean, why am I what pardon me. Why is it doing that, like? I quote whole foods as this I didn't say any of that. I said: okay, just over there just get the cup and go over to the other side.
so I go over there. I walk all the way across the store, like that's a big fucking deal and I get the water and then I see these adore their ego at the door. It's an emergency exit of the fuckin alarm. You boo stores whole looking at me, humbled, but again these aren't big deals, but in another point my life, if I would just skulked off- but I guess I've I've, poor confidence over the years. I can take a hit like that. I just stood there. When someone better turn that off. I think. Don't you see, Doubt stormed out of the whole foods like it was the stores fault. for having door there and one with an alarm, no es. There was another moment to like this is all in prep to the great shows that I did I needed to be can down a few notches in not to horrible ways as our line at the whole foods. In in front of me turns around once monthly turns around again. He looks me right in the face and he says wow My first celebrity sighting. I looked
and now he just turned around said nothing else. Now again, I just be the midwestern kind of didn't know what to say next thing or might be like off, and I wish it. Wasn't you those but see that me. That's my inner dialogue, so I took a few hits, but then we went did some. and they were they were productive. They were great. They were weird. Some of them dark, but they're all funny in the audiences were tremendous and I want to thank the state of minnesota and the city of minneapolis for having me like. They gave me the fucking key to the city or something so Billy Eichner got caught up on a bit of billy eichner, very funny man. I'm curious to talk to him about how he got to where he is. How did he get that tone afraid he was going to yell at me bill in the new season of american horror story apocalypse which premieres this wednesday
september. 12Th on fx, also billy on the street is returning later this year on funny or die and on you too. So look out for that. This is a me and billy eichner here in the new garage, so you travel with your assistant. Sometimes It is also a producer on billy on the street when shooting that I just like. I know people come with their people, but it seemed like she was. You know she came in the car with you and I you're dead. Do you need that much assistance? Now she's with you all day. I don't drive, you don't drive it all. That's right! Really! You don't know how to drive. Do not know how to drive. Now.
Why? Why? Wouldn't you get that out of the way I grew up in new york city? I get the ok, but but I mean I know a lot of people who grew up in new york city and then eventually learned how to drive I was not one of those people. Are you afraid of it? I think so yeah. Waited too long, and now it's like a mental thing. my head, I really I don't I don't like that. There are other people driving yeah. Wheels are blades like at all want to go like skating. Nine like knives are like that. I meant like your killer tools. I guess I don't have a ton of experience with that either, but I'm not afraid of that, like or boy, so you don't want to you. Don't want to be careening out of control right I am worried about myself and I'm worried about. You know at this point my mind: wanders a lot talking like you're ninety the
There is no way you, like my mind, wanders em, you know, and I know one I get lost thought you on hurt. Somebody will someone on the highway. I get it, but I mean of its kind missing, though about driving is at once you are and how to do it. You'll be hyper, focused, while you're learning and crazy the enemies. these he's into it? Then you just become. I guess it's just becomes an appendage. Almost I did take drivers ed. No, you did superman, yeah and then never took the actual driver's test. I was really bad at driving and I hated this is when you're fifteen, something like that really just couldn't take the stress of it. I hated it. I really hated. It one of the few- and I like, as you were terrified, I was scared, and I didn't think I had good hand eye coordination and he just couldn't manage it. I hated it. How are you on a bike? Terror? Oh, my god. I don't even go on one you're. Not
bike either. I had a bike when I was a kid, but I never go on one now yeah, but he knew how to ride that bike. For like a minute, yeah really yeah, I didn't enjoy it. Do you know how to swim? I do swim. Okay, so sure that there is some point, your childhood. That was Fine with other children? I love other children I like like playing yeah. I played some sports. Surprisingly, oh yeah, I'm not surprised! I didn't like that, but I did it. You grew up in the city the whole time. I grew up in queens queens yeah and I went to high school in manhattan, but you're like what part of queens forest hills, oh out there yeah so I still do yet exactly like that. It's always tells their jews and koreans jews and korea. So now there's a lot of like russian orthodox, really who seem jewish but they're. Just russian
and yeah I well I mean I come my Jews come from russia map of 'em yeah mine too. You can always want to identify with them like they must be like, but I find that within, like I, this armenians around here might their kind of jewish. I don't know now, that's what I mean they feel jewish nuclear. Now I think that the russians user I still out in coney island somewhere, where they I dunno? Where they're I dunno brooklyn mia? I think so. It's gotta be a big community. I think there's one here. I think the russians here are jewish down on fairfax yeah for sure I dunno I get hung up on the jewish thing, how jewish, where you are not very jewish and I was I was sort of bb. I was forced to go to hebrew school yeah. I hated it. I was bar mitzvah and then the second my bar mitzvah was over. I don't think I've been to us and I sense ray. I bet you did, that thing unless we read or write, but they have to force you when you're a kid I hated go. But you did the thing. Did you? What were you where you conservative
No, I mean form. I think I went to a conservative synagogue but ended up having more of a reform type of barmouth for service, because I just refused to do all that work. really you didn't learn socks. You didn't. I learned in a bridge diversion of a half torah, but I could. Saying really well so the synagogue was like all over me king. You know I was going to be a canter or something really I was like. I don't even believe in god- and I hate being here, but you sing in Hebrew. That's no small task! Well enough inadequately! I learned what I had to learn. They thought Can it be a cantered while they wanted me? I mean it's rare for like a boy to be able to saying how generally school yeah has a thing and voice. Not now it's good. I mean I've been the friggin lion king for remaining really yeah in the what the car, Well, they're, disney's remaking, the lion king for them
we yeah with a jon favreau's directing it like the way he did jungle book, but it's cartoon right, it's animated, but this is a you know very state of the art, digital hyper, realistic, animation. It's not like drawn like the original so okay, so it's gallo. Three little element, almost not three d but hyper Let's take I give you ve ever seen those planet earth specials battle it this animation looks that real, but it's not it's animated and you do singing and dancing or no and saying, because it's animated I know, but I thought maybe a green screen, something there might be a little moving around the character. You I'm timo me and Seth rogen or t mon em Pompa, so we sing hakuna matata. Ah, and we sing. Can you feel the love tonight? A little bit. Did you already do it? I've recorded mo did you record live with Seth? Yes, we did donald glover, simba and then beyonce's nala, but she hasn't been there when I'm.
That would be fun was donald there. He was how's, he doing he's great, so was music. Well stuff did you do that when you were younger too yeah, let's go through it, so you grew up in forest hills, apartment house, yep, small apartment, ah yeah yeah, like one of those big ones like not the big apartment, but the big complex, like the big buildings, not really a mid size, apartment, building, very middle class upbringing, nine to five parents are yeah. Would they do my dad worked as an account and for the city of new york, doing a commercial real estate tax huh. So he was like a tax ally of F's of a business to pay their tax. Is he would go and d ever have any dealings with trump, not as far as I remember. He wasn't that hi up, is he still around? No he's not the way he was older? He so he he died about six even years ago, he was eighty at alder dad for someone, my age,
how you I'm about to be forty, three do you want. He was like forty six or something then was all yeah for sure do siblings. I have one older half brother from my father's first, marriage wow, how you been friends with that guy? we're friends yeah we didn't grow up together. I was pretty much raised as an only child. He grew up with his mom and I grew up with my dad how much older he is What does he now? Like? Fifty two also older yeah, my twenty door, fifteen, twelve twelve, Well, then, we didn't grow up together. I would see him every you know. We'd see him once every couple of months: yeah what'd your mom do my mom worked for like a basically the phone company like new york telephone, which eventually became verizon yeah. So there you are basically an only child in a small apartment, forest hills, queens yet dad coming home around five six seven. someone would make you food, they would
and we're? U isolated. I gets weird. I know I had a lot of friends. I went to public schooling we're on. I went to high school in manhattan, also public school, but it was like this. specialized sort of, I guess they now call it like a magnet school at which was at stuyvesant. I've heard that the outward thin some other famous people, yeah ma, mostly non actors who are famous like a lot of people who win. You know nobel prizes and really things like that, but like whole lot of scientists and mathematicians and people who like invented robots, I dunno their names. The only actors I know who went there are me Paul azur and TIM Robbins tim ample right that he s while that's engine in that regard. Those are the only ones far as I know that I want to start I was in high school fives unless it's really a maths science school, I'm in you is a regular highschool. You take classes, you take
the kinds of classes than you. I did musicals and I did debate and all of that math science. Guy though he did, I don't I consider myself one, but I did manage to pass the test that you need to take to get into stuyvesant and he wanted to go there. Your old man wanted to go there. Now. I wanted to go there because he thought it was good school engaging the city, the great school- and I got me the city and it's the kind of school. If you get in you go yeah, it was free, it's pretty amazing so and that's where he started to to engage in the show ship element of your personality. I did that actually, from the time from an even younger age, if you are running around yelling at people on the street. I wasn't doing that, but I was singing that's what really got me into it. Your singing in junior high and elementary school. I just opened my how can I had a good singing voice? Somehow- and I was obsessed with entertainment and pop music,
You know I was in new york, my parents loved broadway. I did too so we would go see a ton of broadway, shows, and I would buy all the albums and oh really, oh yeah, what you do you remember going to your first broadway show oh yeah starlight express yeah. It was mine. I bought my boy. My mind was blown yeah and I remember, like one of the starlight express was an andrew, lloyd, webber musical for a which is a very eighties where they were all on roller skates and you're afraid of which you know I run it, I'm afraid of, but I'm not afraid of like singing on stage, but I am afraid of relics, thea and so all the whole ensemble was unroll. Escaped and select during the curtain call at the end. We were sitting like up in them as an inner something and they would sort of I roller, skate up to you and wave at all the kids in the audience and one of the dancers on roller skates. Like came right up to me and waved, and that blew my entire mind,
changing my. I wonder if that person knows that they did that here, probably not Dear musicals, frequently all the time really your parents just would take you, They love broadway. I was very, very lucky cause. I was this little pretty, probably clearly gay kid who broadway and MIKE Madonna and all these things, but my parents were very liberal new york jews who both going up in new york them algeria and loved entertainment had nothing to do with it professionally, but loved entertain and my dad in particular like loved all you know my had an older dad. He asked to him some, unlike stew, eyes and wasn't a gay thing, it's what they they played, streisand unpopularity, oh when he was a cat, her and so for him week. We know had all of these interests and common, and so we would go see a tunnel. Broadway shows- and I mean I was very lucky ear
you're lucky that you were leaning that way and had this father that was at eighty. If he died at eighty seven, he was a contemporary of Barbra streisand, so it wasn't like he was a kid when Barbra streisand. That was right. There muse it. I was his music and you know we were jews from new york, gotta love, Barbra, streisand, Barbara woody Allen and all the things we would go see Jackie mason on Broadway, my parents like flipped out over Jackie mason, what I would think about Jackie mason. Now, if I went and rewatched those shows, but at the time you know I loved the yeah, they took you. yeah. I have a problem with him. I know people don't like him, but I think it's personal but why realized later on and when I was a kid so now am I area jacket. Mason was a republic in this that, in the other thing, but as a kid I didn't know ever read me wasn't that there is always something about that needs the notion that that when you so you kind of them, aggressively define jews as a thing.
I I I hear he's used to this degree you're going to do this, the answer to that and then like junior, they go to a place. They said adding that all jews are very old school, but I usually like that, but there's something about him that I just there's there's an elitism to it with him. I I see what you well at the time when I was ten by ants, and I couldn't get enough of it. I loved anyone talking about Jews. I just wanted to see themselves it's wrong. I didn't get selected yeah sure I mean it's funny cause. I have a similar problem with Alan king and it's sort of the same thing. You know defining the middle class to reign exactly weird. I never thought about that. But there are I too What other shows did you see? Cuz, I I mean so you're you're, like almost forty. Do that many musicals by seen a few I saw there was a few know what time because my parents were paying for Did you see the black guys and dolls the blackout cowl black? I don't.
before I know what I did see was they did? A revival of guys and dolls white, unfortunately in, like one thousand nine hundred and ninety two with nathan lane, which is the first time I saw it Nathan lane and I became obsessed with Nathan, lane sure prince was in authority. Was hilarious, hilarious. way to me. I should, and ironically now a nation was the original voice of tea mon, who I'm doing the lion king torch has been passed while I wouldn't say that, but it's just a nice false. Did you see that tony kushner musical the you know he did angels in america, but that one musical, caroline or change did see. That was great, was very good. Isn't it yeah, I'm just a
Now it is trying to this share with you, the nine music, unless it be. I can't allow energy that I saw a bureau mania when I was a kid. I do not see that that was like prior to you that by a couple years, saw the magic show I will Doug Hani hug hanning. I saw that when I was a little boy yeah, I saw that one yeah, solely on real musical eastern like phantom and lame is, and all those I didn't see any of those. Well, you still can dynamic. It can also they're not going wrong. Tat a lot of them are so that real. or do you were kind of you now in in terms of of being gay. When did you know that was happening as far back as I can recall, oh yeah yeah. I remember like kind of being attracted to certain people when I was a really young kid, like I had a poster of john bon jovi in my room, bon jovi,
with you at the time. There's an imply that we are now in you. My feelings imply that I was tried to them. First, Jon. Bon Jovi, I remember you know I grew up in queens, pretty close to what was then stadiums, you're now, city field and the eighty six mats won the world series, and so we were watched base all the time- and I remember one of the first guys I was attracted to was Keith or nanda. Oh yeah, first basement for the eighty six nets, and so I must have been I grew up and I was born in seventy eight. I was eight years old and that is a vivid memory. He thought he was yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, daddy issues, everyone but well so by the time he got in high school. You you just sort of in you know I was an hour
It was like pre glee. You know we didn't all come out in high school in those days sure so I can. I wrote it out yeah I wrote it out. I mean one of the nice things about. Stuyvesant is that it was such it's for you know with all due respect, every one that goes to sti, it's a great school. It's as far as high schools go. not a typical experience where everyone there, gay straight or otherwise, is concerned about grades and essay. Tease right. I don't even know people having sex right. Even the straight people like we're all just a bunch of nerds worried about our future right and what college we're gonna get into an end in a way that was a great cloak, the owl because yeah I didn't have to think about coming out or not coming out, and I didn't have a girlfriend in high school, but that was kind of normal, but you are doing is? It goes high school. A couple yeah was that great It was like. I did guys and dolls man. I mostly my big outlet for performance in high school was speech team, which is kind of this weird, this way. What does that
steam is hard to describe your kind of travel around with the debate team, but you're not doing debate so speech team. It's up series, from categories that you can compete in there's one called dramatic interpretation. There's one called humorous interpretation you can do on with a partner called duo, your basically reacting scenes from place really. Actually you're, not writing original speech. You can't do that to their I added gory like original oratory or prose and poetry. So you can choose what cattle or you want, and then you go to others was usually kind of ritzy private schools. Even though mine wasn't and you compete against kids, basically performing like a ten minute section from a play in what You generally, I did I like competing with a friend, so I did do oh yeah, so I do
it me and my friend gene one of my best friends from high school dream perils and we did a scene from a play called love by marie shift school. And then, when I was a senior in high school, my friend katherine, I did a scene from the good doctor r, I p, Simon Simon earth has happened and that's and we would go compete and travel around and it was really fun so by you. any comedy once more. The neo Simon, wouldn't simon one of the many good last year. oh you're starting to get beginning after starting to get laughs, yeah and then my friend jean and I would would write our own extra scene. Which parodied all the other scenes, the other kids were doing like a spoof, where we would make fun of their kids that we compete against schools yeah. Do that, like the andy, where the closer? No,
Do that like in the hotel room ally, not liable to the other counting on human rights or take them by making fun of everyone right? That's where it started the original materiality exactly so after go to college. I did. I went to northwestern in Chicago I right outside of Chicago yeah yeah, and what's the name of that part of Chicago Evanston evanston, this there's a little theater there used to mainstage theatre used to play in rogers park. Oh yeah yeah, right there right down well yeah cause. I remember I stayed like the hilton in Evanston right by the school yeah yeah. So what did you study there? Theater, oh sorry is it your more math no moment no. Once I was surprised when I got into northwestern assumed I would go to nyu, but I got into northwestern and then my dad and I took a trip to visit
I sat in on an acting class at northwestern, and that was it really. I was like. Let me stop pretending, I'm going to be pre law or something you just on the spot, a little while, after that, so what will like white. What was it, what was going on the actor, I imagine they would just. It was too at two students on stage doing a scene from some chekhov player, something in the the acting if the teacher was giving them notes and really diving into it, just what I always loved to do. So that was it that was it and he stepped into as an undergrad. You studied acting theater and musical theater and and then so you got to just. Do your elect in the rest. Are you know northwestern? like a conservatory, so they still make you take. You know a bunch of
on visa related class rise, that's for me and you also have to take consistent may design exactly just sitting. Here is a pre walk of exact yeah. Sorry, I had to take lightened modern chinese poetry. I led a highly care about, but you have to choose out one that I have been moderate chinese poachers not forced upon us by the no its not done something less tearing. I took it because you really did it can I I did, but I think it was because everyone said it was easy and you can get away with not doing anything. Oh it wasn't some weird. Some weird, some actual interested I had in now. Unfortunately, there are some interesting things lino in associated gee, I mean if north western area professors and so in terms of the experience you got the theatrically What was the focus? How did it work? How is the what was the and I had an acting class every day for one forgetting who's a while.
for an hour or hours with the same act and teacher every day here, three years, while I was there the addition to please you do extracurricular lee whether those were directed by tee. these are student play. There's a lot of student theatre. There, you know, friends who would write a musical we put on the musical or we would just do little shop of hard in or more typical show and I had a. I was really really lucky. I had a great great, acting teacher mary Poole, who still and fun fact is that in short, and I were in acting class together every day for for a really yet kristen an eye reduce like wolves Would you like to scenes from blood greek? Try? did he might have, and I really wish we had. I phones bag balance. We have, video of her? How can she not be funny she?
great yeah. He was grey easily. I read, I was doing serious yeah. She really was the uno. I know it's hard to think of it now. Yoke is were both so known for being wacky comedy people yeah. We really we really took it seriously and were you did you do big plays like sure like a like, or is it all just sort of acting class? Did you guys? Oh yeah? We did I haven't you know it was a while ago yeah we I do we do. I did like a land for wilson play. I we reduced, carbon, and we would do you know big music, as you know it was it was there was so much going on there. There is also a huge improv scene, which strain in chicago northwest area and in chicago, but at northwestern you know which Seth Meyers had been a part of, and myers and Julia we drive and kristen schaal big part of it when we were there and I had no part of it. I didn't have much of an interest in that. At that point so you didn't do it at all. Now, no comedy
really I was. I was funny in a pleasure or I use a goal, but no improv no stand up no sketch. Should you go to seven will forgive see, plays in in the city at all easily I hear so. Where does things change you graduate them? What do you do? I gotta know go back to new york. Yeah queens I know. I shared like a small apartment with friends in Manhattan earth and go actually york and a couple of years of doing the struggling actor thing and not getting work illegally. Glacier nearing and doing like we're off broadway share with my friends, and I wish her head and not the weird, but you know weird children's theatre thing. Dna What are we gonna, which shows this year? My friends, I would write original children's theatre show emilie oriented shows, and I would ask you to be it in what I am I doing so I did that and then
A few years of that, I thought that I was not going to get anywhere just waiting in line. With a bunch of you know, equity actors at some open call off where no one is really getting cast anywhere. and so I thought or I will what separates me from other people. I guess I'm people sam funny or go to where the funny people go, and so I went to u c b it took all the classes and now you're doing improv doing it yeah. I I liked the classes. I still really have much of a desire to join and improv team yeah. You know I I really. I mean it's an incredible skill right. Obviously I just it was my scene really. I was decent at it, but it just wasn't how I got off, create It really wasn't fun for you to be in the moment. What did you prefer at that point if you're taking classes at u c b, I was just kind of trying to find my way. I also talk took this very
Strange like evening stand up comedy class with who scott blakeman Is this guy named Steven rosenfeld, oh yeah and he was a very nice man and I just saw an ad and backstage stand up comedy classes. I took that class action with that was like it was like a premise for a bad sitcom Stephen. I'm really sorry because you were so nice, it wasn't you. It was just a very bizarre group of people, it was like you know. Elderly retired, ladies looking to do something, fun really awful be young stand, and then some really, but the reason I took it is because I wanted someone to force me to write. I know it I have the discipline and I thought, if I sign up for a class, even if it was weird I would have to write we're compelled somehow to do stand up a bit. I was just test the waters. I knew I was funny or people said I was funny, but
I didn't know where I belonged in the world of comedy like the opera comedy outside of being funny in theatre righteous, really what felt comfortable. sure someone else's words right, but I wasn't getting work right, and so I thought well, I gotta figure out make my own work, and that was a stepping stone towards all that and Steven was real great. I didn't really even know him for that long, but could I took out on eight weeks of classes or something like that and then never went back, but he encouraged me to stick with it. you know- and I remember teachers that used to be Paul. Scheer was like to teach her her mind. I e z, b and Michael Delaney, and all if guys are really nice, they don't know who I was, I just a kid in their class, but they were really encouraging. So what was your in the comedy class, I'm curious which one stephen rosenfeld come. Oh boy. You know he would well. Maybe this did end up applying to me based on my work, but you know, I remember one thing he said was: if you don't know what to write about, find something
angry about and right about that, and anger did end up factoring heavily into my act so into the street, where it was in a in a in a pseudo way, sure, but did you ever would usually with those classes. Yet you know the pay up. As you get to perform yeah you did. He know you had a do like some weird show it like five, thirty p m carolines or something over and bring your friends and make them pay for it That was one of those you did. Those until you tried stand up a hand and fall of time. Yeah it never in a real club or never I mean never for real audience or I dunno what you mean by real audience. Maybe I can add on and at night I nodded I wouldn't go and like hang out at New york react stand up new york and I wait to get a slot. That environment did not feel comfortable to me sure yeah I'd, so you take the classic.
Taking the, but you never did you eventually get into an improv group or no I didn't want to be performing improv, went through what two years of an ivy for there's like four classes. The time maybe now there's more there. it means. I think there were four levels and I did it all and I was like okay. I did that I get what this is. You did stephen rosenfeld and I took the comedy comedy institute and then I thought alright. What am I going to do with all of this? So I started writing my own show. Yeah became a show called creation nation which was like a lie I've have talk, show I loved talk, shows right right. I loved late night. Talk shows I liked. I grew up obsessed. It's like regis and kathie Lee yeah. I liked all talk, show and so Kathy Lee, oh she's, fantastic lover. Oh yeah, I used to watch her years ago, was sort of a
the pleasure where you would just watch the way she talked about her kid. Yeah cody was that one eighth, as a few cassidy ash, as if but nope when I was watching the casing that she would talk about cutting like this kids in trouble kids actually are doing pretty well, but I don't really know, but I still of cathy- and I was obsessed with those shows again, they felt like show business to me here and so, but no one was giving me a tv show. Obviously, so I created my own version of a late night talk show to do on stage creation. Nation is called creation. Nation, it was alive, show alive, show and you were doing it where eusebio were going to put it up. We, ended up. Do I eventually ended up doing a version of it at Ucb, but first I was playing small perform spaces downtown. bars, and then we moved to a theater on fifty fourth street called nova. The ars Nova was a huge part
I have my development. Isn't that playwrights theater ars nova or is it just a theater? They do plays there too? Oh, they do yeah, they do all kinds of performances and Saul was performing there, two brigitte ever it started out there Lin manuel miranda and his his. Yet this way I haven't gary. We manage absolutely, let's play hive carly mensch we're doing, plays there beau willimon liz meriwether tommy Kalen women, while we were all there at the same time, doing different types of shows an ars nova was huge from it was there is a community around. There was yet and it was it was for a lot of people. It was for a lot sue kind of felt stuck between the traditional kind of stuffy theater world, which wasn't ready for us and comedy world. That was a bit you know for lack of a better word like hetero normative or something like I didn't feel there was. There was a place.
mean that world none not just because of gay thing, but also just sensibility wise again, like I didn't really want to be on an improv team. I appreciated the skills that that took to be good at it. It wasn't creatively satisfying for me you're theatre guy, I'm a theatre guy yeah I mean losing carly. I work with them among glow of eggs. Oh that's right! So I've talked to them, isn't that I had when manuel miranda on here too yup I dunno. If we talked a lot at ars. We must have, though, so that was, exciting bunch of people yeah and they were so wasn't were what a founding member or shortly thereafter, I'm not a founding member nova had been there a few years. Long though right cause, I don't know, maybe they started, I dunno two thousand and three or there's an artistic director of ars Nova who's. Still there his name is jason egan. Every everyone I mentioned jason is pretty much responsible. finding somewhere somehow reading their work and bringing them into hours. No, it's exciting, so
was there? Did you guys I'll see each other? it kind of Dgs each other show absolutely yeah we were, we were all in and out you know, ars nova would do these like late night kind of Vaudeville inspired variety shows yeah, where I would come out and do fifteen minutes or I would show you know I was doing what would become billions ST videos, as part of my life, show that's where billy on the streets started. So there show was you would host a talk? Show yes and I brought in my friend robin taylor has now on gotham. As my sidekick I and musician friends from northwestern to be my pulse band. I would sing songs. I would do so a topical monologue. I would write about the news I would get friends to whoever ike to be my quote: unquote celebrity guest. Sometimes it was just a friend
who is in the onset of a broadway show or, however, I could fake as a celebrity guest and adventure. I would rant and rave about pop culture. I am crazy, movie reviews crazy musical numbers. Whatever I wanted, I could do and as part of that I started We have all been to this persona who was getting as that as evening went on just more and more irrationally angry about celebrity and that turned into hey what if we go on the street and I kind of do what I'm doing on stage but in someone's face and see how they react, and so my friend jane sancho, who is directing the show? We got a duck, a camera from radio, go wherever and a cheap microphone
we went out and just started filming these interviews with people on the street and having no idea if any of it was going to be worth something right and we would cobble together into a five to seven minute video, not that, unlike the things I still do and we would show it on a screen at ars Nova. There was a screen you could use and from the first time he ever showed it. It got a huge response: yeah people just like this weird thing and It's a it's. A what's interesting to me is the evolution of the character. As a you can drop right into it. Now. You know you know where that guy live totally but but it's something that evolved on stage on and then on the street. You know when I it's like what they would like, but the actual. of doing a variety show we're doing a talk, show, yeah and then eventually destructive, coming unhinged right that bill If there was a built, there was an absolute built started off. I would come out
be some sort of opening theme song. I would do a topical monologue, but I was screaming and yelling All I mean it was performative, but it was not over the top and over the course of this eighty ninety minute show I would kind of unravel yeah and the bill every time while about different topics, but it with it would have the same are clear so the show really was. It was always hard to define because it it was a comedy show it didn't, have the depth of a play, but it had theatrical elements to it and a kind of you on a sorry. If this were a journey yeah from my point, eight a beat a sea in terms of what my character, a persona was going through nor I ended, but this was something that you knew sort of you crafted the trajectory beforehand to like you wrote it in. You said we're gonna end up exactly
if you knew the arc after a certain point, is all scripted so right, so the comedy was like I'm going to lose my shit over this ridiculous interact this month this month, it's going to be about johnny, yeah, I would do these very long, long rants about about celebrities who, at the time you know now Johnny has issues, but at the time he was very viewer leah. No one would talk. He was so cool was so tat. They any was all those things, but I would and reason to get in credit We angry at him yeah and I would lash out at him on. age and andy be was just one of the people. You know every month it with some one else right. It's I like the organic process of it, so I you the beginning of creating the shows that wasn't the or were they always like that or did that surround that found itself as we went yeah yeah, I don't know what at the beginning that we get to kind of doing a straight up. Talk show like you just yet
if there was a lot of satire in it always you know. American idol was a big thing at the time we're talking two thousand and four or two thousand and three so We did a segment called american actor where we were going to find the next american act or so we, you know we which sounds kind of hack now, but american idol had just come out here You know we were always satirizing celebrity and tv, but the persona really took shape between like three and oh five. When I got to ars Nova, it really started to hit its stride. Wow because, like when I watch the streets, the street great, it's like you any sort of. Interaction you're entering it's such a pitch. They hurt so what you sort of overtime was just get rid of the build up and you just exist totally
I exist that priority rationally angry yeah from the ghek. Sometimes there is a build up its not be no when people about billy on the street. They lean very heavily into oh, he screaming he's the guy who shouts all the time. If you really watch here, not shouting all the time but but there it does get to a point where I am. said the timely reminder. Work as I like that, there's a there's, a few people that have done that over as comedic persona is jean wilder. Did that yeah, like you know, there's a bill theirs build and is really important. so I've. Oh, I ve never taken my hands off of the editing of the show us so much of it is in the editing and in the bill, so you're doing like how many siri have you. Ve been on like where, where we are with that, we are building on the street, had five seasons of half hour episodes on tv after well going farther back. doing the videos from I live. Show you two
came along, I was putting the as on youtube, they went viral giddy, yet how all of them, one by or so the segments of the whole shows just that those street video, so that was so. You sort of youtube at that time. How break you a bit? Oh, ought not a bit a lot, yeah I think I would have had a career without you too, but not only youtube, but then I needed facebook twitter to come along to give me a platform to share that youtube link. You too, wasn't enough so like there were two like I got millions of views. There was like two that I did that that god they probably have milk now, but I like hundreds of thousands and they played particularly well to people in the industry because they're about the industry yeah yeah right sure. So because I had Lots of agents come to creation nation. My live show before I had before youtube. Really where I had viral videos, and you know there were huge
goes about my shown, the new york times, and everyone was very complimentary, but no one knew quite well with you with all of the s: So what you two videos allowed me to do is to go in and say: hey while you dont know what to do or you think like all this person's knock and I get mere that persons are going to get me. Were five hundred thousand people my video yesterday, so I ought to be worth something what year was that this was like oh nine haha, and then funny or die got in touch with me fairer at funny or die the sea, oh yeah, and he reached out and said he loved. My videos If I was looking for videos- and they were for video, and I was pretty desperate at this point really answer. Lies money wisely lifelike life money wise all of it wise and was mine
said if you're ever in l a come and talk to me. So I just lie, then said- oh I'm in l a two week who, incidentally, which was not at all- and I put a plan to get on our credit card and crashed with some friends out here and went to see MIKE and I said to him. I think he interested in. Maybe me doing the videos exclusively for funny or die or something like that, which would have been fine except. I said I have another idea. I want to turn it into a tv show. I think I have how this could work as a half hour series This is a real for it to prove how that would work. We added some very loose game, show elements to at least giving away small prizes and doll bills and weird prizes of people operator than that and we sort of pitch the idea that could be a celebrity element with celebrities running around with me, which wasn't in there at the time like that, will farrell one yeah. I mean now it's what it's known for
by their weren't any celebrities, and I don't know any of those people the early one, a narrowly one with a low marilyn will was in it pretty early and that one without the look on the woman's face at the end of that oh she's, so great yeah, she's, so great, never forget that! and actually the first so anyway. So MIKE and I picked the tv show and we sold it then we made three seasons of half hour. Episodes for this very small cable network called fuse and then we moved and did seasons foreign five on true tv here and which were pretty successful? And you know the show have growing and growing. I had a very odd trajectory at like right out of it No one really knew what it was were very under the radar, but I started doing segments for conan and I don't know, this kind of snowball and we just kept at it. The video started going viral, these celebrity video yeah and then after.
In five. I said that I think was enough. A half hour episode what we're doing now. I wanted to end the half hour episodes so that I could do other. Where was the last network they were on to tivo is true, okay and also they were on hulu and so and of course, there There are a million clips on youtube, which is how people were really watching it for the most part, and so I thought I dunno if I want to keep doing half hour episodes but I also don't want it to go away completely, and so we're. Doing now is we're going to put out a series of eight billy on the street short form videos, each with a different, pretty gas between now and a year from now funny funnier, is producing them. They're, going to be on the internet on the billy on the street, youtube channel on all my social media platforms for free and were strangely enough doing it in partnership with lyft. How does that work so they
if they ponied up and you're going to have lift cars. There are no. There are no lift cars. It's not a typical brand integration like that. That would be lame, and I can't do that at this point, whether and money or their india. They threw in some money and they're presenting it it's great. It really worked out. So this is eight episodes over year of short form, video correct. So what else doing I am in the lying. I know that, but that seems like american horror story. Oh that's right! Yeah, yeah, they're, difficult peoples done difficult people's done. We love doing that show Julie, wrote on Billy on the street and that's We really I mean urge other. I we I mean I've talked to her and we kind of no each other. I was six years I mean, but that's that she do that too people are picky good, taste, julie's again nessie honestly, and we I knew her work from the internet honestly really and then yes, she, I think at some point, Julie, hadda, a tumble
or a blog or something. This is going way back. Of course she was on twitter and I thought who is this person? We had such a symbol, sensibility- and I didn't really know her and then when billy on the she became a tv show. I thought. Oh, I need people to help me with this. I can't do all this myself in in terms of writing and coming up with bits. Questions yeah. So Julie was the first person yeah. I e mailed and I said please come work on this with me and she was a fan and she Steady ass and we got really close working on that and then a cup. Well years later after doing that, she wrote a pilot that she told me was for her and I to do which Amy Poehler I'm on board and that became difficult people and waited three seasons of that formula, the people of it. Yet they did a mighty that stop. You have to ask all of that question who is making big decisions, yahoo
making lots of decisions, no, I mean we loved. It was a very specific show. And the people who got a really really got it, and it's sad that it's over. I think it spoke to a certain audience that doesn't really get catered to very much sure. No, I think that's true yeah difficult people yeah exactly difficult difficult. It is selfish, narcissistic, horny, gay men and the women who love them. Are you yeah, it's very specific. So when you you act now I mean what other the if you're coming your way, I mean the lion king's a big deal, I mean that's a voice project, but does that happen I mean the lion king, ah Jon Favreau's, directing it and he's a fan of yours in atlanta. While I know I didn't have to audition for it, he favour got in touch with me way back. He was a pretty early adopter to Billy on the height and he was a big fan.
And I met him at out by south a number of years ago briefly and then I've been on his radar, I guess, but the call came completely out of the blue spun yeah, it's pretty exciting exciting and I'm doing american horror story. I did it last season and I'm on again this season and it's a great cast of people. Sarah Paulson obviously kathy bates I love ryan murphy, a you know it. So that's that's! A very different type Thank you and that's really fun. That's a trick! That's like how do you know how that season works. I mean I don't know how that your work is. Like it is a different. Every see the andersson anthology rise airy so every year, the plot and the character to change. But there is always some holdover in terms of cast right, and writers and the inner the behind the scenes. People stay the same, but the characters, change and the story changes. The theme, the you know, the location,
it's one of those ones where I've heard great things about it, but I can't like I can't follow everything growth is a lotta guy with him. It too many issues. So, what's I dream now I mean outside of doing yelling at people on the streets with that show, but I mean like, would you want to do it? big movie, where you sort of have a second leave guiding second laid waste, they can lead yeah. I know I'm actually I'm working on a movie project right now. You can be the lead if you want I want to take that. Why would I write a movie where I wasn't fully man and say right and then cast? Oh I'm going to cast myself as the lead to okay, some working on a movie project. Now that I guess we'll be announced soon. I don't think I can talk about it yet, but only of people you ve heard of. Hopefully that will get me. That sounds great people. I've heard that you ve heard of man who once people you haven't heard of, but sometimes are surprising
once in a while, the solemn, I'm working on that I'm doing my first netflix special, which will come out next year at some point really, the so as that would second to be, that will will in a way can a harking back Harkin yeah we're too at the zoo, my life's creations, immigration issue. It won't be exactly that. I don't it's not going to be in the form of a talk show, but it will have very variety elements and be very unique to me. You don't have a plan and I'm a structure there. the structure I am working on it, but you know I saw a really as surprise Servicetitan Barbra streisand is has a small but pivotal role But then there is no traditional like sit down celebrity interview, you might there be cameos, perhaps mia? Ok, okay, alright,
but it's easier going to be a live stage show it will be a stage show with a video elements with video elements you know it. I get it so you and I here right. I do strangely I am. How long have you lived out here? Once I got parks and wreck, I started to come out here. A law also, we ve always edited billy on the street out here. Bs funnier dies based out here, so that saved us some money. So that brought me out here and I ended up liking it and then american our story happen that shoots out here. So I've been going back and forth a lot for five years and then for the past year. I've been out here most of the time, obviously going back to shoot occasional billy on the street and also among friends from college on netflix that shoots in new york to two. Is that still going yeah, we just shot the second season, I'm just recurring on that. You liked doing that one! It's very fun! Yeah! I play fred savage's boyfriend yeah, we're a gay couple, yeah fred's great,
he is good. Do you like living here? I do I mean I grew up in new york city, so this is a nice change of pace, yeah, it's relaxing and all the cliched reasons. People like it and can learn how to. DR to know, but no that's. The greatest thing is that I get to live in l and I don't have to do the one thing everyone complains about which is dry. We still gotta get in the car, but I sit there on my phone like a millennial, wonderful millennia, do you have a relationship? I am currently single yeah. Okay, do you have a relationship? I do okay, good! I we don't live together, that's probably good yeah. I think it's I think the best way. Yeah like I think I don't agree with you like if they have their own place and they're cool and they're. You know they got their own thing going on and you know they get it's much better, the best read an article. You know the fast designer isaac Mizrahi. I this. a few years ago in the new york times, and he talked about him and his partner. I guess I don't know if they're married,
and they lived together. Technically in manhattan, obviously these are wealthy people who are privileged, but they live together, but two bedrooms and they don't necessarily sleep together every night and eyes except. Oh, I like to late at night and he gets up early and I was like that is ideal right I don't wanna pretending they are on the same clock a year and also I just strike. What? If I don't know man, so you get older, your habits, get more define. You know it's sort of like what do we need the we have each other as all attack exactly exactly and right there and a painting each other, resentment that builds. I guess, if you have a kid it's different, what they are eating, then I mean everyone can ever own room, that's her at the gate the the that, add, however, actually weathering the. However, it's situated buddy. Well, it was great talking to you thanks for having good luck with the thing. Thank you. Do you have any questions for me: how's how's, glow, going oh pretty good. We got picked up
At thirty I saw congrats and you're a nominated for an emmy. The glow the show is, the show is yes, I didn't get a nomination, I'm okay with about that. It's alright I've kind of like one, but but I think, as you not get one last year, I got no I got the these means are still feeling nominated for something an and a critics choice a nominal. Well, that's great, but I mean you're still for the first season right I mean this is two thousand, because if this isn't just kay right. You know right so so stove for last year right for two thousand and seventeen, that's a good question. I dunno, when the cut off date is, I think, you're right about that yeah. Yeah. I think I was better this season. Well then, we'll find out we'll see I mean alms are announced for next year or so, but who is entirely up to him? I talked to you they're fantastic. I know them for a long time and not well, but I know them
there are around they see their plays. I did sometimes hear the good. They were excellent. Ok, you don't get it right. Oh for nothing mark exactly man, alright, see you later thanks so much that's it. As I said, lookout for more billy on the street and also american horror story, apocalypse is Wednesday September 12th on fx interesting to see someone who becomes a very defined comic personality and he just started as an actor and just found it somehow yeah yeah yeah are we going to play? Are we gonna play yeah array? I know you just begging me he's just begging me. I I
in the the I the I I, The the the. Boomer lives.
Transcript generated on 2022-07-18.