Finally, Billy is the one answering the questions. Luckily, they come from Julie Klausner.
Julie Klausner: Hello Billy! How are you today?
Billy Eichner: Hey Julie! I'm great! On a plane from NY to LA. I'm watching America's Funniest Home Videos. This show is great. Plus I'm on sexy, edgy Virgin America so I'm also ordering a chickpea wrap and fingering myself.
JK: You grew up in New York City, or "Forest Hills, Queens," which is home to many rabbis, senior citizens, and perverts. Could Billy On The Street take place in any other city, or is there something special about NYC and its inhabitants that makes the show special?
BE: I always say that the real stars of Billy On the Street are its incredible, unpredictable contestants, better known as the people of New York City (and the occasional tourist). It's hard to imagine BOTS without them, and who'd want to? Besides Disney's Imagineers. That said, it'd be fun to experiment in other cities and I look forward to doing that at some point soon!
JK: Who do you think has a dirtier butthole, Daniel Tosh or Jodie Sweetin? Do you think Daniel Tosh calls his asshole his "Tosh.O"?
BE: Can I do a write-in vote for Serena Williams?
JK: Yes. Do you ever get nervous before you approach a stranger for the show? Did you used to? Do you ever feel guilty or invading people's space outside, even though it's for a good cause-- the cause of comedy?
BE: I don't really get nervous anymore but I did when I first started. I used to have to circle the block three times before I'd go up to anyone. Now I could probably walk right up to an old lady and dive into her vagina. (I won't.) Do I ever feel guilty? Not really, because I don't ever go up to anyone who I don't think is physically and/or mentally prepared to handle it. And if I notice that they are, I'll politely end the conversation and move on to the next person. And nobody gets on the TV show without signing a release so its really up to them in the end.
JK: Haha. "In the end." What do you think Goldie Hawn regrets most?
BE: That time after a Laugh-In wrap party when she found herself in Lily Tomlin's sling. By the way, have you ever noticed that Lily Tomlin looks a wee bit like Javier Bardem?
JK: I have not! But thank you. Do you know Jay Leno wears the same thing every day? A denim shirt and jeans from Sears? How do you feel about that?
BE: I did not know Jay Leno wears the same thing every day but IF IT AIN'T BROKE, PLEASE DON'T TRY TO FIX IT.
JK: What kind of underwear do you think he puts on underneath those dungaroos? I've decided to call dungarees that from now on.
BE: If I had to guess I'd say that Jay Leno probably wears tighty whities, as does his wife Mavis.
JK: Fat Kathy Najimy versus Thin Kathy Najimy: Does it make a difference?
BE: I'll take Kathy Najimy any way I can get her. As long as Margaret Cho is happy, I'm happy.
JK: You are a gay person. And you are in comedy, which, until Bridesmaids turned everything around and retroactively made it so that Native American people were able to vote around the turn of the century and global warming never existed, was a pretty straight dude-dominated world. Do you think that comedy is getting to be more gay-friendly or woman-friendly as more people like us prove that we are actually gorgeously talented? Or is it a matter of audiences outgrowing institutions that are not longer relevant and would never hire us in the first place?
Just kidding. Yeah, I think it's partially that the world and the culture evolves and people have a hunger for new voices and fresh ideas and original, funny material. It's refreshing to viewers. People want something new and they want something funny. It's as simple as that. If we're not seeing those types of shows, it's because the "industry" is always underestimating the audience. So yes, to your point, old people are awful and must die immediately. Do not resuscitate! And I'm really proud that so far Billy on the Street has had an incredibly broad audience - in fact, more straight guys watch than women or gay guys. Black, white, straight, gay, Democrat, Republican - everyone just wants to get quizzed in the face!
JK: Have you ever seen Nunsense?
JK: Good. Please cast The Breakfast Club with black actors. Judd Nelson should be Don Cheadle, I think.
BE: Well I haven't seen The Breakfast Club in many years but black people love breakfast so I think it's a good idea. I see Kimberly Elise in the Molly Ringwald role and I think the Ally Sheedy part should be played by Reggie Watts.
JK: I disagree, but fine. Fuse is a music channel for young people. Do you know more about contemporary music than you did before you began working there? Who is David Guetta and what is a Skillrex?
BE: I've always been a big pop music fan so that's nothing new for me. I know everything about music. For instance, David Guetta is a DJ and probably the hottest remixer in the world right now and I'm pretty sure that Skrillex can be used instead of a traditional mop.
JK: What advice would you give a young person, once you are done having sex with him, who wants to be a comedian one day with his own TV show?
BE: Well, I'm sure it's not that different from advice others would give (I'm looking at you, Rachel Bilson!). We all know it's a very difficult career blah blah blah. But the great thing about being a comedian, sketch performer, etc is that, unlike some of our serious actor friends, we don't have to wait around begging people to give us a part. We can always be performing, blogging, tweeting, putting videos online etc. And that's a great thing. I wouldn't have a show if it wasn't for Youtube, Facebook, etc. My only semi-unique advice regarding that may sound obvious but it's true - make sure you work really hard on those videos, shows, etc. Don't just go throwing shit online because you can. Everybody has complete access to everything you do at all times. So work your ass off, make sure more people than just you and your friends think it's funny and make sure you can get behind the work you put out there. Oh - and lose weight! Lose, like, a shit ton of weight.
This article was originally published March 2012