Billy Eichner’s Top 5 ‘On the Street’ Segments You’ve Never Seen
Billy Eichner’s had a busy year so far — he’s joining the cast of American Horror Story Season 7, and Hulu hit Difficult People is back this August! (In the new season, Billy gets a boyfriend — John Cho!) And while Billy on the Street may have wrapped up for the year last month, he just appeared on Sesame Street. So we thought we’d take a look at some of our favorite times Billy visited other streets, literal and figurative.
1. Billy Heads to Sesame Street
When he’s on Billy on the Street, Billy Eichner can be a bit of a jerk — a hilarious jerk. But on Sesame Street he’s softened the character a little bit. It might be surprising to hear that Billy’s looking for kindness, but it still works. With Cookie Monster in tow, he asks the various Muppet characters on Sesame Street “For a Dollar…”-style questions, but instead of dollar bills, the prizes are cookies. We particularly love the scenes with Grover and Mr. Johnson — and the surprisingly sweet ending.
2. Billy and Elena Meet Big Bird and Michelle Obama
Cookie Monster isn’t the first Muppet Billy Eichner’s befriended. In 2015, he brought along Billy on the Street favorite Elena to help Michelle Obama and Big Bird promote healthy eating. Obama and Big Bird are utterly charming, though it’s funny to see the then-FLOTUS jump when Billy raises his voice. This Funny Or Die-produced short is almost 13 minutes long — a little more than half a normal episode of Billy on the Street, so perfect to get your Billy fix while we wait for the show to come back.
3. Billy’s First Visit to New York Fashion Week
Not everyone knows that Billy on the Street started out as a segment on Creation Nation: A Live Talk Show. (You’re forgiven for not knowing — it was not a TV or even internet show — it was a New York stage show.) As Creation Nation gained attention, Billy started recreating his Billy on the Street segment for other outlets. In 2007, Radar Online sent him to cover New York Fashion Week. (He’d later cover NYFW for the television series.) The “Billy” character isn’t quite formed yet — this version of Billy still insults his interviewees, but he’s not nearly as high-strung. This version of Billy feels much closer to the real Billy Eichner — still hilarious and entertaining, but not quite who we know from Billy on the Street.
4. Billy on the Streets of Forest Hills
While Billy doesn’t yell at anyone in this clip, this parody of “New York State of Mind” was still shot on the streets of New York — so close enough. Eichner has re-written the lyrics to be about the predominantly Jewish Queens suburb Forest Hills. Brilliant rhymes like “The kids at Stuyvesant / We’re nerdy and zitty / They make the kids on Glee / Look like the cast of New Jack City” combine with Rachel Dratch ably singing the hook for a must-hear spoof. And there’s a brief look at Bar Mitzvah Billy at the end!
5. Billy at the Madonna Super Bowl Halftime Show
Billy reprised his Billy on the Street schtick for Conan O’Brien in 2012, who sent him to yell at Super Bowl-goers about Madonna. The fun really begins, though, when Billy gets field access to yell at cheerleaders, NFL officials and football players. Perhaps one day he’ll get to fulfill the dream of yelling at Madonna herself.
BONUS #1: Billy Can SING.
It’s not Billy on the Street, but he rarely sings on that show — which is surprising because he’s got an amazing singing voice. In “Glitter and Ribs,” Billy shows off his chops on this song he wrote for Taylor Swift. Sadly, Swift has so far declined to sing it — even after Billy went on Conan in an attempt to reach out to the star.
Bonus #2: Billy (Not) on the Russian Street
As it turns out, there’s a Russian remake of Billy on the Street. (We’re surprised too.) The Running Thousand (Бегущий косарь) stars Alexey Zhirov, who asks passersby questions for 1,000 rubles. (That’s about $18, American, a significant increase from Billy’s normal prize of a dollar.) The Running Thousand debuted last year and is already in its fourth season, airing Monday through Thursday. But to American ears, Zhirov is very low-energy compared to the original host, and the show seems very low-key. (And we bet that Zhirov doesn’t make nearly as many references to gay culture as Billy does, due to the homophobic laws in Russia.)