Billy on the Street
Billy Eichner has a camera, a microphone and an astounding passion for pop culture. Let him loose on the streets of New York, and you have the basis for Fuse's new game show Funny or Die's Billy on the Street.
Produced by the folks behind Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy's Funny or Die website, Billy on the Street features a hyper Eichner as he prowls Manhattan, barking questions at unsuspecting pedestrians. It's a surreal version of Cash Cab — without the cab — as these strangers are suddenly given a chance to win some money.
But there's a catch: Eichner will sometimes make up the rules as he goes along. If he doesn't like your answer, he might just walk away (as he does in the first episode, when a contestant belittles rocker Pink, a favorite of Eichner's). And in the final round of questions, the answer is subjective —as contestants must somehow agree with Eichner's opinions.
"This is a larger than life version of myself," Eichner says. "I'm pop culture obsessed, but it's definitely exaggerated for the show. I thought it would be funny if I treated celebrity and my opinion about it as if it were war journalism and the most important thing in the world."
Eichner first incorporated the idea into a live comedic stage show he did in New York. "People had a great reaction to it, and began to wait for it," he says. "We knew people liked it, but we held off putting it online for a while."
The videos became instant viral hits once they were finally posted last year, and they soon caught the attention of Funny or Die. That then turned into a pitch for a TV show, which landed at Fuse (where it debuts tonight, at 11/10c) "The savvier audience members realize that I'm commenting on pop culture and how opinionated the media-drenched personalities have become," he says. "But there are also people who just like the fact that I'm messing around with people."
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