Billy Eichner has always marched to the beat of his own drum. However, despite being a massively successful actor, television host, and comedian now, this isn’t how he grew up. The rambunctious star of the hit series Billy on the Street spoke with fellow comedian Pete Holmes about his Jewish upbringing. However, when it came time for his Bar Mitzvah, a young Eichner wanted to do something a little bit different than expected.
Who is Billy Eichner?
Eichner first got his start in his native New York City. He hosted the popular Creation Nation live talk show before getting the eyes of entertainment executives. Eichner’s first major gig was on Conan as a special correspondent, according to NPR. This led the way to other television work, most of it using Eichner’s natural charm and comedic timing on the streets and in the studio.
However, his most significant break came in 2011, when he started Billy on the Street, a talk show in which Eichner quizzed people on the street about their pop culture knowledge, often with someone involved with the question’s subject standing by his side. It was more of a comedy sketch than anything else, but the lighthearted take on the concept was a hit.
Billy on the Street lasted for five seasons across three different networks and platforms. As a result, Eichner began getting bigger roles in other projects. Fans who do not know Eichner might recognize his voice, as he played Timon in 2019’s Lion King remake. Now a household name, Eichner’s penchant for theatrics goes back to his childhood.
As a gay, Jewish child growing up in New York, Eichner’s bar mitzvah was a way for him to pay respects to both these staples of his life growing up. A passionate fan of theater and pop culture, he began to weigh his options. He spoke about this on Holmes’ podcast.
“The bar mitzvah that I had was not technically Madonna-themed,” said Eichner. “I could not decide whether the theme should be Broadway, which I was very into at the time and still am, or pop music, which I was very into at the time and still am. I was much an MTV-obsessed kid.”Drawing from the theatrics, Billy decided to blend the two conflicting worlds into a wild celebration.
“So, the theme became Broadway meets pop music,” Eichner told Holmes. “Just to made things even gayer and also thematically so unyielding, like those two things … It’s so inelegant. So if you wanna go one step further, and one day I will do a comedy special and actually show the footage from this because people will not recover from it. It’s truly a miracle I wasn’t bullied more as a child. I think it’s because I was tall. I was very gay but very tall.”
Luckily for him and audiences everywhere, Billy’s act was a hit from an early age, and his unabashed way of being who he is resonates with a diverse audience. Billy on the Street is on hiatus after a short-form final season, but the actor is still busy working on projects across the gamut.
What is Billy Eichner up to?
Fans of Eichner’s can look forward to his role in the upcoming FX drama American Crime Story: Impeachment, reports Deadline. There, Eicher will appear as right-wing journalist Matt Drudge. Other than that, he keeps a steady stream of voice work, guest work, and other avenues that let him display his full personality.
Eichner’s story shows that some people have that penchant for stardom years before it comes into fruition. Now bigger than he’s ever been, Eichner keeps getting new and exciting work thanks to his natural talent. Now, we can only wait and see what’s next. Hopefully, it will involve that infamous video of his Broadway and pop-themed Bar Mitzvah.