Catch up with Eichner’s breakthrough series as it heads to Hulu.
Hulu subscribers who like yelling, rejoice. Comedian Billy Eichner is taking the show that made him famous, Billy on the Street, to the same service that hosts his sitcom, Difficult People. From Funny or Die, to Fuse, to TruTV, Eichner’s “game show” has seen a lot of platforms, but soon you’ll be able to watch all four seasons in one place, with new episodes likely to arrive on Hulu next year.
In the meantime, here are 12 essentials from Billy on the Street’s first four seasons to get you started.
1) ‘Christmas Carol Ambush with Amy Poehler!’
Eichner can be abrasive, to say the least. So it’s perfectly understandable if Billy on the Street is not your cup of tea. That said, it’s probably pretty hard not to find at least some small amount of joy in watching Eichner and the always wonderful Amy Poehler demanding that startled New Yorkers sing Christmas carols with them. Poehler (who also produces Difficult People) is the kind of performer who brings an irrepressible energy to everything she does, and as both a guest on Eichner’s show and his boss on Parks and Recreation, she is a likable antidote to Eichner’s irascibility. Most of the people Eichner picks in this segment also really look like they’re having fun. After all, who wouldn’t want to sing Christmas carols with Eichner and Poehler? And finally, Poehler has the best reaction of any of Eichner’s guests when it comes to not getting recognized: “You don’t know me? YOU KNOW ME!”
2) ‘Would You Have Sex with Paul Rudd?’
OK, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, and yes, the premise is a little creepy. But thanks to the well-established fact that Paul Rudd is charming in pretty much anything, this segment ends up being more sweet than icky. As Eichner asks person after person, “For a dollar, would you have sex with Paul Rudd?” Rudd himself stands awkwardly by with an embarrassed but good-natured smile on his face. Spoiler alert: Most people want to have sex with Rudd. A couple of adorable old ladies even reassure Eichner they don’t need the dollar, they’ll do it for free. And when someone doesn’t want to have sex with Rudd, Eichner angrily yells, “You should never have done Dinner for Schmucks!” Rudd, ever the gentleman, agrees: “You’re right, I feel like that’s what’s affecting this poll.”
Eichner’s other best line of the segment: “Was that Jessica Chastain? I HOPE NOT!”
3) ‘Billy Eichner Hits the Madonna Super Bowl Show’
This one is technically a cheat, since Eichner did it for Conan rather than Billy on the Street. But there isn’t a single second of this clip that isn’t funny. Eichner’s ridiculous enthusiasm for Madonna, and borderline disdain for the Super Bowl itself, is a perfect send up of masculinity. (As companion pieces, you can also check out Eichner following Madonna’s MDNA tour in Tel Aviv, and the time he actually met Madonna, at Yankee Stadium.)
4) ‘Christmas with Will Ferrell!’
Part of what makes this particular edition of Billy on the Street so funny is that Ferrell is, unsurprisingly, just as game as Eichner is. As they walk around New York in Christmas onesies, asking people about their favorite Christmas movies, Ferrell channels Eichner’s craziness note for note. Case in point, Eichner gives one woman a dollar when she says she prefers Scrooged to Elf, and Ferrell steals the dollar right back. (Ferrell makes another appearance on the show in a segment where he vies to win an American Girl doll.)
5) ‘Chris Pratt Lightning Round!’
Enlisting his Parks and Recreation co-star, this segment finds Eichner showing off Pratt to the citizens of New York at a time when everyone was calling him the biggest star in the world. The twist is that no one seems to know who he is. Eichner gets especially infuriated when one woman mistakenly identifies him as Chris Evans, and another just calls him “Liam?” Not until the end do they find someone who not only knows who Pratt is, but who also shouts out Anna Faris, telling him, “I like your wife.”
6) ‘When the Easter Bunny Attacks!’
Although this segment is presented as Eichner scaring people while dressed as the Easter Bunny (and, to be fair, it is that too) what it’s really about is Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. In celebration of the movie’s 10th anniversary, Eichner took to the street to make sure everybody loved the movie just as much as he did. Eventually, he starts smashing eggs.
7) ‘The Meryl Streep Showdown’
You can’t talk about Eichner without also talking about Meryl Streep. His love for the Grand Dame of Oscar is deep and abiding. So when one of his interviewees chooses Glenn Close over Streep in this segment, let’s just say Eichner doesn’t exactly take it well.
8) ‘The Price Just Feels SO Right’
In one of Eichner’s more absurd premises, he drops the schtick of giving people a dollar, and asks them instead to guess the prices of various household items within a dollar. The catch? If they get the price right, they can keep the item, if they get it wrong, he smashes it. Throwing stuff on the ground will always be funny, it’s just a fact, and the conceit of this segment is perfect for Eichner’s unhinged persona.
9) ‘Billy Eichner Fights W/Woman About Denzel Washington’
Part of what characterizes Billy on the Street’s singularly abrasive style is the fact that Eichner’s excitement for answers he does like is only matched by his disdain for answers he doesn’t. So when one New York women keeps insisting to him that Denzel Washington was in The Phantom of the Opera, you can bet that he quickly lets the rage sparks fly.
This segment also includes classic moments such as the question, “Who would you rather have sex with, Greta Gerwig or Buzz Lightyear?” and Eichner’s incredulity at a woman who lists Hugh Jackman as one of her favorite straight people. (“That’s very questionable.”)
10) ‘Billy on the Street with David Letterman’
There are certainly funnier installments of Billy on the Street than this one, but what makes David Letterman’s appearance on the show so great is how much fun the notoriously cranky TV host looks like he’s having. In terms of temperament and comedic style, Eichner and Letterman could not be farther apart. But Letterman has no problem matching Eichner’s frustration with the “contestants” he talks to. He just does it in his own, sarcastic, Letterman way. As far as examples of new media meeting old go, this one is fascinating.
11) ‘Billy on the Street Emmy Edition with Seth Meyers!!!’
This segment is a good introduction if you happen to be an Eichner novice. Meyers can barely contain his laughter as Eichner does what he does best: Berate people for not agreeing with him about pop culture. Eichner desperately tries here to get people to acknowledge Emmy host Meyers and to tell him about their favorite shows, though he doesn’t have much luck with either.
12) ‘Weekend at Bernie’s or Django Unchained?’
This one gets points for being adorable and super weird. Eichner quizzes a little girl named Annalise (don’t worry, he doesn’t yell at her) in his new game, “Weekend At Bernie’s or Django Unchained?” And though she gets one question wrong, overall Annalise does shockingly well.
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