For Variety’s latest issue, we asked Seth Meyers to write a tribute to Billy Eichner, one of 50 people to make our New Power of New York list. Here’s why Eichner, the star of truTV’s “Billy on the Street,” represents a new generation of movers and shakers that capture the best of Manhattan. For the full list, click here.
Billy makes it look easy. Just take a microphone and a camera crew and run around New York talking to people. How hard can it be? Well, I did it with him once, and I can tell you it’s incredibly hard. We spent hours running around the city while I watched his brain make split-second decisions as to who would be a good mark and who wouldn’t. (Something I learned: He never talks to anyone who looks like they want to be talked to.) He was armed with both hundreds of prewritten, perfectly worded questions and an incredibly quick improv mind that could come up with them on the spot (a personal favorite from our day together: “Miss, you’re a lesbian — are you watching ‘Orange Is the New Black’?”) Two things remain ingrained in me from that afternoon: severe foot pain and an undying respect for Billy Eichner and his craft.