With his new movie Bros set to hit theaters this week, Billy Eichner stopped by the Conan O’Briend Needs A Friend podcast where he opened up about the rocky start to his career in the early 2000s. Despite having a stage show in New York that eventually launched his hugely popular Billy on the Street web videos, Eichner kept running into a noticeable issue with industry people: He was “too gay.”
“They would acknowledge that I was talented or that they thought I was funny — that the audience was laughing a lot, that I was unique and this, that, and the other thing, but it was always, you know, ‘We don’t know what to do with you,'” Eichner recalled. “‘You’re very New York.'”
Eventually, he figured out the issue. Via Mediaite:
“And a lot of times in both overt ways and subtle ways, I was sent the message that I was just too gay. I was being openly gay on stage. I was talking about gay sex,” Eichner added, “Now everyone’s talking about gay sex. But this is 2003. Right?”
“This is back when you were losing roles to dinosaurs,’ O’Brien joked.
“Dinosaurs were f*cking on screen, but I wasn’t allowed too,” Eichner laughed.
What ultimately helped Eichner get over the “gay” hurdle was the success of Billy on the Street and being able to show industry people the wide range of demographics for the viral series.
“These views aren’t coming exclusively from gay people, watching in New York City,” Eichner said. “Look at the comments they’re coming from all over the country and all over the world. That’s when they finally put me on TV.”
Bros hits theaters on September 30, 2022.