He’s making dreams come true: It’s Billy On The Street! Parks and Recreation fans may recognise Billy Eichner as the easily frustrated government employee Craig Middlebrooks, who regularly stole scenes over the final two seasons of the show. But you really don’t know Billy Eichner until you’ve seen him frantically accosting Manhattanites – often with a celebrity in tow – to ask them nonsensical questions about pop culture and scream in their face.
For five seasons and counting, Billy has been taking to the streets of New York for what he describes as a “music and pop culture trivia game show,” but that really doesn’t do it justice. Billy’s games are often inspired, always downright hilarious, and their spontaneous nature has created moments of television that are at once both genuinely magical and profoundly strange.
With the first series now available to watch On Demand, prepare to get hooked on Billy On The Street as we take a look at some of his greatest games to date.
Quizzed in the face
“Quizzed in the Face” is one of the segments that regularly features on the show, and while it never disappoints, it’s this doozy with quirky contestant Elena that really stands out. Elena tries her best to answer Billy’s questions whilst also trying to escape as soon as possible because she has somewhere else to be. She proved such a hit that she’s become a recurring guest on the show, much to Billy’s apparent chagrin.
For a dollar… any thoughts on Denzel Washington?
Another game that Billy regularly returns to is “For a Dollar”, in which he approaches random people on the street and asks them a question. If they answer correctly, they win a dollar. Pretty simple, right? Well, not quite, because answering correctly requires matching with Billy’s entirely subjective opinion. This brilliant early outing for the game is almost completely derailed when Billy gets into a heated argument about Denzel Washington.
For a dollar… name a woman!
Billy doesn’t always pick arguments with strangers, and this edition of “For a Dollar” sees Billy asking some seemingly easy questions so he can start handing out those dollars. But it seems that there’s no such thing as an easy question when Billy’s putting you on the spot, as these contestants (and one yoga bag-carrying contestant, in particular) flawlessly prove.
Would you have sex with Paul Rudd?
Celebrity guests have become a staple of Billy On The Street as the show has progressed, with Billy either challenging them to play a game, or taking them along with him on his insane encounters with random pedestrians. Paul Rudd got dragged along for the latter, and Billy was armed with a simple but disarming question you would have thought should have been simple for anyone with eyes.
Scream for an American Girl Doll
Billy doesn’t just give dollars away on the show, he has a whole array of fantastic prizes to be won. In “Scream for an American Girl Doll”, three young girls battle it out to win the titular doll, and all they have to do is scream as loud as they can. Unfortunately for them, there’s a fourth contestant, and his name is Will Ferrell. If you’ve ever wanted to see a famous comedian unleash a high-pitched scream at a young child, you’re in luck.
How I Met Your Lightning Round
When How I Met Your Mother came to the end of its nine-season run, Billy wasn’t handling the loss of one of his favourite shows very well at all. In one game he joined Lindsay Lohan to work out his anger about HIMYM’s demise by smashing up some cars, but it was even more fun to see him process his feelings alongside the show’s star Neil Patrick Harris.
Does Shakira know what this is?
There are few things in life that can’t be improved with the addition of Patton Oswalt, and Billy On The Street is no exception. The game they play here is perfectly fine, but the real highlight is Billy and Patton delving into the success of Ratatouille, and why perhaps it isn’t as widely loved as some as Pixar’s other classics. After that, there’s icing on the cake in the form of Patton struggling to identify whether Billy thinks Shakira knows about everyday items and concepts.
That’s not Pitbull, It’s Amy Poehler!
Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari and Chris Pratt are among Billy’s Parks and Rec co-stars who have featured in some of Billy On The Street’s most memorable segments, but none have outdone Amy Poehler. This particular game involves Billy introducing Poehler wearing a Pitbull mask to strangers, and then revealing her from behind the mask. Even Amy can’t believe there isn’t more to it, but the reactions are priceless.
We couldn’t end this list without another dose of the always brilliant Elena, so here she is facing off against Girls’ star Lena Dunham in a game Billy has called “Cash Cow”. There’s a prize on offer to the winner, but the loser has to face the indignity of milking a cow in the middle of New York’s meat-packing district. Lena and Elena seem to get on like a house on fire, but neither wants to end up with their hands on udders.
Billy On The Street series 1 is available to watch now. Find it in On Demand > Box Sets > Comedy