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Im a serious person, Billy Eichner tells me, scarcely getting the words out before erupting into laugh. Were talking about the new season of his TruTV game show Billy on the Street

The saucy one-dollar questionliterally worth a dollarsets off another season of viral-ready, pop-culture comedy. But its Eichners tongue-in-cheek pronouncement when we satisfy one afternoon in Beverly Hills this past summer that explains how the indicate, not to mention Eichner himself

Im not Angelina Jolie, he says. I dont know if you knew that.

But maybe the Angelina Jolie of Of TruTV? Im not even sure about that.

Still, Billy on the Street has become an Emmy-nominated success. Its describe the likes of Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, and even Michelle Obama to join in on the absurdist fun( a Shonda Rhimes-themed obstacle course, for example ), though never stealing the spotlight away from blindsided New Yorkers startled by the tall human calling at them that Blake Lively is available for features.

Its humor thats born out of a bleed love for all things pop cultureand an awareness of how silly such a true love can bewhich culminates in a biting irony of celebrity, fame, and the pretension with which we discuss race, sexuality, and politics.( Hamm also plays a round of Immigrant, or Real American ?)

As more and more Billy on the Street clips going to go viral, so has Eichner himself. A recurring stint on Parks and Recreation led to a partnership with Amy Poehler, who produced his Hulu comedy series Difficult People, about Billy and his best friend Julie( Julie Klausner ), aspiring creatives in New York who would be like Will and Grace, if Will and Grace werent particularly likable. Its recent second season was one of the best-reviewed slapsticks of 2016.

Eichners own growing fame has become part of the comedy, too, whether hes trying to sell himself to a stranger in the Jon Hamm/ threesome bitThey wrote about me in The New Yorker not too shabby! or running the streets with Chris Pratt at the high levels of his banner Hollywood year, quipping, What a big year its been! For me.

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Its been a big couple of years! Eichner chuckles. But its also the same with him as many guests I have on the indicate. No one could say his name. A lot of people didnt acknowledge him. He had been in Protector of the Galaxy and Jurassic World and Parks and Rec for seven years and still there were plenty of people on the street who were like, Who the hell are you? Or like, I kind of know who you are. Are you Chris Evans?

Its a brilliant juxtaposition, and one Eichner might not get enough credit for: Hes fully owning that he, and people like him, are responsible for inflating the worth of celebrity culture. But with this indicate, hes also the one taking the air right out of it.

Do you think Beyonc has ever said the words Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt out loud? he asks in the Season 5 premiere. Then: Miss, the Coen Brothers are up to their old tricks! Miss, its a year-round pilot season at Amazon. Sir, is New Girl having a quiet renaissance?

Or perhaps the best incarnation of the shows thesis: Miss, did you hear that Reese Witherspoon is in style? The womans reply, as she tries to run away: That has nothing to do with me.

In another medium, these arent jokes. Theyre headlines for real gossip news stories and entertainment think pieces that feed an entire industry. So sure, the idea of pop-culture savants taunting the self-serious world of pop culture certainly isnt something that Eichner started. But it is a phenomenon he helped bring out of the darkness, literally operating and screaming along the way.

With Season 5 premiering, we chatted with Eichner about how his growing visibility and fame affect his indicate, his Hollywood makeover, and not getting the credit he deserves. And its a testament to Eichners intelligence and abundant self-awareness that none of this sounds insufferable, but instead remarkably astute.

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