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Billy Eichner backstage at the 2014 American Comedy Awards

Billy Eichner at the 2014 American Comedy Awards in New York City
Carla Hay

The 2014 American Comedy Awards (which NBC televised on May 8, 2014) returned after a 13-year hiatus. The annual awards show was originally on Comedy Central from 1987 to 2001. The 2014 ceremony was previously filmed at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, where some of the best entertainers from TV, movies and stand-up comedy gathered to honor their favorites. Nominations for the awards were voted on by members of the American Comedy Awards Voting Committee, a panel consisting of 860 working professionals from the comedy community including writers, performers, producers, directors and stand-up comedians.

Winners at the 2014 American Comedy Awards included Bill Cosby, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy, Bill Hader, Will Ferrell, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Jim Gaffigan. (Ferrell, McCarthy, Colbert and Stewart did not attend the ceremony, but most had prerecorded acceptance speeches.) A complete list of winners can be found at the official American Comedy Awards website. Here is what this celebrity had to say backstage during a brief press conference in the American Comedy Awards press room.


Will Ferrell won the award for Best Comedy Actor, Film for his role in “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” You accepted the award on his behalf since he couldn’t be here. What question would you want to ask Will if he were on your show “Billy on the Street”?

He’s been on “Billy on the Street,” which is produced by Funny or Die, which Will Ferrell started with Adam McKay. So he’s technically a producer, which is why I felt OK about ripping him apart.

But if you ran into him on the street as a regular person, what kind of question would you want to ask him?

If I ran into Will Ferrell, I’d be like, “Do you like me? Am I doing OK?”

He looks like he needs a dollar, right?

Yeah, he’s doing OK. The amazing thing about Will — and I’m not just saying this — he really is down-to-earth. And Funny or Die is very reflective of the fact that he’s a family man. It feels like a family.

Funny or Die is an amazing organization that really supports young people. I was just a YouTube weirdo stand-up comic, and they gave me this huge opportunity. They’re amazing.

Can you give a recap of what you said on stage when you accepted the awards on Will Ferrell’s behalf?

Before I opened the envelope, I said I hoped Bruce Dern would win. He’s got such a long career. How do you give an award to Johnny Knoxville over Bruce Dern? As much as I love Johnny Knoxville.

And then, of course, Will wins, and I flip out about that. And on top of it, Will not only wasn’t here but didn’t even record a pre-taped thank you speech, which I thought was so ungrateful of him, so I gave him some sh*t for that. It was fun.

What can you say about Elena on “Billy on the Street”? Will we see her again?

Elena, for people who don’t know, is a very popular contestant on “Billy on the Street.” It’s a real civilian I ran into, who’s really funny and acerbic and crazy.

Elena does come back to one of our final episodes this season. She’s the first person, celebrity or non-celebrity, who I bring back to play for a dollar with me. If you watch the show, it’s a segment I usually do on my own.

Was that the first time you’ve ever broken down with laughter during a segment on the show?

Yes, it was the first time I ever broke. Elena is just the funniest person. She’s so unpredictable, which is pretty great. She really is funny. I’d look her up online. She’s so funny.

What would you recommend to people who want to be on “Billy on the Street”?

People tweet me, “Where are you going to be? I want you to scream at me!” It’s a very strange phenomenon. People tweet me and say, “Can you come to my wedding and scream at me?” It’s like a thing, like I’m a bar mitzvah DJ. I guess for the right price. No, I’m just kidding. I would not do that.

It’s great to run into people on the street who know me, but they don’t make it into the show. It needs to be spontaneous. I guess if you’re really good and pretending you know me, you might make it onto the show, but I can usually tell. People usually slip.

For more info: American Comedy Awards website


American Comedy Award interviews

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