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Billy Eichner Opens Up About Being Told He Was 'Too Gay' To Be On TV At The Start Of His Career

Comedian, actor and producer Billy Eichner
Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images

After two hit television series and a groundbreaking new film that seems to be a bona fide critical darling, it seems hard to believe comedian Billy Eichner could ever have struggled to get his career off the ground.

But during a recent appearance on Conan O'Brien's podcast Conan Needs a Friend, Eichner revealed in his early days he was constantly told he was "too gay" to be on television.

Hear him tell the story below.

Billy Eichner Was Told He Was "Too Gay" To Be On TV | Conan O’Brien Needs a

Eichner told O'Brien during meetings about adapting one of his stage shows for television, producers and executives all reacted the same way.

“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, you’re very New York'.”

Eichner went on to say these included frequent swipes at his sexual identity and gay sensibilities.

“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."
"Now everyone’s talking about gay sex. But this is 2003. Right?”

O'Brien joked this was the time when actors "were losing roles to dinosaurs," a reference to the ABC sitcom Dinosaurs, to which Eichner quipped:

“Dinosaurs were f*cking on screen, but I wasn’t allowed too."

Those executives' hesitance proved to be a huge miscalculation.

Clips from Eichner's hugely popular Billy On the Streetweb and television series still regularly go viral long after the show went off the air. His Hulu sitcom with collaborator Julie Klausner Difficult People was a critical darling.

And now, Eichner is headlining a groundbreaking film he also wrote and produced called Bros, the first gay romcom with an all LGBTQ+ cast ever produced by a major studio.

And on Twitter, there is no shortage of excitement for the milestone film.

Bros opens in wide release this weekend and already has a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

So yeah, that whole "too gay" thing?

Big mistake!