Billy Eichner can thank Twitter DM’s for major milestones in his career.
In a video interview with Vanity Fair posted Monday, the self-made comedian reflected on his previous roles as an actor, during which he acknowledged the significance of his social media presence.
“I would not have a career without social media,” Eichner confessed.
Eichner, 40, who most recently played Timon in 2019’s “The Lion King,” began his career with appearances in “Saturday Night Live” and “What Happens in Vegas.”
However, it wasn’t until his overly passionate persona on “Billy on the Street” took off did his career trajectory make a significant change.
“I had been developing, kind of organically, this larger-than-life, irrationally passionate stage persona of this guy who was very intensely into the entertainment industry to an extreme, absurd degree,” he said.
Eichner eventually conceived the idea to take this manic idea outside and record his interactions with everyday New Yorkers, which he would project onto the screens in theaters of his comedy shows and later post to YouTube.
“Eventually, they went viral,” he said.
After his online presence grew and “Billy on the Street” was picked up as a series in 2011, he was cast in “Parks & Recreation” after series creator Michael Schur DM’d him on Twitter.
“I have agents and managers and lawyers, but Twitter ultimately is how the deal went down,” he said. “Twitter can be a horrible, anxiety-inducing war zone, but in many ways it’s also helped me.”
He has over 2 million followers on the social media platform and over 300,000 on YouTube.
Eichner even scored a role in “The Angry Birds Movie” thanks to an impassioned plea on an episode of “Billy on the Street.”
“The best part was how it came about. I was like, ‘Oh that’s how I get cast?’” he said. “I just have to go on ‘Billy on the Street’ and say what role I want and then I get it?”