Watching the preview clip below of tonight’s Billy on the Street episode, in which the FUSE trivia game show’s host, comedian Billy Eichner, loses it on a Drew Peterson lookalike who doesn’t know who Tilda Swinton is, made me sort of envious. He gets paid to be freakishly frustrated by people’s lack of pop-culture knowledge. (It’s the highlight of the show.) I, on the other hand, just get to feel guilty about the time I was playing the game Celebrity with three friends years ago, and my partner was unable to name J.K. Rowling and Mel Gibson. It was infuriating on multiple levels. For starters, she had the Harry Potter books on her shelf. Also, she worked at another entertainment magazine. I became so unglued, I announced to the group that I refused to be paired with her for another round, that night or ever again. I am a nice person. Fifteen years in New York, and I still go out of my way to walk around tourists standing in the middle of the sidewalk taking a picture in Times Square so I don’t ruin their shots. But this enraged me.
Your turn. When were you freakishly frustrated by someone’s lack of pop-culture knowledge?
My colleague Kate Ward offered this example: “It’s like when you hear people on the subway talk about a line from a movie, and they can’t figure out what movie it’s from. And it’s so obvious — something like, ‘I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her,’ and you just want to scream out on a crowded subway ‘NOTTING HILL! NOTTING HILL, YOU IDIOT!’ And then you feel bad because you realize they probably do valuable things with their time like read and learn about the world while you sit at home watching Notting Hill whenever it’s on TBS.”
That reminded me of the classic Kids in the Hall sketch “Citizen Kane.” You know you’ve been there: