Billy Eichner Accuses Ross Mathews of 'Pathetic' Billy On The Street Ripoff — Whose Side Are You On?

Billy Eichner is no fan of Jay Leno’s former intern.

In a series of NSFW tweets, the Difficult People star has accused E! Network’s Ross Mathews of ripping-off his pop culture gameshow Billy On the Street in a new commercial for Capital One (as embedded below):

In response, the red carpet personality claimed never to have seen Eichner’s work, to which the host rebutted that while that may be true, the creatives behind his commercial certainly had:

In the spot, Mathews plays a trivia game with two pedestrians focused on Capital One’s various credit card options. Eichner’s anger (which is not quite at “Denzel Washington was not in Phantom of the Opera levels, but close) would seem to stem from Mathews’ mannerisms throughout the commercial, which appear to mimic Eichner’s from any one of his truTV segments:

Do you think Eichner was right to accuse Mathews of creating a “blatant ripoff,” or is this commercial nothing more than your run of the mill man-on-the-street piece? Watch the commercial above, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Kyle says:

    Ross Matthews sucks & should go away to obscurity where he has been all
    The the previously. #TeamBilly

    • Michelle Obama says:

      Okay, Billy.

    • Really? says:

      Grow up Kyle, and take your false idol “Billy” with you. Man on the Street interviews have been on the air since forever. Eichner didn’t invent them and should realize his ego needs a readjustment–as does yours.

    • Josh Emerson says:

      Agreed, Billy is far better in every way. This guy Ross is the most annoying person on tv.

      • Eli says:

        How is he better in any way? He’s a loud mouth jerk most of the time. Ross has always been a kind hearted individual. Y’all need some straight talkin’

  2. sharon walker says:

    Ross is right! Jay Leno had had Ross doing quizzes, questions and interviews I thought as far back as late 90’s but possibly 2000. Ross was cute, witty and very funny. He was also very likable. Ross was all over at gas stations, Universal Studios, Melrose even in home. Ross is old school first

  3. Chan Fan says:

    Ross is and has been annoying for YEARS…….NO idea how he became popular. However, Man of the Street interviews have been going on since tv began…… not sure where the feud comes from

  4. AngelWasHere says:

    I didn’t know Billy own the rights to running down the street being obnoxious and flamboyant. Heck Ross isn’t even running down the street or yelling like he does. Still it’s not like he’s doing something new. Please! Get a life Billy. It’s just a commercial!

    • Anne says:

      “Just a commercial” means more when there is that much money involved.

    • canadian ninja says:

      Especially if what Eichner says is true… Capitol whatever comes to him and asks him to do some ads, he declines or they can’t make a deal…and then Mathews’ watered down version shows up. I don’t know about rip off, but I see why he’d be annoyed.

  5. LT says:

    It pains me to admit this…but Ross is right.

  6. Gretchen says:

    Here is the thing, Billy is great at doing his man on the street interviews. Although, I’m pretty sure he is not the first one to do “man on the street” style interviews. Real journalists do this. The issues here are from their agents and who gets more money. I believe Ross is one of nicest people you will ever meet in person btw. I do not think there should be a feud, but remember this is show business.

  7. Not funny just offensive says:

    They’re both annoying as hell. Both should have their 15 minutes by now. They both are offensive to the hearing public.

  8. peterwdawson says:

    Side with guy I’ve heard of who seems to have a legit if dickish point, or side with guy I’ve never heard of. Not exactly the hardest of choices. #TeamBilly

    • LT says:

      I hope you don’t go through life with that M.O. Seems very limiting.

      • peterwdawson says:

        Oh God no, but trivial stuff like this I could barely care about? Seems the easiest solution. If it were something genuinely important I’d at least bother seeing who the other guy is.

        • TV Gord says:

          So, you care enough to keep commenting, but not enough to become better informed. That seems fairly typical of the average message board commenter.

          • peterwdawson says:

            And considering you’re going for insults rather than actually trying to defend this other guy, it looks like being better informed is a waste of time.

        • Really? says:

          Funny, I’ve heard and seen Ross for quite some time. I enjoy him. The only enjoyment I’ve ever had with Billy is turning him off as fast as possible. As far as being “trivial stuff”, well, I suggest you talk to Billy about that, he’s the one being a total jack@ss and pouting about it.

          • peterwdawson says:

            How dare he complain about being ripped off!

          • Really? says:

            Considering, Steve Allen, did many Man on the Street type interviews before Billy even showed up on the scene–I’d say Billy ripped off some extremely better performers than himself. So, pot and kettle have just exploded laughing… (Sometimes, little people with massive egos just like to pout.)

  9. SherryKoche says:

    Billy Eichner obviously a raging a class loser. He didn’t invent “man on the street” antics. People have been doing it long before him, including Ross Matthews

  10. Claire says:

    Guy On the Street interviews were a thing before both of these guys became famous, however Billy on the Street’s popularity probably prompted the commercial so I’m on his side.

  11. Sarah says:

    Ross the Intern’s schtick was part-princess, part-bumbling fool; Billy on the Street is mostly about insulting people. This commercial is WAY more Billy on the Street than the typical (or even Ross’s typical) “man on the street.” Sorry, Ross, you may not have written the script, but Capital One is definitely pulling a blatant rip off here. I actually feel bad for him!

  12. TV Gord says:

    It seems to me that Billy is just upset that he didn’t get the lucrative commercial deal. He should be angry with his agent, not Ross.

  13. KatsMom says:

    Man on the street may be old as TV itself, but Eichner definitely has a unique take on it (his frenetic pace coupled with his snark/exasperation). I never watched Leno, so I haven’t seen much of Ross’ work. What little I have seen was kind of appalling because it was like, “Hey, let’s just laugh at the super effeminate gay guy. It’s funny to see him be such a girl about things.” Thankfully, the Capital One commercial doesn’t seem like everything else I’ve seen Ross do because it does seem like they’re trying to mimic Billy. Ross doesn’t seem to have the energy to do that, so after the quick mics between the two guys at the beginning, it comes down to a more normal pace. Then Ross delivers a line, (something about the contestant “getting it”), which he says in a fairly friendly kind of way, but I can see how they probably wanted him to read it in a snarkier way like Billy. So, I think Billy’s got a point. I’m guessing the reason he didn’t do the ads himself was because Capital One didn’t offer him what his agent thinks he’s worth, so they grabbed Ross as a cheaper option. I can understand why that would rile Billy. At the same time, I can’t really blame Ross for jumping on a paycheck. What I blame Ross for though is claiming he hasn’t seen Eichner’s work before. I’m a middle-aged parent with limited time to keep up with TV stuff anymore, and yet, the reach of Billy on the Street is wide enough that I’m aware of its existence and have seen bits of it. Ross seriously expects people to believe that a guy who’s got a job with Live on E! discussing pop culture has never heard of Billy on the Street or seen bits of it before? Bull…

  14. SJ says:

    #TeamBilly. This is a blatant ripoff and a theft of intellectual property. I hope he sues the living daylight out of them.

    Ross is an annoying never-has-been sissy boy. He’s a horrible representation of us gay men in the media with his high pitched voice and effeminate mannerisms. He’s Cam from Modern Family personified.

    • Anna says:

      What an insanely childish response. Billy was not the first person to do man on the street interviews and won’t be the last. Also, Ross was nowhere near as mean or loud as Billy is, so you can’t even say he ripped off his style. He has zero grounds for a lawsuit.
      In addition, Ross is doing him. He isn’t claiming that all gay men are just like him. Gay men that feel the need to put down effeminate men are the true horrible representations of queer men.

  15. Et al. says:

    Six days after Orlando, I’m inclined to vote for #teamthisisntworthfightingover

  16. DL says:

    #TeamRoss simply because Billy is attacking the wrong person and being mean for no reason. But I do think Billy Eichner is the funnier of the two.

  17. Jill says:

    I see both sides. Billy said Capital One came to him 1st to do the spot. So I see his side a little. BUT -and it’s a big but- Billy is not correct that the idea is his intellectual property. Ross was doing this for Leno 15 years ago. Ross doesn’t have the same tone, anger or mannerisms Billy does, as Billy alluded that the spot had. #TeamRoss

  18. George H. says:

    Bet you’ll find someone with video evidence that Billy ripped them off too, lol. The circle goes around, and that phrase “everything old is new again” has truth behind it.

  19. Kathleen says:

    This is ridiculous. If he’s mad, Billy should go after Capital One, not Ross. Ross didn’t write or produce the commercial, only acted the words as written in the script. Redirect your anger, Billy!

  20. Beth D says:

    #TeamRoss – never heard of Billy Eichner.
    Not sure why he thinks he owns the Man on the Street interviews. He needs to get over himself.

  21. HAP says:

    “Man on the street” goes back to at least 1953 when Steve Allen began The Tonight Show on channel 4 in New York even before it was picked up on the network. He carried it over to his variety show as well. The Eichner- Matthews feud is nonsense.

  22. Matt says:

    It’s hard to pick a side here because I find both to be insufferable.

  23. liame says:

    Is this a joke or a publicity stunt to make these two relevant?

  24. CJ says:

    I don’t care for either of them at this point but Billy Eichner did not invent this bit, plain and simple. This is yet another instance where he has been unnecessarily nasty to others and it seems his ego needs some reining in. At the very least, his anger is misdirected here. Take it up with Capital One instead.

  25. PatriciaLee says:

    “Smile, you’re on candid camera!” began it all in 1948 by Allen Funt, then it morphed into letting people see the camera and mic. It’s just like the great classical musicians who built on each others work.

  26. dman6015 says:

    Girls, stop your fighting. Can’t stand Ross Mathews. Never could. However, I don’t see him as being anything like Billy Eichner in the commercials. He’s just standing there. He’s not manically racing up to everyone, asking a question, then making a witty comment (I don’t think Mr. Mathews is capable of wit).

    • Really? says:

      Funny, I feel the same about Mr. Eichner, snark and sarcasm doesn’t equate wit in any sense of the word. Just snark and sarcasm–and not even funny either.

  27. Bobby says:

    Neither one!

  28. Eli says:

    Yes and JayWalking with Jay Leno was also based on Billy Eichner….! Not sure if Eicher is just sticking to the loud-mouth douchy persona he typically protrays or if he is for real. TeamRoss the whole way through

  29. LaLuz says:

    #TeamRoss bc I can’t stand Billy on the Street