This certainly isn't your average romantic comedy series — nor is it a Billy On The Street spin-off, so don't even go there. "This character allowed me to get back down to Earth a little bit," Eichner tells Bustle about his Difficult People character, aptly named Billy, "It’s a three-dimensional character." But, that departure from his popular, over-the-top Street persona probably wouldn't have happened, had his longtime collaborator Julie Klausner not come to him with this series. So, what is it about Hulu's Difficult People, which premieres on Aug. 5? Well, according to Klausner and Eichner, it's their brutal honesty and relatable vulnerability that'll make us fall in love with them — even if they are a little difficult.
"We’re very blunt, we’re very brutally honest, we’re very confrontational," Eichner says about the series' main characters played by him and Klausner. "And we both get to say things to people that annoy us that we wouldn’t say in real life," Klausner says. They're definitely not sugar-coating it — and, seriously, don't try to make them the "new Will & Grace." Klausner explains that Billy and Julie (the characters, not the actors) are "two sort of miserable leads, who are cranky and challenge you to love them constantly." And you will, because they're truly, authentically funny and vulnerable — which both actors agree is a strength that comes from playing characters that share their names IRL.
"It’s a tough thing to do and a lot of people do it, but if you’re not going to write it yourself," Eichner says of sharing his name with his Difficult People character, "You really have to trust that the writer and the creator of the show really knows your voice." And he trusts Klausner — he really, truly does — and that feeling is clearly mutual. "Billy was one of the only people who was allowed improvise," Klausner says of filming Season 1 of the series, "And a lot of the lines that Billy has — the rule of thumb was that you should never say anything that you wouldn’t say or want to say."
Eichner and Klausner agree that they couldn't have made this series without one another. "We have higher standards," Klausner says about how their history and friendship shaped Difficult People. And, if there's anything we can take away from them, it's obviously that, sometimes, being difficult pays off.