It’s not that often when metal creeps its way into mainstream pop culture. So when metal/hard rock acts do actually pop up in beloved sitcoms, dramatic films, cartoons or even reality series, it’s kind of awesome. So in the weekly column Remember When, Metal Insider recalls the most random instances of metal’s elite appearing in front of the camera.
Back in February, we were randomly flipping through TV channels late at night, when suddenly we spotted Wovenwar/ex-As I Lay Dying guitarist Nick Hipa on the screen. He was standing right next to Billy Eichner and about to compete on Billy On The Street, a show where the comedian runs around the streets yelling obscure questions at random people in exchange for cash.
The segment had actually aired a few years back on Fuse, but was re-aired on the show’s new network home TruTV this past February. While Billy On The Street often has celebrities partaking in the fun, Nick was merely a bystander who got pulled from the street to play everyone’s favorite game “Nic Cage character or Rapper”, where he had to determine whether Eichner was naming a Nic Cage character or a rapper. Nick didn’t end up winning, but he did get the honor of being pushed by Eichner for buzzing in too soon and earning the nickname Dances With Wolves.
Hipa is currently in the studio with Wovenwar working on their sophomore album. However, the guitarist was able to sneak out and talk to us about his truly random TV appearance and what it was like to meet the manic comedian. Check out what Hipa had to share, as well as a clip of his appearance on Billy On The Street, below.
I remember you previously saying how you were just walking around Hollywood before going to see Van Halen live when this happened. However, how did you actually come to appear on the show?
I can’t remember exactly why I was in LA so early in the day, but I was definitely up there for a Van Halen show. I think I might have stayed at a friend’s place who lived right off of Hollywood and Highland, which is right where we were eventually approached by a random dude about being on the show. It was crazy because at about ten feet out, I spotted him holding a clipboard trying get people to engage in conversation. I immediately assumed he was trying rack up some signatures or something, so I just started kinda squinting off in the opposite direction hoping to fly under his radar. As I walked by he uttered something along the lines of “Want to get paid to be on a Funny Or Die show?” [Editor’s note: in addition to previously airing on Fuse, the show was produced by Funny Or Die] That immediately got my attention so I was all “Oh hey man, what’s up.”
The deal ended up being that if we agreed to be on the show, we’d get paid $50. I think my actual response was “Dude are you for real?” That wad of cash was gonna come in handy if Daddy wanted to treat himself to a beer at Van Halen later, and all I had to do for it was interact with a wacky-dude for an interview-game-show-type-thing.
Things could have taken a turn for the super sketchy though because immediately after saying yes, he made us fill out paperwork that required a social security number. Most responsible adults probably stop at that point but I was blinded by curiosity and petty cash. After that, he got on some radio and phoned a car over that we were asked to get into (for alleged transport to the actual filming location). Again, I threw caution and safety to the wind because I really wanted to know how everything would pan out.
While the car drove us a few streets over, I contemplated if I’d made a grave mistake that would cost me life or limbs or both. Our last turn found us arriving in front of a super pro production set up that was taped off and surrounded by people with head set mics and clipboards and stuff. That’s when I knew the day was gonna be tight and not tragic.
Had you heard of Billy On The Street beforehand?
This is right when the show was starting, so I don’t even know if it was on TV yet. Maybe it was about to be on Fuse TV. I can’t recall… definitely hadn’t heard of it though.
What was the filming process like? Was it actually all done in one take?
When we got dropped off at the shoot, there were like three other groups of people ahead of us. So I just helped myself to the complimentary snacks they had set up for contestants. When it was our turn, things went super quick. We stepped into frame, got blasted with super-fast questions demanding super-fast answers, then collected our $50 each and peaced out.
Part of Billy Eichner’s charm is how loud and rude he acts towards people, but what was Billy actually like in real life/in between filming?
My only interaction with him was during the filming because when they switch out contestants, I think he goes over his cue cards for the next round. His pre-shoot “what’s up nod” skills seemed alright though I guess.
The game you partook in was called “Nic Cage character or Rapper”. Was there a particular line or moment while playing the game that made it hard for you to keep a straight face while filming? What was your favorite moment of the game?
What stands out the most about that one is how bummed I was on the category. Anyone who knows me knows Nic Cage is my least favorite actor of all time… which is kind of ironic because he’s in so many of my favorite movies. Honestly, this whole thing happened so long ago that I can’t remember much more than being bummed on the Nic Cage category and also uncertain about how I felt about Billy’s shtick.
Eichner often runs around the streets yelling at people with random celebrities. If you could roam around the streets shouting trivia questions at people with any celebrity, who would it be?
I think I’m gonna have to go with Nic Cage on this one. Just because I feel bad for publicly saying I’m not the hugest fan and maybe if I spent the day yelling at strangers with him I could learn to appreciate his talent.
Now that you’ve played a game on Billy On The Street, what other game show would you like to compete on next?
My hearts truest desire is to be on Wipeout, but I think it got cancelled. Oh well I guess you win some you lose some…
[Editor’s note: Nick appears in the segment with his then fiancé. Despite previous reports, though, the two are actually no longer together]
[Additional editor’s note: Sadly Wipeout was indeed cancelled in 2014. However, we at Metal Insider would like to volunteer in launching a viral campaign to either get Nick on American Ninja (which is basically a more serious version of Wipeout) or get Wipeout brought back on the air just for the chance to see Nick on the show… just saying.]