Billy Eichner Is the First Gay Man Ever

Or at least that's what the 'Bros' marketing campaign would have you believe

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 28: Billy Eichner speaks onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Cent...
Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Activist Cinema

Sorry to bother you, but do you happen to know if there are any historic gay rom-coms coming out in the next month? Preferably one produced by a major studio? I feel like there is one, but I just can’t seem to tell. If only its star/writer was going on the most insufferable press tour of all time, then maybe I’d be able to remember.

That was my impression of someone living a much more sheltered life than mine. Of course I know that Billy on the Street’s Billy Eichner co-wrote and stars in the upcoming Bros, the first ever gay rom-com to be produced by a major studio. The way they are promoting this movie, the only way someone like me wouldn’t know was if I were in a coma (sounds nice).

The marketing team at Universal and Eichner himself are making sure that everyone under 50 with $15 to spare knows that this movie is here, it’s queer, and it’s shattering some kind of glass ceiling. Is it good? Who cares! It’s important that you see it or else queer cinema will be left to wither and die on streaming services or, heaven forbid, be produced by smaller companies and go on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

Am I in a bad mood? Maybe. I would love to root for this movie, but they are not making it easy. First of all, what does this mean:

I don’t know any of the bros yet. How will I know which one won’t break my heart?

Second of all, there is Eichner himself. Perhaps you saw him introduce Panic at the Disco at the VMAs, where he made the baffling statement that we all need to see Bros to prove a point to Clarence Thomas. Not because it’s like, funny or romantic or anything. To him, seeing the romantic comedy Bros, directed by the straight director of Neighbors, seems to be first and foremost a political act — because that is why I return to Nora Ephron’s oeuvre so often. Her tireless activism. Here’s Billy:

We need to show all the homophobes like Clarence Thomas, and all the homophobes on the Supreme Court, that we want gay love stories and we support LGBTQ people. And we are not letting them drag us back into the last century. Because they are in the past and Bros is the future!

In his new cover story for Variety this week, Eichner repeated the same talking points, with an extra helping of self-aggrandizing.

“This is not an indie movie. This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of a million Netflix shows,” he told the trade, referring to the work of LGBTQ creators and filmmakers who wish they were as important and historic as Billy. “I needed to appreciate that ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”

Once again, I am begging someone to tell me if this movie is funny. Or do I just have to go see it because the fate of queer cinema at big studios relies on me seeing a movie about a gay podcaster? I’ll do that if need be, but I will be annoyed about it.