Billy The Mime is on a one-man crusade to resurrect the art of mime, to reshape its trounced clichés into a bold mode of storytelling suited to amuse as well as shock and disturb. For the uninitiated, the titles of some of Billy’s pieces do a good job of indicating the ground on which he treads: "The Abortion," "Christopher Reeve, A Super Man," and "A Day Called 9/11." Yet his charismatic and confident delivery have helped land Billy The Mime on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and with Penn and Teller on Showtime—as well as in the documentary The Aristocrats, in which he memorably did a mime version of the world’s dirtiest joke. In advance of his May 29 appearance at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Decider interviewed Billy The Mime about his past, his working methods, and his thoughts about an inscrutable art form.
Decider: As a mime, you’re utilizing a classical theatrical form with a history going back to ancient Greece, but you use it to tackle taboo subjects in naughty ways. What comes first, the art of mime or the blasphemy?
Billy The Mime:
D: You’ve worked with the legendary mime Marcel Marceau and with clowns from the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus. How have such institutional teachers come to feel about what you do?
D: You have bits called "Terry Schiavo, Adieu" and "A Bad Day At Virginia Tech." What's the most indignant response you've ever gotten from a member of an audience?
D: Mime is not very common to see, in any form, these days. How would you go about convincing a young person about the true, lasting power of mime?
Here's video of Billy The Mime performing his bit "JFK Jr. We Hardly Knew Ye"...