Jan 31, 2016

Billy Eichner isn't afraid of Scientology

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
January 30, 2016

Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner
Billy Eichner attends the "Everything Is Copy" premiere during the 53rd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater.

Scientology ain't so scary.

Although the church has a reputation for targeting its critics, Billy Eichner - who has mocked it mercilessly - says he's not afraid of reprisal.

The "Billy on the Street" star says the once-fearsome religion has been weakened by high-profile defectors and Internet exposure.

Back in December Eichner released a video in which "Saturday Night Live" alum Rachel Dratch tackled an elaborate obstacle course named "Escape From Scientology."

The clip mocked Xenu, the god-like alien that is part of the religion and included a fake game show called "Find Shelley Miscavige," a reference to the wife of the religion's leader, David Miscavige, who has not been seen in public since 2006.

However, Eichner told Confidenti@l, "I wasn't nervous about doing it."

"I think maybe a few years ago there may have been (repercussions) but I think Scientology had a terrible year," he told us, "By the time my segment came around it was the least of their worries."

In 2015, longtime Scientologist Leah Remini quit the church and released a tell-all book about her time as a member, and HBO released "Going Clear," a documentary that exposed embarrassing details about it.

"By the time my thing came round I think it just seemed silly," he said.

"I was never scared. I think people like Leah Remini sort of talking more openly about it opened up the door to doing things like this and social media," he said, "the internet in general paved the way, it's hard to keep your cult going when the internet is around - when there are YouTubers and bloggers around. The internet has been bad for cults.”

Eichner’s talk with us coincided with a project for Butterfinger that he’s involved with in which the candy company has promised to pay the fines that the NFL players impose on its players for "excessive celebration" in the end zone.

On January 21 the company said it is willing to cough up as much as $50,000 for each player who gets penalized until the end of the season.

The comic made a video with famously exhuberant end-zone celebrator Terrell Owens.

"Terrell was great and very enthusiastic and fun," he told us.

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