BILLY EICHNER I don’t remember that at all.
TAYLOR My back was to Billy’s back, and I remember hearing him and being like, “That’s exactly the kind of conversation I came to Northwestern for. I’m gonna make you my best friend.”
EICHNER He came to this “Ray of Light” party and he was this little boy from Iowa, and he wore these fake cat ears that I guess you could buy at Bloomingdale’s at the time? And I was like, “No. Who’s that person? I’m not into it.”
TAYLOR I knew you were going to bring up the cat ears.
EICHNER To this day, I don’t understand why you would walk in with cat ears.
TAYLOR I was from a very small town, I had just come out of the closet, and it was very proto-radical faerie, without the hallucinogens.
EICHNER It was like our generation’s version of cutting. Months later, we decided to move to a bigger apartment and we needed a fifth roommate. They were like, “That guy Robin said he would take it,” and I was against it. But we were desperate. To make matters worse, we had to move in the summer before junior year, and Robin and I had to live — just the two of us.
TAYLOR I had a car.
EICHNER And I was like, “Well, that’s something.” So we would go to the mall, and we would go shopping, and we’d go to the movies.
TAYLOR It was “Living Out Loud” that did it, I think.
EICHNER There was a series of movies we went to see that normal college-aged men were not going to see in the Midwest: “Living Out Loud,” with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito; “Isn’t She Great,” with Bette Midler and Nathan Lane. We were the only people in the theater, opening weekend of “Isn’t She Great” at the Old Orchard Shopping Mall. We would watch movies at home; we’d watch “Truth or Dare,” and I had a VHS of this thing called “The Oscars’ Greatest Moments.”
TAYLOR We memorized that tape.
EICHNER He was this quiet closeted gay boy in Iowa, and I was this louder closeted gay guy in New York City, but we were both locked in our rooms watching cable TV and sucking it all in. When we found each other, it was like, “Wait, you’re interested in —— ?”
TAYLOR Like, a “Whales of August” joke.
EICHNER We were theater majors in a suburb of Chicago and we were being gay and going to…