It all started with a Rolling Stone article.
In 1997, a reporter from the magazine set out to find the top partier at what Princeton Review had designated the top party school: Florida State University.
The reporter found Bert Kreischer, whose behavior evoked that of Bluto Blutarsky from Animal House but who was somehow more endearing and likeable.
The article was such a sensation that Oliver Stone wanted to make a movie out of it.
A movie was ultimately made, although the names were changed to protect the people who didn’t want to pay for the rights.
Thus it was that Kreischer unwittingly launched two careers: his own, as TV host and comedian, and that of actor Ryan Reynolds, who played a heavily disguised Kreischer impersonator in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.
Kreischer will perform at the Embassy Theatre on November 10.
Big on Netflix
From college, Kreischer went on to star in a failed TV pilot created by Will Smith’s production company. After that, he hosted two successful Travel Channel shows, Bert the Conqueror and Trip Flip.
A 2018 Netflix special called Secret Time, arranged after Kreischer struck up a conversation with a Netflix executive at an airport customs desk, sent his stand-up career into the stratosphere.
“I was in New York,” Kreischer told Flamingo magazine. “It dropped at midnight, and I was walking down the street, and I just noticed people were looking at me. I was like, ‘Holy (expletive). It seems like — is my fly down?’ I was on the front page of Netflix and I heard people going, ‘Hey, I’m going to watch your special tonight.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, cool.’ And then it was really bizarre, and then friends were texting me, ‘Dude, you’re on Netflix.’”
Even bigger in theaters
Kreischer subsequently booked his first theater tour.
“I put the theater tour on sale,” he said. “I don’t expect any change in my business. Tickets go on sale at 10 o’clock, and my wife came in, and she’s like, ‘Boston sold out like in 15 minutes. They want to add a show.’ And so then, I get out of the shower and get in bed and my agent calls me. He’s like, ‘We’re adding like seven shows today. We’re thinking about adding another 15.’”
It may not be obvious to non-comedians, but a theater tour is a huge step up.
“(T)here really is a sense of accomplishment I feel about doing a legit tour,” Kreischer told Vanyaland magazine. “I’ve always seen comics name a tour when they’re working the road, but we all do the road. That isn’t really a tour. But when you can name it, and all the tickets go on sale at once on the same day, it really is everything you’ve worked toward as a comic…”
Shirtless a hit with the fans
In Fort Wayne, the portly Kreischer is destined to perform most of his set shirtless.
Like Steve Martin's arrow hat or Gallagher's pumpkins, shirtlessness has become an essential element of Kreischer’s act.
Kreischer said he remembers how this happened but he’s not sure why it happened.
“I wish I had a more clear answer,” he told Decider.com. “At the beginning (of shows), I’d rip it off, kill a beer, and then put it back on. Then one time in Columbus, this woman started giggling. I stopped to ask her why, and she said, ‘You kept your shirt off.’ I didn’t realize I’d forgotten to put it back on.”
As much of a party animal as Kreischer tries to be, he is still the sort of guy who expects the worst.
So he is trying to live in the moment.
“There’s always this feeling that everything is fleeting when you’re a comic, like everything will be gone next year, and you’ll be back in clubs, or Netflix won’t be giving you another special,” Kreischer said.
“But I’m looking at this year very optimistically, and trying to live in the now on this tour. It’s just going to be a (expletive) blast. I’m really proud of the material I’ve written after Secret Time, and I can’t wait to share it with these crowds.”
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