The untold truth of Bert Kreischer

After years of toiling away in comedy clubs throughout America, Bert Kreischer has become one of the hottest standup comics on the scene. In addition to several Netflix specials and his Bertcast podcast, Kreischer is also the author of a memoir, Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child. Along with increasingly successful comedy tours (and an upcoming movie based on one of his most famous routines), he launched a new series for Netflix, The Cabin, in October 2020 .

It all started for Kreischer during his college years — all six-and-a-half of them — when his Animal House-style partying and legendary frat-house antics captured the attention of Rolling Stone magazine. That led him to standup comedy, TV shows, a development deal with Will Smith, having his life optioned by an Oscar-winning director and an innovative 2020 summer comedy tour.

There’s no question that Kreischer has become a force to be reckoned with, introducing a thoroughly unique — and unapologetically shirtless — voice into the world of comedy. And while he may have built up a considerable fanbase, not everyone knows the fascinating history behind this talented and defiantly unorthodox performer. To find out more, keep on reading to discover the untold truth of Bert Kreischer.

Bert Kreischer was ranked America's top college partyer

Bert Kreischer first came to public attention at age 24, when he was still in college. In fact, it was because he was still in college at 24, in his sixth year at Florida State, that he came to capture the attention of Rolling Stone for a 1997 feature focused on Kreischer’s status as “the top partyer in the Number One Party School in the country.”

In the feature, Kreischer fretted about the looming prospect of graduation. “He didn’t want to, necessarily,” wrote Rolling Stone‘s Erik Hedegaard, who had no problems rounding up anecdotes about Kreischer’s outrageous antics, including hanging naked out a car window, “feet and all,” or hitting the gym to march on a treadmill “with his pants jacked up his a**, with an apple jammed in there.” One student who had yet to meet Kreischer offered the advice received if he was ever encountered: “Run. Like. Hell.”

While others in his situation, eyeing graduation, were anxiously seeking job offers, Kreischer’s anxiety was a bit different. “What if they offer me this job?” he pondered in horror. “I might have to take it!”

Ryan Reynolds' Van Wilder was based on Bert Kreischer

The story of Bert Kreischer’s drunkenly debauched college years should ring a bell for anyone who’s seen the 2002 comedy National Lampoon’s Van Wilder. As the New York Post noted, Kreischer’s Rolling Stone profile was the inspiration for the movie, although Kreischer insisted he had nothing to do with it — and hadn’t even seen it.

Appearing on Joe Rogan’s podcast, Kreischer recounted the strange saga of how he spawned Van Wilder. “So Oliver Stone optioned the rights to my life, from the article,” said Kreischer. Eventually, “the development deal falls apart with Oliver Stone,” so the writers working on scripts “get their intellectual property back,” he explained. One of those writers “takes his movie, changes my name, sells it to National Lampoon and it becomes the movie Van Wilder.” 

Kreischer never saw a dime from Van Wilder, although being portrayed onscreen by Ryan Reynolds must have been flattering. Explaining why he never took legal action, Kreischer recalled the advice offered by comedy guru Barry Katz: “You can be the guy that sues and doesn’t work, or you can be the guy that doesn’t sue and works. Which one are you?”

Why Bert Kreischer performs standup comedy shirtless

Bert Kreischer has become known for his sans-shirt standup, proudly rocking his dad-bod physique. During an appearance on Conan, Kreischer was asked why he hits the stage shirtless. “I dunno man, I like to party,” Kreischer explained. “I found that when I take my shirt off, people wanna drink… there was a period in college when I took my pants off, too.”

Kreischer relived that particular era in an interview with the New York Post. When he ran for president of his college fraternity, he gave his campaign speech naked, declaring he “had nothing to hide.”

“That was my platform,” he continued. “It killed, and it killed because once the shock of me being naked wore off, I’m still delivering a nine-minute speech naked.” The following year, Kreischer ran again. Not only did he give his speech in the nude, he upped the ante by taking a bowel movement atop a pizza box. “All hell was breaking loose,” he told the Post, admitting he may have pushed the envelope a bit too far. “I swear to you, there were people jumping out of windows.”

Bert Kreischer's Bertcast started out very differently

Along with his live performances and standup comedy specials — 2016’s The Machine, 2018’s Secret Time and 2020’s Hey Big Boy — Bert Kreischer is also something of a podcast pioneer, introducing his Bertcast podcast in 2012. Conducted from his “mancave,” the podcasts feature Kreischer joined by other standup comics for freewheeling conversations about whatever strikes their fancy.

When he first conceived of the Bertcast, however, Kreischer had a more innovative concept in mind. “My initial idea was going into hotels and having people interview me,” Kreischer told Vulture, under the belief that he’s “a better guest than podcast host.” After trying out that format for awhile, he’d “taped a bunch and couldn’t get one that I liked.”

One day, Kreischer and his father were hanging out in his mancave with comedians Tom Segura and Joey Diaz when he had an epiphany. “I had the equipment and thought, ‘F**k it, I’m doing a podcast!’ We did it, it was so funny and got so many downloads the first day. I released the next episodes with me interviewing comedians and they were so high on the charts I thought I should keep doing it.”

Bert Kreischer's wife has her own hilariously titled podcast

Bert Kreischer isn’t the only successful podcaster in his family. The comedian’s wife (and mother of their two daughters), LeeAnn Kreischer, has her own podcast, the aptly titled Wife of the Party. Also recorded in her husband’s mancave, Wife of the Party treads far different ground than the Bertcast, ranging from book club chats to discussions on finance to a candid conversation about infertility.

During an interview with The A.V. Club, Bert shared that he was less of a relationship guy and more of a “went to a bar, got drunk, and then hooked up” guy before LeeAnn entered into his life. Regarding the first time they met, he said “I remember thinking, ‘This is the kind of chick that you can f**king marry!'” he recalled. They went to a gay bar on their first date and had “a great time” together. “She was the only woman in there and we ended up having a blast and we kissed and the rest is history,” he said.

A bear once sat on Bert Kreischer

One of Bert Kreischer’s most famous standup routines stems from a TV show he once had, FX’s Hurt Bert, which featured a Jackass-derived premise that placed him in potentially harmful/painful situations. For one episode, as he recalled in a Comedy Central standup performance, he was asked to fight a bear.

“So I show up on set, and it’s a real grizzly bear,” he explained. The bear’s trainer told Kreischer to place a marshmallow in his mouth and “casually” display it so the bear would eat it from his mouth, in order to form trust. Things took a weird turn when, as Kreischer described, the bear “grabs me by the ears, both paws, lifts me off the ground effortlessly, and starts trying to shake marshmallows out of my a**.” The chaos didn’t end there. “I slide out of his paws, land on my back, and that’s the last thing I remember, because apparently his instincts took over and he sat on my face,” he recalled.

Luckily, Kreischer’s future wife LeeAnn was on the set, and placed a marshmallow in her mouth to distract the bear so Kreischer could be dragged to safety. He “knew without a doubt in that instant” that she was the one, before adding, “I would’ve never done that for her.”

A Bert Kreischer routine is headed for the silver screen

Another legendary standup routine from Bert Kreischer is what’s come to be known as “The Machine.” The bullet points are: Kreischer accidentally studied Russian in college (mistakenly thinking was taking Spanish); he travelled to Russia as part of a class trip; he wound up being befriended my members of the Russian mob, who nicknamed him “The Machine” for his ability to drink anyone under the table; his inadvertent underworld connections led him to become complicit in a mob-orchestrated train robbery.

In fall 2019, Variety reported that Legendary Entertainment had optioned the rights to turn Kreischer’s story into a full-fledged feature film after video of the performance went viral on social media, with more than 85 million views. In an interview with Haute Living, Kreischer — who is a producer on the project — said he’d just seen a script.

Kreischer noted he owed it all to fellow comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan, who had heard him tell the story and encouraged him to include it in his act. “That was a game changer,” Kreischer said, admitting he “was going to actually retire that story before it went viral.”

Bert Kreischer has a unique way of showing his family love

Bert Kreischer has some unusual ways to express affection for his family. As he told The Laugh Button, “I don’t trust people who frame their life in an Instagram or Facebook propaganda kind of way. I trust parents who are like, ‘Oh, my kid’s a f**king idiot.’ And so that’s the kind of dad that I am.” Taking that one step further, Kreischer admitted, “I’ll trash my family to let you know how much I love them. And they do the same to me.” 

When he was working on his special Secret Time, he said he began “talking about my family no holds barred,” and revealed he had to “clear” his routines with them ahead of time. “I literally had to say to my daughters when I was doing the special, ‘Hey, I need to stop this now or change this wording now, but I call you guys dumb as f**k in the special,'” Kreischer explained.

In an interview with Fatherly, Kreischer was asked to describe himself as a father in three words. Selfish. Mediocre. Loving,” he replied. “There are dads who kill it. I’m not one of those dads.”

Bert Kreischer is a 'master of self-promotion'

Given Bert Kreischer’s party-animal reputation and shirtless shenanigans, fans may be surprised to discover just how seriously he takes his comedy career. That can be seen in the promotional efforts for his various projects, be they his podcast or standup specials or comedy tours. Rather than outsourcing to a PR firm, Kreischer decided the person who could most effectively get the word out about Bert Kreischer… is Bert Kreischer.

“I had a change in heart in how I ran my business and kind of took charge of promoting myself,” he told Pollstar, which described him as “his own in-house marketing department and content creator.” As he explained, he had to stop seeing himself as just a comedian, pointing out that, for most comedians, even if a gig is poorly attended “you’re getting paid so it doesn’t matter so much… But I started caring.”

According to Kreischer’s agent, United Talent Agency’s Heidi Feigin, “Bert is a master of self-promotion. He is not afraid to really put himself out there… As a client, he is a true force of nature with unparalleled work ethic and determination.”

Prepping for a show isn't Bert Kreischer's thing

Some comedians have developed preparation techniques and pre-show rituals prior to taking to the stage. Bert Kreischer, however, prefers to be as unprepared as possible before confronting an audience. Asked by Vulture how he prepares for a show, Kreischer replied, “I don’t. Literally, I don’t.”

Admitting he doesn’t drink before a set, he said he’ll “always panic and think that I won’t remember anything. Sometimes I look over notes. I like to write on stage and that’s it… I feel like my style of standup is like this thing called the Angel’s Share. In whiskey it is the amount of liquor that soaks into the wood barrel or evaporates and they say it’s a gift to the angels.”

As he explained, “I’m not that kind of comic that prepares a specific set.” In fact, he admitted that he becomes “so bored” if he witnesses a comic performing “the same prepared set night after night.” Kreischer declared that his preference lies with “comics like Janeane Garofalo who is very stream of conscious in an honest way. I like watching someone figure it out.”

Netflix invited Bert Kreischer to stay at The Cabin

In October 2020, Bert Kreischer unveiled a new Netflix series, The Cabin. “Fast-living comic Bert Kreischer heads to a cabin for some self-care and invites his funny friends to join his quest to cleanse his mind, body, and soul,” described Netflix in its synopsis. 

According to Decider, Kreischer says in the first episode, “My lifestyle’s catching up with me, and if I keep going like this, I’m gonna have a heart attack.” As a result, he’s decided to “take some time away, go to the wilderness, I’ll eat, I’ll pray, I’ll love, I’ll journal, meditate, hydrate, contemplate, isolate. I’ll get better. I promise.”

Naturally, none of that happens. Instead, Kreischer asks guest stars ranging from Kaley Cuoco to Caitlyn Jenner to join him in a series of activities meant to nourish both body and soul — but don’t. Kreischer’s wife, Decider‘s review described, busts him on what he’s really up to when they talk on FaceTime. “You can’t relax, you can’t be by yourself, and now you’ve created this TV show so that you neither relax nor be by yourself,” she tells him. “Let me guess, you’ve invited some people up there, haven’t you?” Oh, how right she is.

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