“Hold on,” was how Bert Kreischer answered the phone. Turns out he was eating Buffalo wings at an airport bar.
“I can’t wait to get to Buffalo. I’m dying to see Niagara Falls and buy a bunch of snow globes,” Kreischer said.
He’ll get his chance this week. Kreischer is appearing tonight, Friday and Saturday at Helium Comedy Club.
The 16-year comedy veteran’s start in the business was an unusual one. In his sixth year at Florida State University, Rolling Stone magazine featured him as the No. 1 partier at the top party school in the U.S. In the article, Kreischer said he wanted to be a comedian, so a local radio station put together a comedy show with him as headliner.
“I played high school baseball with Brad Radke, who pitched for the Minnesota Twins, and I remember the looks on parents’ faces when he played. You could tell from their faces, how good he was and that’s what I felt like after that first show,” he explained.
The Rolling Stone article also got the attention of Oliver Stone, who wanted to do a movie based on Kreischer’s life. The deal fell apart but eventually it turned into, “Van Wilder,” a 2002 film that helped launch the career of Ryan Reynolds
“I got no compensation, no input for it,” he said. “But one day I would like to run into Ryan Reynolds and tell him that he was playing me.”
His career hasn’t been without struggles. He has bombed like every other comedian.
“I was in New York City and my sister and cousin came out to see me, and I brought a guitar on stage. But all the audience wanted was for me to play so they weren’t listing to anything I was saying, I bombed hard. On the cab ride home, my sister pulled a sticker off the cab and put it on my guitar which I still have today in my man cave,” he said.
Currently he hosts Bert the Conqueror, on the Travel Channel, where he visits amusement parks and other entertainment venues and promotes unusual sports. “They are the best employers ever. They are fine with anything I do basically and it allows me to continue to do stand-up,” Kreischer said.
Kreischer’s long term goals would be to continue to play clubs but also branch out to theaters and to publish a book based on his early days. “I’m a big believer in saying things out loud, I think he that helps you focus your goals.”
His advice to anyone interested in becoming a comedian?
“Just get on stage,” he said. “Just get those 10,000 hours on stage in, but also get out there and live. Don’t hole up in your apartment and just write jokes, be a real human being and develop your own voice. Then you will be undeniable.”