INTERVIEW: Bert Kreischer on Fully Loaded comedy festival and a weight-loss challenge he turned down

1/28/20 1:35:43 PM -- Los Angeles, CA

Bert Kreischer portrait session

Photography: Todd Rosenberg Photography
Hair and Makeup by Tara Nery (TaraMascara)
Styling: Jennifer May Nickel

© Bert Kreischer 2020

Credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography

Combined ShapeCaption
1/28/20 1:35:43 PM -- Los Angeles, CA Bert Kreischer portrait session Photography: Todd Rosenberg Photography Hair and Makeup by Tara Nery (TaraMascara) Styling: Jennifer May Nickel © Bert Kreischer 2020

Credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography

He and his friends will be at the Coolray Field show June 25.

Stand-up comic Bert Kreischer during the pandemic actually got a kick out of doing drive-in shows in the open air.

“I really enjoyed the outdoor spaces,” he said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I enjoy going out in the summer and being outdoors.”

He hunted down unusual open venues including minor-league stadiums. Coolray Field in Lawrenceville became a stop for the Fully Loaded Comedy Festival coming Saturday, June 25. (Tickets start at $49.75.)

“I love baseball,” he said. “I played baseball my whole life. I’ve booked eight stadiums.”

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This tour also gave Kreischer an excuse to hang out with his comedy friends. “We sit around and make each other laugh,” he said. “And everyone just roasts me. I’m an easy target. I’m oblivious to most things.”

In each city, they do something fun. In Bend, Indiana, they visited Notre Dame. In Louisville, Kentucky, they checked out Churchill Downs. In Atlanta, he’ll be with Nikki Glaser, Mark Norman and Big Jay Oakerson but as of the interview, he wasn’t sure what they planned to do.

“Why tour and just sit in your hotel room?” he said. “I want to go out and have fun!” (He may be older but fun has preceded him. He was profiled in Rolling Stone magazine in 1997 as an uber party man at Florida State University, an article that inspired the film “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” in 2002 starring Ryan Reynolds.)

This tour, he said, “is a labor of love for me.” He isn’t really paying himself but providing his friends market rate appearance fees, gift bags, tour buses and private jet travel.

How is he able to get away with this? Netflix has compensated him handsomely for four specials so far. “They are subsidizing my entire life,” he said. “I don’t know where I’d be without them. And they always have your back as an artist.”

Kreischer, who grew up in Florida, has Georgia ties via his wife LeAnn, who grew up in Bowdon (population: 2,685 in 2020). They named one of their daughters Georgia. LeAnn, when not in Los Angeles, stays at a lake house in Carroll County.

“She raises chickens,” he said. “She’ll wake up early to make biscuits with sorghum syrup for the girls. She’s forever a small-town chick. You can take the redneck out of Bowdon but you can’t take Bowdon out of the redneck.”

Last summer, Kreischer finished shooting a movie “The Machine,” based on a story from 1995 when he said he supposedly robbed a train in Russia with the Russian Mafia. It’s a comedy bit that led his fans to nickname him “The Machine.”

Like Will Ferrell, 49-year-old Kreischer enjoys going around topless whenever he can despite (or because of) his generous beer belly. “My body is falling apart,” he said. “I just started working out. Hard. I had surgery on my elbow. I did my own stunts in the movie. I tackled a dude down a flight of stairs and tore my triceps. I’m a year from surgery. I can now bench press my personal best. I’m back 100%.”

He said fellow comic and podcast king Joe Rogan once offered him $200,000 to drop below 200 pounds and keep the weight off for a year. He turned it down. “I didn’t want to sit down to eat and always have Joe Rogan in my head. I couldn’t do it,” he said.

Would he have done it for $2 million? Maybe. “Ten million dollars in a heartbeat!” he said.

The challenge is his inordinate love for food, which he brings up often on his podcasts, notably “Bertcast” and “2 Bears, 1 Cave with Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer.”

His latest obsession is pasta carbonara. “I’ve been eating it for breakfast,” he said. “It has bacon, egg and cheese!”

He said podcasts came along at the right time for his skill set: talking. A lot. “I can go three hours, no problem,” he said. “Thank goodness I am friends with really smart people who got me to do a podcast. My first paycheck from ad sales was more than I was making hosting a show on the Travel Channel. We don’t pay managers, agents or lawyers. There is no overhead.”

His original podcast set up cost all of $800 in equipment, he said.

And he can do whatever he wants on his podcast. He can interview his fellow comics or historians or his dad. He has experimented with different formats. One time, he tried an idea where he’d review all the tabs on his Internet browser. That worked well. Another time, he entered a Starbucks with a recorder and tried to eavesdrop on people. That bombed.

“You find out from fans pretty quickly if something works or not,” he said. “When you fail, the fans laugh over the failure, not at you.”

The only downside of all his yapping: “I’ve burned material in podcasts that would have been great on stage.”

IF YOU GO

Fully Loaded Comedy Festival

7 p.m. Saturday, June 25. $49.75, Coolray Field, One Braves Ave., Lawrenceville. ticketmaster.com.