The comedy man cometh

Bert Kreischer at Dayton Funny Bone

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

Photo: Bert Kreischer will perform Nov. 6-8 at Dayton Funny Bone

Remember at the end of “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978) how they do a little freeze-frame on each character to let you know where they ended up? And you see the one for John Belushi’s Bluto and you just have to smirk because while it is on the one hand ridiculous to think that someone who has led a college career like Bluto’s would ever end up ALIVE, much less in the senate, on the other hand you’re going, “Well, yeah, actually that kind of makes sense.” Reminds me of a contemporary tippler I spoke to recently…

If you enjoyed those wily Deltas, I’m certain you have an affection for the comedy of Bert Kreischer, who spent the better part of the ’90s at Florida State University where he made a name for himself as a six-year senior who got up to such antics as defecating on stage into a pizza box to win a fraternity election and giving Rolling Stone Magazine such a memorable interview so as to be deemed “The #1 Party Animal in the Country,” which ostensibly inspired “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.” Where others have burned out, Kreischer instead has flourished, turning his good-natured party-happy sensibilities into development deals with the likes of Will Smith and CBS/20th Century Fox, comedy specials on Comedy Central, reality shows on the Travel Channel, weekly podcast Bertcast on the All Things Comedy Network, a book released in May of 2014 titled “Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child,” and a nickname from the Russian mafia (but you’ll have to ask “The Machine” about that train robbery another time).

Kreischer is currently filming Bert the Conqueror and touring his stand-up, which will make a stop at Dayton Funny Bone from Friday, Nov. 6 to to Sunday, Nov. 8. Kreischer recently took the time to talk on the phone with Dayton City Paper from the back of a car on his way to Baltimore from Washington D.C. Here are some of the highlights:

With the shooting and travel schedule for your reality travel shows, how do you have the time to tour with your stand-up? 

Bert Kreischer: If you’re born a comic, the deal is that you use the stand-up crowd, so you always do stand-up. If that’s your passion, you do stand-up. That is how that works. Now television is more the icing on the cake. With television, you just enjoy it. It’s just all fun stuff.

I was listening to your Bertcast with Yakov Smirnoff, and I was impressed by your total recall of every inch of his career.

BK: So, oddly enough, this is the first thing they told me when I started working for the network, they were like, “Find passion, and passion will beget great passion.” I try to apply that to my podcast. I’m very passionate about stand-up. I love stand-up. I love stand-up. And I love good stand-up stories. So I kind of found a guy that I was passionate about. Yakov Smirnoff is a really interesting guy. … He’s kind of redefined himself like, four or five times. The guy made 20 million dollars in Branson, Missouri. That’s so bizarre. I find that amazing.

You mentioned during that conversation that the goal is to make a lot of money and then do whatever you want. So, what do you want? Are we talking lying on a beach with an endless case of beer? Or, like, making a film?

BK: I’d make a film if I could make a film. Like, if people wanted me to make a film. I really, really, really, really genuinely want to just end up on a beach. But I don’t think I’d ever want to stop doing stand-up. I’d love to keep doing stand-up. I could do stand-up on the beach. Maybe like a beach shop stand-up place.

Would you consider yourself a feminist or, um…

BK: No, you don’t have to say “um.” I’m a hardcore feminist. I never realized the importance of feminine issues until I had girls. It was a real eye-opening experience, and I think that is for all the guys I’m friends with who have girls. You got to remember, we grew up in the ’90s, which was a kind of like this mouth-breathing mentality, and I don’t think anyone was really sensitive to anything. Once I met [my wife] LeeAnn, it changed my personality, changed the way I look at the world. I read Lindy West’s blog because I want to know what she’s thinking. I want my little girls to have the biggest scope of perspective that they can have. I think you change by your life experiences. … And if I had had little boys, I would have just been baseball, football. I wasn’t comfortable when I had two girls, not at all. I was nervous.

What a great opportunity to learn.

BK: It is. It’s a great opportunity to learn. I learn more about having little girls, I swear to God, in my life, for me, not for them, for me, I learn more about women. I’ve always been pro-choice. It’s not until you have little girls that you start seeing every woman as a little girl, you know? It’s like, “Oh, shit! They were just a little girl also!” That blew me away. That was the first thing that blew me away. These little girls are just little girls. They’re my daughters. One day my daughter is going to have to deal with a lot of decisions, and I’ll want to sit there as a father and support them. It’s really bizarre, you know?

You had some wild times in college. How would the ’90s have been different if there had been social media then?

BK: It happened so gradually that even I got in front of the bus where I was like, “Oh, uh, you need to realize everyone is videotaping you at all times.” The ’90s were like, if someone pulled out a video camera, everyone was like, “Oh, this is so awesome. I can’t wait to be videotaped doing the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” You know what I mean? I feel like there’s an onslaught of audio and videotape, and not knowing when people videotape you. That’s happened to me a lot. You don’t know what you’re saying. You’ve got to have a pure heart, have, like, a solid heart about life and people.

Bert Kreischer will be at Dayton Funny Bone Friday and Saturday Nov. 6-7 with shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Dayton Funny Bone is located in The Greene Town Center at 88 Plum St. For tickets, visit For more about Bert including news and videos, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at To read more from Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin, visit her website at

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at or through her website at

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