Bert Kreischer brings ‘Fully Loaded’ comedy tour to Baltimore

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

Bert Kreischer performs shirtless standup.(Todd Rosenberg/Fortune Feimster)
WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Bert Kresicher's 'Fully Loaded' comedy tour (Part 1)

He turned his college party animal background into a signature brand of shirtless stand-up specials.

This Thursday, Bert Kreischer brings his “Fully Loaded” comedy tour to the new CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, featuring Dave Attell, Tiffany Haddish, Big Jay Oakerson, Dan Soder, Rich Vos and Tammy Pescatelli.

“The G.O.A.T. is Dave Attell,” Kreischer told WTOP. “Dave Attell is the best comedian you’re ever going to see in your entire life. He is the one we’re all copying, the one we’re all imitating, he is my favorite comic alive, his ‘Skanks for the Memories’ is the best comedy album ever made and, I’ve gotta be honest with you, this entire comedy tour is based around me getting to watch Dave Attell perform, I’m being dead serious when I say that.”

Born in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1972, Kreischer gained fame during his sixth year at Florida State University in 1997 when Rolling Stone named him the top partier at the nation’s No. 1 party school. This article was optioned by Oliver Stone before being sold to National Lampoon as the film “Van Wilder” (2002) starring Ryan Reynolds.

“I had nothing to do with the movie,” Kreischer said. “Supposedly I was the basis of the movie, but once you make a movie, you realize just how much work goes into a movie, so it’s disingenuous for me to claim any of that massive success. They made a great movie and I had nothing to do with it … Oliver Stone optioned the rights to my life and it gave me the courage to move to New York … then Will Smith discovered me and I moved out to L.A.”

Indeed, after getting his start at Potbelly’s in Tallahassee, Florida, Kreischer moved to New York City to perform at the legendary Boston Comedy Club, which sadly closed in 2005. In 2009, he performed the Comedy Central standup special “Comfortably Dumb,” wearing clothes before finding his niche of performing shirtless on stage.

“I did ‘Comfortably Dumb’ and one of my buddies was like, ‘It didn’t seem like you, what was up with the collared shirt?’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know, that’s what Comedy Central told me to wear,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah but you rip your shirt off, I love that energy,'” Kreischer said. “So I would do it … I’d rip my shirt off, kill a beer, listen to music as I got on stage and turn it into a party, then one day I took my shirt off and forgot to put it back on. I just left it off.”

More TV standup specials followed, including Comedy Central’s “This is Not Happening” (2015), Showtime’s “The Machine” (2016) and Netflix’s “Secret Time” (2018), “Hey Big Boy” (2020) and “Razzle Dazzle” (2023).

Beyond standup comedy, he’s also hosted various TV reality series, including FX’s “Hurt Bert” and the Travel Channel’s “Bert the Conqueror” (2010) and “Trip Flip” (2012), but admits they were mostly for the paychecks.

“That was to pay the bills,” Kreischer said. “Hosting is a good way to make money, it’s a muscle, you gotta know how to do it, it’s fun but it’s not standup. I had a blast doing those Travel Channel shows, they were fun, but it was a lot like being a stripper. It was a good time, but there was no future in it. No one gets a gold watch from Travel Channel … now they’ve fired the whole network and it’s just ghosthunting. No one even travels anymore.”

More recently, Kreischer hosted TBS’ “Go-Big Show” (2021-2022) with judges like Snoop Dogg, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Nettles, T-Pain and WWE’s Cody Rhodes, who “texted me the day he ripped his pec off,” Kreischer said. “I say I’m a casual wrestling fan, but then I hung out with Cody and realized I’m a legit wrestling fan … we’d sit up and talk about the Von Erichs, Chief Wahoo McDaniel, Ric Flair and his dad … I was a big Dusty Rhodes fan.”

Kreischer investigates himself in his memoir, “Life of the Party: Stories of a Perpetual Man-Child” (2014), and podcasts like “Bertcast,” “Open Tabs,” “Something’s Burning” and “2 Bears, 1 Cave” with Tom Segura.

“Podcasting forces you to remember your interests because you talk so much,” Kreischer said. “It’s just me and Tom. We’ve known each other for 19 years. It’s just us hanging out and making each other laugh … it doesn’t feel like work, but it’s funny, it cannibalized our real relationship because we only talk for money now. The other day he called me on the phone and I was like, ‘What do you want? … Can we just talk about this on the podcast?'”

This summer, he’s also starring in the new action comedy flick “The Machine,” which hit movie theaters last month. He plays a fictionalized version of himself inspired by a real-life predicament involving the Russian mafia.

“When I was 22, I got involved with the Russian mafia and we robbed a train,” Kreischer said. “I told that story on (Joe) Rogan’s podcast and it got legs, it went viral, it blew up and changed my career. In the process of it getting big, I started pitching it as a movie. One day I pitched it on accident to Legendary (Pictures) and they envisioned a re-imagining of that story where me and my father, played by Mark Hamill, get kidnapped by the Russian mafia.”

Whether it’s the movie “The Machine” or his “Fully Loaded” comedy tour in Baltimore, he just wants folks to get out of the house and share a laugh in person after years of pandemic isolation in our fractured society.

“We got trained by COVID to stay in our house and get on Zooms,” Kreischer said. “Look, Netflix is awesome, it’s been a great home to me, I have five specials on Netflix, go to Netflix tonight and watch ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ but get out of the house on Thursday and go see ‘Fully Loaded,’ then go on Friday to see my movie ‘The Machine.’ Get out of the house and live life like it’s 1987! We forget how much fun going out and interacting can be.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Bert Kresicher's 'Fully Loaded' comedy tour (Part 2)

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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