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February 22, 2018

Here's Bert Kreischer: The real-life Van Wilder

The wild and crazy humorist who inspired 'National Lampoon's Van Wilder' will deliver five shows at the Trocadero

Comedians Interviews
Bert Kreischer Courtesy of Levity Talent /for PhillyVoice

Bert Kreischer appears Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 22-24 at the Trocadero Theatre in Chinatown.

Bert Kreischer will be the first to note that art and commerce are typically mutually exclusive for creative types. The veteran comic was always content to just play and pack small rooms.

"I'm a club comic," Kreischer said while calling from his Los Angeles home. 

"I love playing places like Helium in Philly."

But that changed after chatting with fellow comic Tom Segura, who has followed in the footsteps of such cerebral stand-ups as Eugene Mirman and Todd Barry, who play rock halls.

"I saw the success Tom has had and I thought, 'hey I can do this too,'" Kreischer said.

Segura sold out four shows at the Trocadero in November 2016. Kreischer has sold out five shows slated for Thursday through Saturday at the old burlesque theater.

"I feel like a rock star," he said. "It's an amazing feeling. I'm so excited about that since I'll be performing in this legendary rock hall in Philly. This is a big step for me."

You never know what Kreischer, 45, will do when he steps on stage. The charismatic comic has always been unpredictable, going back to his days as a party animal at Florida State University. Kreischer was so out of control as a student during his six-year undergraduate run at FSU, Rolling Stone named Kreischer the top partier at the number one party school in the nation. 

The Rolling Stone story inspired the 2002 film, "National Lampoon's Van Wilder."

"I don't think I was that different from many guys," Kreischer says. "It's just that the focus of the Rolling Stone article was on me."

The difference between Kreischer and so many young, inebriated slackers is that he possesses drive and talent. Kreischer relocated to Los Angeles in 2001 and killed it during showcases.

"The Rolling Stone piece let me in the door," Kreischer says. 

"Once I got in, I did really well. I went to school at FSU for all of those years, but it was all comedy for me. I finally found what I was meant to do and I haven't stopped."

I can't imagine what it's like to work a regular job. I hope I never find out."

Kreischer, who is a married father of two pre-pubescent daughters, will talk about family, relationships and pop culture. However, Kreischer will not only riff about partying, he will indulge at middle age.

"It's two in the afternoon and I've already had two drinks," Kreischer says.

However, Kreischer bristles when dubbed the Andrew W.K. (the always white clad singer-songwriter, who sings and speaks of partying) of comedy.

"The reality, which few people know about Andrew W.K., is that he doesn't party," Kreischer revealed. 

"It's all a marketing tool for him. I met him and I offered him a drink. He told me that he doesn't like to drink. That's fine, but he's really not this party animal. I like to have fun."

As much as the avid Red Hot Chili Peppers fan enjoys the party lifestyle, there is no greater high for him than getting up in front of a crowd delivering his material. 

"There is nothing more exciting than that for me," Kreischer said.

As much as Kreischer enjoys hosting travel shows, such as "The Travel Channel," "Bert the Conqueror" and "Trip Flip," it's all about stand-up.

"I've had a lot of fun doing those shows and I would like to do more of those shows, but my passion is stand-up," he said. 

"It's fun. I've always been about fun for me. I can't imagine what it's like to work a regular job. I hope I never find out."

Bert Kreischer appears Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 22-24 at the Trocadero Theatre, 10th and Arch streets, Philadelphia. Tickets are $32. Friday and Saturday shows are sold out. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

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