Back in the ’90s, Rolling Stone called Florida State University student Bert Kreischer “the top partier … (at) the top party school in the U.S.” The story became the inspiration for the 2002 film “Van Wilder,” while Kreischer kept the fun going with reality TV shows and stand-up comedy. His comedy resembles a party too, as Kreischer often delivers his jokes bare-chested. Kreischer (who also hosts the “Bertcast” podcast) returns to Helium Comedy Club for a three-night stand.
Question: You seem enormously self-confident. What’s your secret, and do you have any insecurity?
Answer: Yeah, I’m insecure about a lot of stuff. I feel like I don’t have any self-confidence, to be dead honest with you. Oddly enough, I just finished therapy when you called, and I was just saying that I went through a period of time very recently where I could not rectify self-esteem, ego, faux-ego and the cult of personality that everyone has to portray so everybody thinks this guy’s a bad ass and the greatest comic in the world. People will tweet out, “Hey, all shows sold out.” Why are you tweeting that? Nobody needs to know that, but congratulations. You’re doing that in a humble brag kind of way. I wrestle with that all the time.
Lately, my self-esteem is a lot better because I lost 35 pounds. I guess I’m confident on stage. I don’t have swagger on stage; I just go in very positively and have a good time. That is the truth of everything; I like to have a good time. I take my shirt off, because I sweat through my shirt.
Q: That would almost be weirder, wouldn’t it?
A: It’s so funny, everybody asks me why I take my shirt off. I don’t really know. I just started doing it and I enjoyed it. It was easy for me. “Oh wow, look at all that!”
Q: Did you have any difficulty translating your “life of the party” personality on stage?
A: No. In the (Rolling Stone) article, it said I did a lot of stuff that was salacious and that I partied a lot. Also in the process, I said I wanted to be a comedian. Somebody put up a stage show at a place called Pot Bellies in Tallahassee. I did one show and was offered a morning radio show in Tallahassee. I passed on it, moved to New York and started doing standup. I always admired comics like (Greg) Giraldo, (Dave) Attell and (Mitch) Hedberg because they were living the dream. They were having a good time and partying, on stage and off stage. That resonated with me.
I was a guy who was burning it at the end of the night. I was the guy having a good time, howling laughing with five black comics I just met at the bar. (They) were being real. I liked that. I’m not Paul F. Tompkins and trying to out think you on stage. No slight to him, but you don’t have to be current with any turn-of-the-century authors to get my jokes. I’m just out to have a good time and help people feel better about their lives.
Q: What are your thoughts on “dad bods?”
A: Dads should be a comfortable place to lay down. Little kids should be able to sit on their dad’s big stomach and feel safe. You don’t want your daughter to lay her head down on your arm and she says, ‘Yo, dad, you’re so yolked!”
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St.
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 26, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Jan. 27 and 28