He’s been called many things. Most notably “The top partier at the nation’s top party school” by Rolling Stone Magazine. His life was the inspiration for the 2002 film, Van Wilder and now Bert “The Machine” Kreischer is heading to Perth with some of the craziest stories you’ll ever hear. SIAN CHOYCE spoke to him ahead of his much awaited Australian tour. You can catch his Perth show at The Octagon Theatre on September 11.
We’re thrilled to have you heading to Perth soon, have you been before?
I hadn’t planned on it at first.
Ah, that happens to Perth a lot…
I know and I said to myself “I’m definitely not flying to the other side of the world and not doing Perth”. So, I said “Can you guys add Perth?” and they were like “Sure!”
It also worked out better because once I added Perth they were like “Hey, you interested in doing Singapore?”, I was like “Fuck yeah!”. So, I fly to Singapore first and then to Perth. My first step into Australia is Perth, I cant wait.
I don’t know anything about Perth, I don’t even know what it’s like over there. I know its like completely different to the other side, I’ve only been to Sydney. So, I’ve heard it’s like a New York/L.A. kinda thing.
The New York/L.A. comparison is pretty good, except please don’t be disappointed when you step off the plane and it’s not L.A… what made you want to bring this particular show all the way to Australia or was it not your decision?
Well, I’m in Pittsburgh right now so… (laughs). In all honesty though, I never had any interest in performing globally. For me, it’s a lot easier with two kids to just do The States. Go to Omaha, Florida, New York, Pittsburgh, Philly, L.A., Arizona… It’s so much easier, you make a lot more money. As a comic, the flights are cheaper and you’re not away as long.
Very candidly, I think a lot of American comics looked at comics who did shows overseas as people who couldn’t make it in the States so they went to places like Australia or they’d go to London. It’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s very honest.
There are a lot of American comics who just perform in England and we thought “What? You couldn’t make it here?!” But, then I went to London with my family and my business manager said that if I did a show, I could write off my ticket as a business expense. So, I was like “Ok, I’ll do a show” and it sold out in 30 minutes! Then I thought “Should we add a show?” and my wife said “Hey, let’s not make a meal of it.” (laughs). So, I went and did a show and hung out with some fans and realised that podcasts have changed the dialogue of where we reach.
So, the podcast success played a big part in you touring further from The States?
Yeah, so my podcast reach is really big in Canada, Great Britain and Australia. I love Australia, I’ve been once and it was like my favourite place in the world! I made a joke on TV that they didn’t like…it was that Australia was like America with a big dick. Or like… you meet your girlfriend in college and she’s nice but then you go back to her house for Thanksgiving and Australia is like the hot younger, cooler sister who brought weed to dinner, you know?
One of the things I know as a comic as well is when you go to places like Tacoma and Spokane in the States people always say “Thanks man, we really appreciate you coming to Spokane. But, why would you come to Spokane?” But, they’re as valuable to me as a fan in New York. There’s no difference in them as people who like what I do, no matter where you live. So, when I looked at the tour, the obvious hits were Sydney and Melbourne. But, I wanted to get to more places and the number one thing I was getting online were messages from people asking about Perth. Like you mentioned in the beginning, a lot of people seem to pass a place like Perth by, but I was like “Fuck it, we’re doing it! Perth, Brisbane, let’s do them all!”. And, of course with the way the internet is, all I’m hearing now is “Oh, so you just shit on Adelaide? is that it?!” (laughs).
The podcast sounds like a great way to know where your fans are instead of blindly guessing where to do shows and hoping you have a following there. Will you been recording any podcast stuff while you’re in town?
There’s a bunch of Australian comics that I’d love to podcast with so I’m going probably going to contact them and hopefully tee something up. But, I was thinking that one way to keep me sane on this trip would be to do a podcast every day and uploading it to kinda track the tour.
Wait… so recording and uploading a podcast every day is to KEEP you sane? Sounds a little insane to me.
(Laughs) Well, I have a tendency to let tours get away from me and party too hard. So, I figured if I had something to do everyday I would have a little focus on the road. Plus, Australia is a place where you don’t say no to a beer and everyone wants to buy you a beer. So, I was trying to think of something to keep me grounded.
Your show in Perth is on September 11, did you realise that initially when things got booked and/or should we be expecting any mentions?
I do know that when I posted on Twitter about being in Perth on September 11 I got a bunch of tweets back going “Too Soon!” (laughs). But, maybe I’ll make a joke… I hadn’t really put too much thought into it.
Are you in town for long? Will you get to see all the Perth sights?
I land in Perth, I have the day there, then the show that night and I leave the next day. So, I gotta cram it all in in one day. I’ll find the one restaurant everyone says you gotta eat at, I’ll go there for lunch. One of the things I love about Australia is going for a big walk. I did that went I was in Sydney. I did like 20,000 steps. So, hopefully I’m staying somewhere central and I can just walk the entire day around Perth and see what the city has to offer.
Well, you probably won’t need the whole day so that’ll leave you extra party hunting time…
(Laughs) Well, hopefully someone will be like (broad Australian accent) “Alright mate. We got a place down at my house, big ranch. Come along with us, we’ll get you to the airport in the morning!” That’s what I’m looking for, something out of the box. Like a big bonfire or something, something crazy.
Can you give the fans any insight into what to expect at the show? From the sound of it, it’s not 9/11 jokes…
Everyone should know; don’t worry, I’ll tell the machine story (laughs). The deal I make with all my audiences in the States is; if you want the Machine story, I’ll tell the Machine story and if you want another story, I’ll tell you another story. To all the people who listen to the Podcast, I’m bringing the best stuff from there plus all the new stuff for the hour I’m shooting in February. So, it’s gonna be a lot of fun!