You are hard pressed to find a comedian who loves comedy and comedians more than Bert Kreischer does. Obviously there’s going to be comradery amongst most comics, but Bert has this uncanny ability to take that enthusiasm and amplify it by 10. He turns being a fan of comedy into an art form, while still managing to be really f*cking funny himself. And there’s no greater testament to both attributes than his new Netflix series, The Cabin with Bert Kreischer.
The premise of the series is simple. Based off of a French series (yes, really), The Cabin finds Bert in the woods with a bunch of his friends, doing activities to try to relax and just sort of unwind. Some of these activities range from a sound bath and spiritual crystals to yelling therapy and chopping up an emu, and all else in between. It’s the sort of craziness mixed with friendship bonding techniques that you’d expect to find from a series hosted by Bert Kreischer.
And while everyone has been sort of slowing down a bit this year, Kreischer hasn’t stopped it seems. As soon as he was done working on The Cabin (which didn’t even start filming until January this year), he went on a massive, 100% safe drive-in tour with the Hot Summer Nights tour. On top of it, he’s been filming an upcoming competition series that he’s the host of for TBS that premieres in 2021. So yes, it seems as if there’s very little that can hold Bert Kreischer back from doing what he does best. Killing it onstage and being a force of creative energy, even within a pandemic.
We recently spoke with Bert Kreischer over the phone from his tour bus. During the course of our talk, we talked about The Cabin, why you can’t write for Joey Diaz, the genius of Ms. Pat, getting emotional over his dad talking to Caitlyn Jenner, being a “quick fix” guy, interviewing Adam Sandler, and what he’s been able to take away from 2020.
I don’t know if you remember, we actually last spoke back on March 9th, and you invited me to come to your show on the 17th at The Comedy Store. Long story short, I booked a plane ticket, made my arrangements, and then we all know what happened next.
(Laughs). I know. I was in my front yard when I was talking to you. I remember that distinctly.
It was such a weird time.
I look back and think “Of all the things I had planned this year. How things have changed in shifted in such a weird way. And maybe for the better for me?” I don’t know. But I had a very, very weird year, too.
I bet you didn’t think you’d be playing drive-in’s.
I did not know I’d be playing drive-ins. I did not know I’d be sitting in my tour bus in a field in Amarillo right now talking to you again. I thought we’d be having cocktails on the top of the Chrysler building. (Laughs).
Hopefully next year. Well let’s jump into it and talk about The Cabin. I just finished the series this morning, and I loved it. It’s so amazing. First thing I want to ask is I had no idea that it was based on a French series, until I heard you talking about that. So how did that wind up being something you wanted to do?
It’s interesting. I went to a meeting with this producer. And we were talking about turning The Machine into a movie. And he said “I just watched this French series called The Cabin. And it just made me think of you.” And we started talking. And he’s like “You know how you’re always working. What if you took a break? What if you took a break and had your comedian friends come out?” It’s so funny. He started talking about dynamite fishing with Bill Burr. And the things that we could do if me and my friends came out. That was the first thing he said. Dynamite fishing with Bill Burr. And I couldn’t stop laughing. We were howling laughing at just how weird my friends are and how crazy they are and the kind of cool stuff that we cool do out in a cabin. And it was based on the French series, and I think initially we wanted to script it all. But we didn’t at all. We ended up just going with the flow. There’s times where we pushed a story in a direction, but for the most part, it’s this weird kind of combination of reality television meets podcasting.
And that’s something that I think the series manages to do really well, is capture how comics interact with each other offstage. This is sort of how comics talk.
100 percent. I think the executives at Netflix knew that. Sometimes you forget. Netflix is so easy to work with that you forget how much of a hand that they have in the pie, you know? And how influential the direction is. And they literally love comics. They love comics. And they’re so savvy about comics. So I think they were like, “We’re such big fans of you guys we think we could just put all of you in a cabin and it could be hilarious.”
It is. So how did it evolve from those initial sort of discussions?
I think we brought it to Netflix, told them about it, and they were familiar with the series. And then from there, we got a writer’s room because, like I said, we thought we were going to script it. As we went along, you’re like “Why would you ever script Bill Burr? You’re not going to write better for Bill Burr.” And Bill was the person that I initially had, thinking he would be in the series. But because of his schedule, with The Mandalorian, we lost him. But I thought “Tom Segura and Joey Diaz. How are you ever going to script Joey Diaz? Nobody could write for Joey Diaz.” And we kept saying that. “Joey Diaz will come in and then he’ll say this, he’ll say that.” And all things we were saying all paled in comparison to what Joey Diaz would really say.
And so, at the end of the day, the execs sort of greenlit whatever activities they found to be television worthy. And some of the ideas were like crystal healer. I think it would be fun. I thought that I could get into that sh*t, like hardcore I believe in crystals. But the idea of that juxtaposed with Joey and Tom we thought would just absolutely be hilarious.
And that’s one of the parts that I love. Just how much you can commit to either the crystal healer or the sound bath. And then, of course, the skepticism coming from who you’re with.
I’m a big quick fix guy. I am a big quick fix guy. If you tell me a sound bath is going to take the anxiety away, I will do sound baths every single day. I still do polar plunges and hot saunas. I am a HUGE quick fix guy. If you tell me that there’s a crystal that I can keep in my pocket that’s going to get my dick hard, I will keep that crystal there for f*cking days. And the beauty of some of my friends is they’re all cynics. Every comic is a subtle cynic. So Joey sees the crystals and just start mocking it. And at times, people went along with it and got into the certain things. And that was hilarious. Like Anthony Anderson, I did not expect him to get into rolfing the way he did. He loved it.
He said he had actually done it before.
Yeah! And I’ve rolfed. Rogan had gotten me into rolfing. And he got me with that guy, Don the rolfer, specifically because I have plantar fasciitis. And it helped me through plantar fasciitis. It was painful, it was horrible, but I knew it was good TV. It’s a good radio, podcast, TV event. And so I was shocked Anthony got into it. But then Deon bled out of his mouth and we had to stop. So I’m a quick fix guy. Easy.
And one of the things that was the biggest surprise for me was the Ms. Pat episode. I obviously knew how funny she is, but seeing her interactions with Kaley Cuoco, it was just a goldmine. It was hysterical.
It was so funny. And once again the beauty of letting the show breathe and be what it is, is had you scripted it… My intention was Kaley and Pat getting along like peanut butter and jelly. Because I’ve never really introduce somebody to Pat where they didn’t vibe immediately. My wife and Pat are best friends. Literally she called me last night – we’re releasing these house shoes – and said “So Leanne got me on that list of free shoes?” And I’m like “Yeah.” And then Pat and I were texting. I mean, I expected Kaley and Pat to just take off as best friends. And the relationship they had was [a surprise]. And I don’t like to speak on behalf of knowing anything about culture or the difference in culture, but from knowing Pat the way I do, Pat liked Kaley. But I think Kaley thought that Pat didn’t like her. Pat treated her with respect by being honest with Kaley. That’s the way Pat shows love. And I’ll say this. This is a safe thing to say. I don’t think Kaley grew up with a lot of people like Pat in her life, and I don’t think Pat grew up with a lot of people like Kaley in her life.
I don’t think Kaley is used to people being so open and coming up to her and saying how much they don’t like The Big Bang Theory in that way. That must have been unusual.
It’s very unusual. And it’s interesting to me because I get very protective of Kayley in that situation, where I say “Hey, we have all made projects where we don’t want to be held to the fire for them [when meeting people in real life].” Including The Cabin. I’m sure there are people that really hate this show. And I wouldn’t want to deal with them face to face. But one of the things about Pat is that her honesty means she loves you. When she’s honest with you, that means she loves you. And I was trying to turn the corner with the two of them. And we were drinking whiskey and Joel was there. It was a really beautiful moment, in my opinion.
And what’s interesting is that you’d think immediately Black Twitter would have Pat’s back and Big Bang Theory people would go after Pat. A lot of Big Bang Theory people went after Pat online. But Black Twitter was split down the middle. They’re like “Hey, Big Bang Theory’s a great show!” You would think, knowing what we know about the internet, that people would choose sides just based on willy nilly. But man, they were all pretty fair. And you know, a lot of Big Bang Theory people were like “I love Ms. Pat.” Ms. Pat’s a treasure in my opinion. I hope this show blows her up. I mean, she’s got so much sh*t going on. But I love Ms. Pat.
She’s the absolute best. And I talked to her very early on, back when I only had like less than 10 interviews under my belt. And I honestly don’t think I was ready at that point in my career to talk to Ms. Pat. I think now I could do a lot better with it.
Well you know what it is? She also doesn’t trust a lot of people. She keeps her cards close to her vest. When I first interviewed her for my podcast, it was really bizarre because it was before she really knew what podcasting was. And she didn’t know what to make of me. So she brought her 30 year-old son with her. And I was in my hotel room in Indianapolis. An he got in my bed, in my hotel room, and went to sleep under the covers. And I was like “Who the f*ck is this person? She just brought a grown man into my room who crawled into my bed and went to sleep.” And now I’m doing an interview with her, and my first question was “I want to hear about your nipple.” And she says “Oh, it got shot off in a drug deal.” And I was like “What???” I mean, that’s the first thing you hear about this woman! I fell in love with her. And everyone I introduced her to, Ari Shaffir, Tom Segura, Joey Diaz, Joe Rogan, everyone has fallen in love with this woman.
She’s great. And jumping around some more, I like how you decided to start the series with that damn emu. Because it was really cool how, if nothing else, you’re saying “This is what the show is going to be. And it’s not for the faint of heart.”
It’s interesting. That was the very first thing we did. If I’m being candid, I think part of the time when Segura showed up, we were all on eggshells like “What’s this show going to be?” Segura was the very first person who showed up for the show. That was the very first thing we did. And we did it because he’s my best friend. And we sit at a table and can talk about nothing and make each other laugh. We knew that would be funny. But I bought that emu thinking that it would be quartered and me and him would basically just cut it in stakes. I thought that’s what it was. And the crew had gotten hazmat suits for us. And I was like “We don’t need hazmat suits. I mean, if we’re gonna eat it, it can’t be bad, right?” I didn’t realize it was a full emu. And so when I opened that, when I’m literally standing there going “I don’t think I can do this,” I was talking about the series. I was like “I don’t think I can do this. I’m going to laugh like this every single day, and it’s going to be crazy sh*t like this every single day for a month. This is going to be a month to remember.” That laugh – I just rewatched it the other day – that laugh where I sit down with the guys and say “I don’t think I can do this,” there is so much behind that. Because literally that is the first thing we’re doing in the entire series.
The stuff that you guys are able to get away with is pretty amazing.
I think it speaks to like, I don’t mean defiantly, but just putting your foot in the sand and saying “This is all comedy. We understand what we’re doing here is pretty aggressive, but we’re just trying to make you laugh. We’re trying not to offend. But we are going to take big swings on this show.” There were so many times on the series where I was like “We can’t use any of that.” Like when me and Bobby [Lee] and Donnell [Rawlings] were doing the scream therapy, and they were just doing racist accents to each other, I was like “You’re not allowed to talk like that anymore.” But it was making us laugh so hard. When the fortune teller comes up and tells Donnell “I’m getting the sense your dad wasn’t around” and I said “Are you saying that because he’s black?”, I was like “They’re not gonna put that in.” And then they put it in. And that’s a testament to Netflix, it really is, for believing in us and for saying “This is funny. And we’re gonna stand by you.” They do that with specials, and they did that with this TV show. And I think that’s why Netflix is miles beyond anyone in comedy.
Because when you do a special with Netflix, you think they’re giving you no notes. They’re not giving you no notes, because they will. [A Netflix executive], on the last special that I did, said “Hey, your gun bit.” And I was like “Uh oh. Now I get a note from Netflix about my gun bit.” She said “When you were in L.A.,” and I was like “You were at my L.A. show?” “At the Ace Theatre you said ‘If you’re for guns, you’re going to hate this joke. If you’re against guns, you’re really going to hate this joke.’ You took that out.” And I was like “Oh, I was just trying to save time.” She goes “I love that part. I love that part.” And I was like “Okay!” So in that way, Netflix is like the parent who is not a helicopter parent. They’re letting you go on your way and supporting you like “Yeah. My son dyed his hair pink and cut it into a mohawk and I love him. And I trust that he’s getting good grades.”
I think it’s good for comedy that comedians have a place like Netflix where they can take risks beyond just being in a club trying a joke out, but in their own special as well. I think that really says something.
Yeah. I remember our executive, Ben, would come in and literally drive us for more content. Like “I see 10 things on the board. I want to see 20. You’ve got Tom Segura. He’s one of our biggest entities on the thing. What are we going to do?” Really visionary. They were never “No” notes. They were “Yes” notes, if that makes any sense.
It definitely does. And it’s a good sign I think that so far there hasn’t seemed to be any backlash for any of the things in there, including the yelling therapy. So I think people really got what you guys were going for.
I had a movie producer say “I’m a big animal rights activist and very heavily involved in all the organizations. And I didn’t love the emu part. But after that, I loved everything about the show.” And I was like “Really?” And she was like “Yeah. I wasn’t even bothered about the emu part. I understand that people are going to process meat and eat it. But still seeing the bird like that bothered me. But I loved the series. I really loved the Caitlyn Jenner one.” I was like “Wow.” She ended up watching the whole series even after the thing with the emu!
And speaking of Caitlyn Jenner, I loved the moment between her and your dad. And even cooler was your reaction to it, and just how emotional you got. I didn’t expect such a touching moment.
Well, I didn’t expect to be moved like that. I think that goes back to, I believe, the beauty of where comedy is right now. And it’s because of podcasting. Everyone’s very cool showing who they are about everything. I don’t really talk about politics ever onstage or in stand-up or anything like that, or even on podcasts, but I’ll tell you everything about my life. Like everything about me that you need to know. And I have no problem being a little too honest or a little too real or dropping my guard and allowing myself to cry because my dad got moved while talking to his hero, you know?
Absolutely. It really does feel like the Bert Kreischer we’ve come to know through podcasts and stand-up. The last thing I want to ask about the series is, if you were to do a season two, who would be some of your dream guests? Maybe even some people that the public might not know and you’d like to introduce?
That’s really interesting. I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of New York comics I’d love to have on. We didn’t have on very many New York comics. And it was just based on location. There were so many New York comics that would be amazing on this show that I’ve known for 20 some-odd years. A lot of young New York comics, too, that are all doing podcasts that are absolutely killing it. I’d love to have all the Tough Crowd guys – Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Bobby Kelly. All those guys. I’d love to get Sebastian [Maniscalco] out there. I would love to get Chris Distefano, Yannis Pappas, Andrew Schulz, Mark Normand. All those guys. And then I would love to get 2 Dope Queens, Desus and Mero. I’d love to get the 85 South Show guys. It’s a podcast that I’m obsessed with, with Karlos Miller, DC Young Fly, and Chico Bean. I’d love to get them out there. And I’d definitely push to get Snoop out. I’ve become friends with Snoop recently, and I think he is one of the most interesting, fascinating, generous men I’ve ever met in my life. But yeah, I haven’t really thought about doing a season two. I’d love to do an episode with me and Tom and Jennifer Anniston [Laughs]. That’s season two.
But I haven’t really thought about that, to be honest with you. It was such an event to get through season one, what with COVID. And we shot hard and fast and the editing process was pretty extensive. Because if you watch the show, it’s really a stroke of genius from the executives and the editors and the directors. But I’ve never even thought about season two, and that’s crazy because every other show I’ve ever done, I’ve always talked about season two. I’m always like “Here’s what I’d do for season two!!” I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest with you.
Well after this year, you might need to go relax without a camera crew.
I’ll tell you, man. I went right from that series right on tour. And I’ve been on tour this entire pandemic. We’re driving home from our last show in Chicago the other night. 30 degrees, shirtless onstage, raining, snow flurries, absolutely gorgeous.
That sounds crazy. Well you definitely deserve to relax after all this. And I remember early on in the pandemic, you did one of the funniest things that truly made me laugh, which was your interview with Adam Sandler. It was everything we needed right then. I’ve gotta ask, after that, have you tried reaching out and getting him to come on one of your podcasts?
I would love that. You know, Adam’s a little bit of an old head when it comes to podcasts and stuff like that. He’ll do like Spade’s or Norm’s or his buddy’s, but he’s not doing like podcast runs. I gotta be honest with you, man. That interview speaks so much to exactly my personality and who I am. Because I am genuinely a heartfelt fan first and foremost. Like, you could be my best friend, and I sometimes will be more of a fan of yours. I was just laying in bed back to back listening to Rogan with Matthew McConaughey and Kanye West. And by the way, Rogan’s one of my closest friends. So I can definitely be a fan of his. And I’m a fan of Adam Sandler’s. And I’m also cool with looking like a fool. I don’t need to be a cool guy comic who has like a biting take on everything. I can just be a goofball and giggle.
And I swear to you that I thought that interview went perfect. I swear to God. I did not see it the way everyone else saw it, until I got in the car. I got in the car, I was driving home. And Mike Gibbons called me. He was a writer on The Cabin. And he called me and he goes “That Sandler interview was amazing.” And in my head I was like “Huh. I didn’t think it was amazing. I thought I did a good job. But I didn’t think it was amazing.” Literally, I swear to God. I’m not even joking. So I was like “Amazing?” And he’s like “Dude! You asked him if he had Netflix.” And I was like “Yeah. I know.” And he was like “He has a $200 million dollar deal with Netflix. He’s definitely got f*cking Netflix. That’s the dumbest question anyone’s ever asked him. You were Chris Farley interviewing Paul McCartney. Bert, you called his movie Happy Madison. You called his other movie Precious Gems.” And I was like “That’s not the name of his movie?” “No, that’s not the f*cking name of his f*cking movie! You just kept sticking you head in going ‘Hey Adam. You wanna hear a cool story??’ You fanboy’d out and you f*cked that interview up so badly.” Then Big Jay Oakerson called on the other line. You know the way you get good news and it’s like “You’re videos going viral” and everybody’s calling you? “Your show’s number one!” Everyone was calling me like “You f*cking trainwrecked that interview.” And literally I was on the 101 driving home going “It couldn’t have been that bad, right?” And then you’re remember the ending of how that interview went. It was Whitney [Cummings], standing in her house, six feet away from me, confused as f*ck. Like really confused. She kept saying “Did you plan that?” And I was like “No”. And in my head I was like “I just killed that interview.” So I was like “That’s what I do, Whitney.” And I just left. Whitney was like “What the f*ck was that?”
And then I get home and I go, “Babe, I think I just made an ass out of myself.” And she was like “No, it can’t be that bad.” I put it on, and the first thing she said was “Oh honey. You did not just tell him a story about when you were in college and you knew of him.” I was like “I did.” And she goes “Oh my God.” And I got so much sh*t. But here’s the truth. Spade reached out to me and was like “That Sandler interview was epic. And Sandler loved your special.” And I was like “What??” That’s all that mattered to me. That he would watch my special. And I think Sandler knew that I was just a fan. And sometimes when you’re a fan, you get overwhelmed. And by the way, it’s happened to me. I’ve had people do it to me before, and I don’t ever take offense to it. I always find it endearing. So hopefully one day, I can work with him on something. Even still, I’ll fanboy out. I can’t help it.
The first time I met [Joe] Rogan, I literally was like at his house, and he was like “Hey man. Good to meet you.” And I was like “Listen, before we do this podcast, I need to see your sleep deprivation tank, I want to meet your dogs, I want to play some pool with you, I want to get high, and then we can do this.” And he was like “Uh okay.” But you know what? That’s just who I am. I can’t deny it. And I wish I could be like Burr who sits in the box with Rob Gronkowski and doesn’t say anything. But when we talked about Gronk, this is the funniest thing Burr has ever said to me. He was in a box and Rob Gronkowski was there and he didn’t say anything. And I was like “That’s so f*cked up. You’re the biggest Patriots fan. Why wouldn’t you say something?” And he goes “I’m not gonna pull a Bert.” And then he moves his screen away and then shoves his head into the side of the computer screen and goes “Hey Adam. I’m a big fan!”
I love that story! And I loved that he watched your special the next day. That was a nice full circle moment. But my next question for you, Bert, is do you have Netflix?
[Laughs] You know what? I pay for my Netflix. I wonder if Adam pays for his Netflix. That’s my next question. Do they give it to him for free or does he have to pay for it? I pay for mine!
I can’t imagine he has to pay for his Netflix.
I mean, I get a free SiriusXM for doing Jim and Sam but that’s it.
Well there you go, then! The last thing I want to ask is in the intro for the series, you talk about how you’re always on the move and going at it hard. So what is the most important thing you were able to take away from 2020, where everything stopped?
Um… I will be very honest. The one thing, and it’s probably a three-part takeaway. I read an interview that someone did with me, and I don’t even remember saying this. But they were saying “What type of father are you?” And I said “First off, I’m selfish.” And I think I am selfish. I think about me first in a lot of things. And I think I learned to do less of that this year. I think being able to slow down, not drink, stay home with my girls, and watch Netflix with them every single night has been something that I’ve really enjoyed. For the first time in my life, I’ve really focused on breathing. I can get down to two breaths in a minute. And I think that’s something I wouldn’t have done. That has been something that has been super important in this pandemic, meaning everyone’s so concerned with oxygenated blood. I really kind of focused on breathing.
So for me, I think my one take away is health. And when I work hard, I party pretty hard. My work is connected to my party. And so trying to slow down and be healthy and not party. You know, I’ve had big stretches of not drinking, whereas in the past it’d only be in October. But I think I didn’t drink for like 60 days, starting with the pandemic. And then big chunks of a month here and there and then in between touring. And then I’d do three weeks of touring where we go hard, and then I go home. And I kind of slow down again. So I think for the most part… I don’t even know if I answered your question. My takeaway is not drinking probably. Who f*cking knows.
Isn’t it crazy that it took a pandemic to get you to slow down and realize all this?
It’s interesting because I tell people that I’m not drinking during the pandemic and I didn’t drink for a big period of time. And most people are like “Oh my God. I started drinking really heavily.” And I’m like “Really?? Weren’t you worried about getting COVID and having your immune system down?” And they’re like “Oh, I’ve started drinking pretty heavily. I started doing Fentanyl. And I’m like “What??” So yeah, that’s been going on.
The Cabin with Bert Kreischer is on Netflix now. Remaining tour dates for his drive-in tour can be found here.