Fun fact for anyone that might not know… Bert Kreischer’s life is a movie. Long story short, when the comedian was in college in the late 90s Rolling Stone magazine wrote a story about Kreischer’s hard-partying ways on the campus of Florida State. Naming him the top partyer at the top party school in the country.
The story gave the comedian the kick in the pants to move to NYC and pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Also, it didn’t hurt that Will Smith inked a development deal with him and Oliver Stone optioned the rights to Kreischer’s story. Eventually that life story became the impetus of the movie National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, which introduced us to a young Ryan Reynolds in the title role. So, if you were inspired by that movie as it ran ad-nauseum on Comedy Central in the early 00s, you watched a movie loosely based on Kreischer’s life.
But, thankfully that story is only a footnote in the comedy life of Bert Kreischer, for another story of his youth was destined to catapult his life into an entirely different stratosphere. In the all of 2016, Kreischer’s comedy career wasn’t going as well as he wanted, he’d been slogging it out for years as a road comic. He had just been fired from a near decade of work at the Travel Channel, it was good work, but it wore on the comedian. Some high-profile tour dates on the Oddball Comedy Festival were cancelled and Kreischer’s Showtime special, The Machine came out and was seen by pretty much nobody. His career was not going as he wanted.
In December 2016, Kreischer took a few clips from the Showtime special and posted them online and then something happened. His Russian Mafia (aka The Machine) story went viral over the Christmas break… like super-viral 85 million views on Facebook and Youtube since its posting. Seemingly overnight 2017 started off extremely different for Kreischer, he was selling out his road dates fast and adding more. His podcast numbers jumped and all of a sudden Bert was having a moment.
Kreischer started telling The Machine story on Joe Rogan’s podcast, it was about a time he went to Russia for a semester abroad and he, through a series of hilarious events and lots of drinking, befriended the Russian mafia and robbed a train. Rogan encouraged Kreischer to tell that story on the stage. Kreischer did, honed the story well and it was ready when the viral moment came and it became a career-defining moment for the comedian.
Now, it looks like The Machine story has some more life in it for Kreischer. Today, Variety reports that Legendary films has optioned the rights to Kreischer’s life once again, this time to develop this story into a feature film. Kreischer and Judi Marmel will produce the project which is in its super early stages at the moment. But we shouldn’t let that keep us from starting to cast the film in our minds.