Bert Kreischer Proves He’s Still the Cocaine Bear of Comics
It can’t be easy being a 50-year-old Machine, especially one that seems as ill-maintained as comedian Bert Kreischer. When Rolling Stone named a young Kreischer “the top partier at the Number One Party School in the country,” when National Lampoon based its Van Wilder character on his out-of-control antics, when his most famous comedy routine was about how he befriended the Russian mafia and helped them pull off a train heist — let’s just say zen meditation and health food probably weren’t his priorities over the past 20 years.
Kreischer has built an entire comedy career out of being comedy’s Cocaine Bear, a shirtless, beer-bellied maniac who makes any gathering a party just by kicking in the front door. But what happens when a Machine gets married and has a couple of kids? Can you still be the Machine and show up for charity auctions at your kid’s middle school?
According to Kreischer’s new Netflix special, Razzle Dazzle, the answer is, inexplicably, yes. Kreischer is still full of cocktails and howling at the moon, often at school activities while the other parents look on slack-jawed. Kreischer opens the show by taking the stage in a conservative, button-down shirt, then like Superman, rips it open to reveal his super-powered party belly. CGI buttons fly into camera. It’s as if he’s saying, “If I’m going to grow up, it won’t be tonight, mothereffers.”
That’s not to say the volume on Kreischer’s life hasn’t been turned down a notch or two. His stories now take place in decidedly more domestic locations. Instead of Russian trains, he’s now causing havoc in family restaurants and escape rooms. He has his own version of domestic bliss, but it involves handing his wife a pocketknife and asking her to trim the matted hair from between his buttocks.
If anything, Kreischer’s new special seems to say he’s invited his wife and kids to the party. At his wife’s urging, he reluctantly tells the kids about his cocaine days. At a school choir concert, Kreischer and his daughter Ila bid on a snow-cone machine — but instead of setting a charitable example, he demonstrates how to “drop a big dick on the room.” His wife is all in for screwing over the parents at a different school fundraiser. He (accidentally) shares pornographic jokes with the whole family and the kids don’t bat an eye. Just another day at the Kreischer house.
Razzle Dazzle’s grand finale is masterminded by Kreischer’s kids, a family birthday trip to an escape room complete with grandparents. Sounds sweet, but what daughter Georgia is really after? “I want to see papa lose his shit for my birthday.” The kid gets her birthday wish, family mayhem punctuated by explosive flatulence and near coronaries. Seems like the offspring inherited daddy’s taste for chaos.
Honestly, the source material is straight out of Jim Gaffigan, just with more F-bombs and alcohol. (Kreischer has often had a few in his stories.) If you tune into Razzle Dazzle expecting to see how an outrageous comic mellows with age, you’re likely to be disappointed. Kreischer’s world has gotten smaller and more domestic, but there’s still a crazy fire burning in that big bare belly.
The Machine rages on.