Start getting excited for Comedy Central’s The Comedy Jam. This eight episode season will kick in, on Wednesday, March 22 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and we can’t wait for everyone to be able to watch some of our favorite comedians turn into rock stars for a night.
You’ve heard the phrase, “Every comedian wants to be a rock star, and every rock star wants to be a comedian.” Most of you have heard of Comedy Central’s The Goddamn Comedy Jam (now simply The Comedy Jam), but if you haven’t, you’re in for a kickass experience. Josh Adam Meyers created The Comedy Jam to showcase the biggest comedians and legendary musicians rock-and-rolled into one. I had the opportunity to check out both nights of The Comedy Jam last weekend and interviewed comedian Bert Kreischer after his performance. I saw two of the four nights that the series taped for their first official season (a one time special that aired last August, but this was the first taping for a full season).
Spoiler Alert here: The tapings were very celebrity-heavy. On the first night, Big Jay Oakerson sang “Rebel Yell” with Lukas Rossi, Mark Duplass sang “Can’t Fight This Feeling” with Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, and Jim Breuer sang “You Got Another Thing Coming” with Rob Halford of Judas Priest. Taryn Manning performed “Pour Some Sugar on Me” with Phil Collen of Def Leppard and had what appeared to be actual sugar pouring down onto the stage while Taryn made snow angels. Closing out the night was Bert Kreischer performing “Higher” with Scott Stapp.
At the second taping, I also got to see James Davis sing “This is How We Do It” with Montell Jordan, Busy Philipps sang Hole’s “Violet” solo, Jon Rudnitsky sang “Footloose” with Kenny Loggins, Malin Akerman sang Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” solo, Matteo Lane sang Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” solo, and Hal Sparks sang AC/DC’s “Back in Black” with Sebastian Bach. Last, Jay Pharoah sang “Party Up” with DMX and the crowd went absolutely nuts.
The shows all taped at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood on January 7th, 8th, 11th and 12th and some of the performances I missed included Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Sam Richardson, Roy Wood Jr., Hasan Minhaj, Fortune Feimster, Bobby Lee, Chris Hardwick, Tiffany Haddish and more.
Bert Kreischer performed “Higher” with Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed in a once-in-a-lifetime performance and I interviewed Bert after the show. In our conversation, Bert references the story he told on stage so after you get the chance to see Bert’s episode, come back and read it again.
The Interrobang: What did you do to prepare for this?
Bert Kreischer: Nothing, absolutely nothing. It was very little. The only thing I did is, I ran my story a couple times in my head and with Ryan Sickler who’s my producer for this. I ran the story because I did the story perfect the first time, and then today in rehearsal I kinda flubbed it a little bit, meaning like I tried to add shit, and I was like “Oh my god,” so I panicked a little bit and I ran it in the shower, I ran it on the treadmill today and then I ran it back here with Ryan twice. It’s not a story that’s like, filled with jokes, but it’s got a good ending. And I think, you know, Ari Shaffir and I talked about this one time…. Stories don’t have to be funny, they just have to have a good ending and people will love it. You know, I’m a big story-teller, I think that’s more what I’m famous for and one of my best stories- two of my best stories are only great because they have amazing endings. And then other stories are really great, really funny, but they don’t resonate with people because the endings aren’t as good, they’re a little cheap. So, the real goal of a storyteller, and anyone who’s out there who’s a comedy fan and wants to be a story-teller, the real goal is to find closure. Find an end where it tags something in the middle that’s imperative.
The Interrobang: That’s really interesting to know, because it wasn’t like, packed full of, you know, punches here and there, but the ending was awesome.
Bert Kreischer: And the thing is, in that story, it doesn’t need to be, because it’s a setup to a punch. There’s a few jokes, you know, light-hearted jokes [about being a lead singer] then the come around is: I’m bringing out a lead singer and then, you know, a part of the joke was in the song. Scott Stapp was the one that realized that. He said, “You know, you talk about a lead singer, then let me-” cause originally I started it all, and he’s like, “Let me start it all. Let me sing that first chunk and then you come in, and people will hear you sing, and it’ll be a real-” and I was like, that’s fucking brilliant. I didn’t even see that, but Scott, you know, Scott I think heard- I don’t know what I sound like- and Scott heard me and he’s was like, “I think it would be funny if you sang after me,” and I was like, “Great!” Then when you sing with them, I sound amazing.
The Interrobang: What made you choose “Higher” out of all the Creed songs?
Bert Kreischer: So that’s a really interesting question. A lot of people wanted [me] to do “My Own Sacrifice.” It was a big, actually, a little bit of a battle with production ‘cause they didn’t, they were like, “Higher’s not that…..” And I’m not saying they’re not Creed fans, but they just look online and whatever’s got the most downloads, that song will do.
The Interrobang: Oh, I would have thought “Higher” had the highest downloads.
Bert Kreischer: No, it doesn’t. “My Own Sacrifice” has the most downloads. But for me, and this goes back to when I first did the show, Josh was like, “Just so you know, rock anthems work the best. Like, big anthems always do the best, and…a small song, I wouldn’t do it.” So I wanted to do Creed because I have that story, and I listened to a bunch of his shit and I was like, no, fuckin’ “Higher.” It just really resonates with that fuckin’ hand in the air.
The Interrobang: If it wasn’t Creed, who would you choose and what song would it be?
Bert Kreischer: Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give it Away Now” with socks on our cocks. We’ve done that before and it was like, it was murderous. We did it at the Roxy and it was murderous. Bill Burr pulled me aside and he was like, “Don’t ever front and tell me you need to go before anyone on this show. You’re bringing heat,” and he’s like, “Go fucking last.”
The Interrobang: So, had you met Scott before?
Bert Kreischer: Never, I met him yesterday for the first time. In real life, I have met him before and I told him that, but I know that he doesn’t remember that, so when I met him I was very nervous going, “Hey, let me introduce myself to him.” I don’t want anyone to tell any backstory from me to him because I think they did that with Mark Tremonti and that’s what fucked it up, is they told a lot of backstory that they didn’t have a right to tell and that’s what made it complicated with Mark. He’s on tour, but for a second he was thinking about doing it, and so I was like, “No, let me introduce myself to Scott,” ‘cause I don’t know him.
I wanted to introduce myself and say, “Hey, I’m a fan. I love the band, and I have met you, I met you at a Publix one time and I did hang out, and I saw your first show at The Mill. That’s true.” And he was like, “Oh yeah, and they pulled out, like, two tables,” and go, “Yeah we were there.” Like, this is a real story, so small details of the story really matter, and if you’re a producer, you don’t care about small details. It’s, “Hey, this guy met you, he says he knows you, ah we don’t believe him either,” you know, they’re trying to cover themselves because they want to get him. With something like that, I’m like, “No, let me introduce myself to him. I want to meet him.” And I did, and we clicked right away. I even told him a story about a car he owned, ‘cause I saw him driving down the street one time and he was like, “Dude, you really fucking know me,” and I was like, “I mean, you know, you’re the biggest rock star in Tallahassee, I fuckin’ do know you.”
The Interrobang: So did you ever want to be in music?
Bert Kreischer: I did, when I started the band, I found that, like that was my dream, and then that band died obviously. At one point, everyone just started saying, “You’re so fucking funny.” And, I think I am very funny, but like everyone would say that to me and then at one point I was like, maybe I could be a comedian which is a parallel move, a little bit. I think every rock star wants to be a comedian and every comedian wants to be a rock star. So I started doing comedy and then that Rolling Stone article was written about me and that changed my life, and in it I said I wanted to be a comedian, and I tried comedy, and I was like, oh, this is what I like. I would have been a rock star that went on way too long in between the songs, you know? Like, “So, my wife can’t give a handjob…”
The Interrobang: Is there anything interesting that happened along the way that you want to add?
Bert: You know, my favorite part of this whole story, honestly, is bringing my buddy out, John Dacre, to play with us. It’s like yes, granted, it verifies my story because he was there as well. He lived it, just like I did. It’s not just some story everyone watches on TV and goes, “That probably didn’t happen. This is TV and everyone’s lying to us.” I bring that guy out, and that was my most important part. Not only that, it’s like, we were in a band, we did want to be rock stars and for three minutes tonight, we got to be rock stars. That was a dream of ours. And by the way, I get to live that dream, you know? I’m doing The Wilbur the 21st, 1,100 people, that’s cool as a comic to do. Like, and I get to live that a little bit. But tonight, he really got to live it. Like, he took off two of his sick days from work, two of his vacation days, he burned them. He’s flying in tomorrow, he lands at 9:00am, he has to be at work at 9:30am. But I guarantee he’ll be sitting at work thinking about tonight. Last night, we got done and he was like, “What do we do now?” I go, very flippantly, I don’t even think about it, I go, “Breuer, where are you going?” and he’s like, “I’m going to the Store,” and I go, “Let’s go to the Store with Breuer.” And my buddy is a huge Jim Breuer fan and he’s like, “We’re getting in a car with Jim Breuer?” I was like, “Yeah, he’s very cool.” We get in and we drive down and we see Rogan and we see Big Jay and we see Redban and we see everyone. My buddy’s losing his fucking mind. Losing his mind. We leave at the end of the night and he goes, “I just want to let you know this is the best night of my life.” You totally forget, you’re numb to that in LA, you’re like, “they’re all my friends.” Not only that, we met the guitarist for Def Leppard tonight, you know? Taryn Manning who’s in 8 Mile. My friend got to experience all this with me. We drove by the fucking Fonda, and I said, “Where do you think the theater is?” We were just having lunch, and he goes, “Um, I think the place with your name on the marquee. How cool is that?” I was like, “You get numb to that.”
But when you experience it with your friend that you had dreams with, that’s out of this whole story, for me, that’s the part I’ll never forget. That and Scott Stapp just being the coolest motherfucker. What a badass dude.
The Interrobang: I heard him on Opie with Jimmy a couple months ago and thought he sounded really down to Earth.
Bert: He’s very grounded. We tried to get him to go out to the Store with us and he was like, “Eh, I’m tired, I appreciate the offer.” But then of course he goes, “Hey, give me your phone number. Just like I would you, I give it to him and he dials it and he goes, “I’m calling you right now.” And you’re like, okay, I won’t be abusing this every time I get hammered: “Scott, can you take me higher? I can’t seem to find my buzz.”
Check out The Comedy Jam premiering March 22nd on Comedy Central!