He's leapt off tall buildings in a single bound, wrestled river monsters and tackled some of he world's most thrilling spectacles. No, we're not talking about Superman, although even the Man of Steel might cringe at some of these challenges. We're talking about Bert Kreischer, the host of "Bert the Conqueror" on the Travel Channel. Among his most memorable experiences, Kreischer has ridden some of the world's most intense roller coasters, entered a belly-flop contest in Florida and tried Redneck Waterskiing in South Carolina. And all the while, he's screamed at the top of his lungs like he a teenage girl watching Linda Blair's head spinning in "The Exorcist" for the very first time.
Kreischer isn't just a party animal, comedian, actor, host, hesitant passenger, fast eater, glutton, husband, and dad, as his Twitter page describes, he's also a huge NFL fan and participates in multiple fantasy football leagues. Recently, I had a chance to talk to him about his show, Terrell Owens' lats, and why he once feared Warren Sapp.
Bert, how did you end up with your own show?
Kreischer: Travel Channel auditioned four people, one of them was from "Jackass," one was from "Big Brother," and the other almost got "Man v. Food." Each of them went in with the attitude, "I'm not scared of anything, I'll do it all. You throw it at me, I'll take it on." I went in with the attitude, "I probably won't do everything, I'm going to back out of as much stuff as possible, but if you get me to do it, I promise I'll scream and squeal the entire time." I think they wanted to see a regular person go through the ebbs and flows of thrills, as opposed to a daredevil.
Is there one challenge that was more frightening then the rest?
Kreischer: They all scared me a little, but the craziest thing I've done is jump off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas. I literally spiraled for the three days before. I was having dreams of falling off buildings, the night before I was throwing up in a bathtub and calling my wife to run away. It made me question every decision I made in my adult life. And I was in a hotel looking at the big needle. That's all I saw all day long, just how tall that needle was. But when I was up at the top of the building, my last thought before I actually jumped was "Screw it". I told my cameraman, "Let's just do it right now." I panicked and just jumped, and 16 seconds later I was on the ground.
You have ridden some of the most famous roller coasters in the world. What is the best coaster you've ever been on?
Kreischer: The Millenium Force in Cedar Point, Ohio. It's one of the purest drop roller coasters you're going to find. It's an overwhelmingly great ride -- I think it's 310 feet high and it's a great free fall, super steep and there's great views the entire ride. It's an awesome roller coaster.
So what's this about you and Warren Sapp riding a new roller coaster together?
Kreischer: I was in an ESPN interview and was asked, "Who would I most want to ride a roller coaster with?" and I said Warren Sapp because every time he giggles, you can hear there's a little girl inside of him. I called him a little girl, and he found me on Twitter and was like, "Are you the Bert who called me a little girl?" I was like, "Oh, great!" But Warren is doing an episode of our show in L.A. We're planning to open a roller coaster called the Green Lantern; we're going to be the first riders.
All right, so let's talk a little bit about football. Who is your favorite team?
Kreischer: I grew up in Tampa and was a Buccaneers fan my entire life, but I bailed on them after high school and throughout college -- and then they won the friggin' Super Bowl! Now I've reclaimed them only because I started realizing I was bored on the road, and Sundays are tough for a comic to get through, so I started watching the Bucs.
You're also a fantasy football owner, right?
Kreischer: I can talk fantasy football forever! The first year I played I tried to have the smartest draft, get the best players, follow what everyone else did. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't all that passionate. The next season I just happened to draft almost all Cowboys, so I really enjoyed watching Cowboys games. Now I always go heavy on the Cowboys and Bucs, so I can enjoy watching their games. Somehow I always end up with Terrell Owens, too. I actually did a pilot with him, and I gave him this big man hug and I felt his lats and was so impressed with his lats that I was like, "I don't care where he's playing, I'm drafting him this year!" I hate (Chad) Ochocinco, though. He drives me nuts -- he did nothing last year!
Final question: If the Travel Channel asked you to do a challenge that involved being hit by a current NFL player, which player would you least want to see lined up across from you?
Kreischer: I would take the hit from the player I am most afraid to take the shot from. That's just the way my brain works. So I would say Ray Lewis, only because when I regained some semblance of consciousness, I could hear him talking me back into reality. You know after he hits you, he's going to say, "Yeah dog, I knocked you down like a little girl!"