Bert Kreischer On Headlining Red Rocks: ‘Greatest Experience Of My Life’

Bert Kreischer
Todd Rosenberg /
– Bert Kreischer
is joined by manager Judi Marmel and the rest of his team who helped make his Sept. 8, 2021, headline show at Red Rocks happen.
One thing Bert Kreischer is known for is his penchant for ditching his shirt to proudly flaunt his dad-bod. While the comedian has said the on-stage habit makes him feels more comfortable, it also represents how Kreischer has the guts (no pun intended) to put himself out there and do whatever it takes to get a laugh. This translates to the strategy he and his team implemented to take on the challenge of selling out his Sept. 8 show at Colorado’s Red Rocks – marking his first time playing the venue and his biggest headline show ever.    
The iconic open-air amphitheater near Morrison, Colo., has long been a dream destination for Kreischer, both as a fan and performer. With the stunning venue built into a rock structure, Red Rocks holds a special place in the hearts of many artists and music lovers for its natural beauty and acoustics. The amphitheater is so popular among Pollstar subscribers that after Red Rocks kept winning the Pollstar Award for “The Best Small Outdoor Concert Venue Award,” in 1999 the prize was renamed the Red Rocks Award. 

Kreischer explains that when he got the offer to play Red Rocks Sept. 8 the show was initially supposed to be a co-bill date with Jim Jefferies.
“I’ve known of Red Rocks for so long and I’ve never been able to do a show there and so when we got the offer … I was like ‘Sweet! I’m down for 5,000 tickets. I know Jim could probably fill it up on his own. So, I was like ‘That will be great! We’ll sell out quick, maybe we’ll add a second night, that’ll be awesome.’ And then Jim bailed out at the last minute – he had prior family obligations that he had to do, which totally sense. And my agents were like, ‘So, we have the date. Would you like to do it [on your own]?”
Kreischer was up for the challenge. After all, when the pandemic hit, he responded to a lack of indoor performing opportunities by becoming the first comedian to launch a full drive-in tour. His “Hot Summer Nights” drive-in tour launched with an opening performance on June 24, 2020, at Hound’s Drive-In in Kings Mountain, N.C., and he kept adding dates through November. In honor of his efforts to keep bringing laughs to fans desperately in need of a respite, Kreischer was awarded the “Damn The Torpedoes: 2020-21 Touring Artist” prize at the Pollstar Awards in June. The award celebrated “artists who found a way to (safety) perform in front of live audiences during the pandemic shutdown.”    
In the three months prior to the pandemic, Kreischer had previously been selling tickets in the 1,500 to 6,500-cap range, with an average of 3,197 tickets sold. Box office reports submitted to Pollstar in early 2020 included a March 6 show at The MainStage At Proctors in Schenectady, N.Y., that sold 2,255 tickets and grossed $118,896 and two nights at the Beacon Theatre in New York March 7 that sold 5,420 tickets and grossed $258,693.
Bert Kreischer
Todd Rosenberg /
– Bert Kreischer
is all smiles prior to headlining Red Rocks in Morrison, Colo., Sept. 8, 2021.
So while selling out a venue like Red Rocks, with a capacity of 9,525, may seem like a giant leap, Kreischer knows he has the fans out there – and he knows the power of marketing to help get the word out. As an example, he recalled the experience of filming his Netflix special “Hey Big Boy” at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland in November 2019.  The seven-show sold-out run moved 7,069 tickets and grossed $399,242.
“When I did my Netflix special, I sold 1,000 seats with kills for the cameras. We did initially five shows and I wanted to add two shows. And it was the first time I realized if you marketed it just a little heavier, [posted] a couple more videos on Instagram, went into the local market – did radio twice instead of once, that you’d really reach those extra people and I sold seven thousand tickets that week in Cleveland. And I went and I went, ‘Wow. So just a little more effort does go that long way.’ 
“So when they gave me the [Red Rocks] offer … I just leaned into it.”  
Kreischer notes that when he heard Jimmy Buffett was playing Red Rocks the night before and after the Sept. 8 date that sealed the deal: “Immediately when I heard that, I was like, I LOVE Jimmy Butler, I’ve seen Jimmy Buffett probably 10 times growing up. And by the way, met him, could not be a nicer guy – they say not to meet your heroes. Well, Jimmy Buffett is not on that list. A perfect gentleman.”  
When the date was announced for Kreischer’s Red Rocks show he was in Serbia shooting the movie “The Machine,” which highlights the funnyman’s story about his run-in with the Russian mob while studying abroad in college. The film, which also stars Mark Hamill, is produced by Kreischer and his manager Judi Marmel. But Kreischer didn’t let being across the world stop him from marketing the show. 
“My Instagram was down because I was in Serbia … Instagram was like restricting my flow of traffic for whatever reason.  And so I said, you know what? That just means I got to put out twice the [promos],” Kreischer said.  
“Every comic will tell you … the most common thing you hear is you leave Boston or you leave a place and people will hit you up on email, ‘When are you coming to Boston?’ You’re like, ‘I was just in Boston.’ It’s the most common frustration us comics have. My thing was, here’s the deal – I want people to go, ‘I get it. You’re going to Red Rocks.’ I don’t want to run into one person who doesn’t know I’m playing at Red Rocks. … I did so many promos – any time I was on Instagram stories: Sept. 8, Red Rocks. Anytime anything came up, ‘Sept. 8th. Red Rocks. … I’ve done the podcast. I’ve done the TV shows. I’ve done the movies. I have the fans. I just need to get them to know that I’ll be at Red Rocks.”
Kreischer even posted on Instagram from the hospital as he was about to go into surgery on his arm, which he hurt filming the movie. As he explains, “I literally told my anesthesiologist ‘I want you to put me under as I’m doing a promo for Red Rocks and that’s how I want to go under.’”
Marmel, who is the co-founder and partner at Levity Live, notes that in addition to his own posts on social media and targeted videos, Kreischer spent time doing press with every station in the market. To reach the sell out, the team didn’t just tap into Denver proper but reached out to all of the other markets in the Colorado that were driving distance to Red Rocks. 
“He told the fans that this was a dream for him to sell this out and would they come along for the ride and support him? And they did. What’s really amazing about it – to set a goal, be in another country shooting a film and still say, I’m going to get up and I’m going to call radio in Grand Junction, Colo. There’s not a lot of artists that are willing to do every single piece of that work to get to a sellout. … That says an awful lot about [his] work ethic.”  
Kreischer sold out Red Rocks six days before the event, moving a total of 9,161 tickets and grossing $505,564 gross.
“When you sell out Red Rocks and you stand on stage in front of 10,000 people   and you bring your wife on stage and she feels 10,000 people roar, that is the greatest damn feeling. It was the greatest experience of my life. It really was,” Kreischer says.  
He adds, “When you’re younger and all you want is the fans and the success … It’s different when you’re [touring] for 23 years and you’ve been busting your ass and doing clubs … It feels different when you’ve earned it. 
Bert Kreischer
– Bert Kreischer
aka Berty Boy celebrates his big sell out at Red Rocks.
“The vibe of the show was just electric. I had a fan one time say to me, ‘I don’t have a lot going on in my life, I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I work.’ But he goes, ‘When you succeed, I feel like I succeed.’ He’s like, ‘That’s what it is to be a fan.’ And it’s crazy, I really feel like  all those people there have been rooting for me since day one. They got to experience a great show but got to see experience a great life moment, like they got to share it with me. It’s really, really magical. I cried a couple of times at the end of the show because it’s Red Rocks, it’s just such a spectacular venue.”
For Marmel, who started her career at a comedy club in Colorado Springs and went to see concerts as a teenager at Red Rocks, the event was certainly a full circle moment. 
She says, “It meant the world to me. …I think any time you can see a client achieve huge goals they’ve set for themselves – that’s why we do what we do for a living. That’s what we’re all working toward.”  
Nick Nuciforo, Head of Comedy Touring for UTA, offered a hint at what’s next for Bert: “Bert’s show at Red Rocks was sandwiched in between two nights of Jimmy Buffet, which was perfect, because they are similar in many ways. COVID has been extremely difficult, and people are ready to get out and party with Bert. His upcoming tour is selling really well and we’ve added multiple shows in most markets. In November, we will be ready to share some huge news for Bert in the live events space.
“He embodies the party lifestyle and is on his way to building a brand that extends well beyond the stage. I love that Bert has a clear understanding of who he is and isn’t afraid to be entrepreneurial. He has conquered everything from Drive-in shows to creating his own brand of flip flops.”
Brent Fedrizzi, Co-President & COO of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains & PNW, added that AEG is eager to work with Kreischer again. 
“Bert Kreischer delivered not only a sellout in advance at Red Rocks but an unforgettable hilarious show that kept the crowd hanging onto every word! We look forward to many more shows with Bert in the future,” Fedrizzi said.