Whether it’s nature, wild animals, extreme heights, theme park rides or a foot race with his wife on his back, comedian Bert Kreischer will try to conquer almost anything on the Travel Channel’s Bert the Conqueror. While not always triumphant, Kreischer is certainly an entertaining host and the show does an excellent job of showcasing interesting and unique thrills found at everything from popular amusement parks to someone’s backyard in Utah.
A new season of Bert the Conqueror debuts Sunday, April 3rd at 8 PM E/P. Recently, I had the chance to speak with the host about what I could expect from the new episodes. As I interviewed him he shared some of his most terrifying and most fun experiences.
Joel Bullock: Can you describe the show for anyone who hasn’t seen it?
Bert Kreischer: I am an all around tour guide for thrills in America. Be it local competitions, events, theme parks, water parks, or bungee jumps. You name it. Anything that’s thrilling in America that locals are doing, I go to that area and I do it.
JB: I looked over my episode recaps from last season. As much as I love theme parks, I feel that two of the most memorable challenges were of the local, homegrown variety. The human slingshot in Utah and catfish grabblin’ (catching catfish with your bare hands) in Tennessee stood out the most for me.
BK: Those two that you just mentioned were probably the most unregulated, unsafe things I did all last year. Hands down. When I did the catfish grabblin’ the locals were saying to me, “You could get killed doing that” and “People die doing that.”
The human slingshot was literally in someone’s backyard. Some dude made it. It’s nuts. There’s no insurance exacter that comes out and looks at it and says that it’s safe.
When we did SkyJump in Vegas, there was definitely a pencil pusher that walked through that ride and every aspect of that ride and found out safety and redundancy. With the human slingshot, they were telling me, “This harness should fit. This helmet should fit. If you’re not too heavy you’ll be fine, but if you’re too heavy you could break your back.”
JB: I think I had sweaty palms just watching you try the slingshot.
BK: I’m glad you had sweaty palms, that made it worth it. That was a really intense episode.
JB: You look anxious and genuinely scared before a lot of the challenges. Before the show, would you have considered yourself an adventurous guy?
BK: Not in the slightest. I never went bungee jumping. I never rode roller coasters, but I’d do them if a bunch of friends were doing it. I went canyoning one time in Switzerland. I surfed growing up and I waked boarded. I was a tad bit more adventurous than the average human being, but I wasn’t the guy seeking out thrills. I was just a regular guy.
When the Travel Channel started casting, they had some daredevils audition for the show. I think they were thinking, “If we have a daredevil, we’re going to have to up the ante every week or it’s going to be boring.” Like watching a guy say, “Ehh, it’s a roller coaster.”
When we did Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure I was nervous and impressed and asking a million questions. This one guy had been kidnapped by Somali pirates four weeks earlier. So, a roller coaster wouldn’t exactly send him reeling.
JB: What were some of the most fun challenges and things that you would do over and over again?
BK: We did a cenote, which is basically a sinkhole in the middle of the rainforest. It was 80 feet deep, filled with beautiful rainwater. You can jump off the cliffs and go across a zip line and jump in the water. It was just a blast! You could not get me out of that place. I rode the Scorpion’s Tail in Wisconsin Dells. I’ve never had more fun in one spot. You couldn’t get me off the ride. I rode it twenty times.
JB: Out of all the challenges that you’ve done, what were some of the things that you can say you would never do again?
BK: We did a 300 lb. concrete toboggan race this year. The team that was two groups ahead of me flipped their toboggan. The guy broke his femur. The girl broke her arm in two places and every bone in her hand.
I ended up having to do the SkyJump twice because they wanted to shoot it again. And I said I’d never do it again, but I get on the ledge and it’s so much easier to just jump than to talk to my way out of it. Bungee jumping is something that I’ll probably never do again just because it’s very uncomfortable. It was literally having all 220 lbs. of my body rush to my face. And it just hurt. I ruptured all of the blood vessels in my eyes. It was a nightmare.
JB: What are some of the highlights from this upcoming season of Bert the Conqueror?
BK: We went cliff jumping in Hawaii which was an insane experience and we did ostrich races in Arizona. One of the funniest things we shot all season was a slush pit competition where people have to go down a mountain and then get across water. We did it the first season (on skis), but this season we did it on tubes, so it could involve everybody. So there wasn’t a skill level.
It is the funniest footage I’ve ever seen in my entire life! It is people wiping out to the point where I am so shocked someone didn’t go to the hospital that day. It was absolute all-encompassing chaos from beginning to end. Once you were at the top of the mountain you couldn’t see what’s happening at the bottom of the mountain. You just saw that people were cheering.
The first people go, two guys and a girl in the middle. The person in the front loses the tube, and at 40 mph goes flying. He missed the water and just hit the snow. The girl’s clothes are ripped off of her body and she’s laying naked in between two guys trying to cover herself up. And we are like, “Oh my God! This is going to be insane.”
There’s 100 people at the top of the mountain that have no idea what just happened. All they know is that they’re next. And I’m watching all of this thinking that I have to go last. It is train wreck, after train wreck, after train wreck.
We did the wife carrying event in Newry, Maine. That’s the premier episode. My wife and I went in like champions thinking we were going to be pretty awesome. We competed, but we were not as good as we thought we were. She got dropped in the mud three times and we only beat one couple out of the 50 couples. We only beat them because the guy broke his leg and had to be taken away in an ambulance.
A new season of Bert the Conqueror premieres Sunday, April 3rd at 8 PM E/P on the Travel Channel.
Photos courtesy of Travel Channel.