When comedian Bert Kreischer started outlining the concept for his party-driven Fully Loaded Comedy Festival tour, the famed party animal decided to sit down with his thoughts and sketch out a tour agenda like no other — one that would both bring his vision for the ultimate comedy tour to fruition and potentially serve as the outline for his legacy.
“Each summer, I want to surround myself with my favorite humans, which are always going to be comics,” he said. “I want to hang out with my friends and family, tour and have fun. I want to float on rivers, boat on lakes, end up in oceans, go hiking, shoot guns, get high on mushrooms and do whatever we can to have a blast.”ƒa
Kreischer’s dream is now a reality, wrapping up last month after a 17-date tour across North America — including the Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Alabama, and ending at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington. When the numbers are all reported to Billboard Boxscore, the tour is likely to come in at a more than $10 million gross, making it one of the top earning comedy tours of the year.
Headlined by Kreischer, who has seen his profile skyrocket in the last two years thanks to his films like 2023’s The Machine, comedy specials like Hey Big Boy and Razzle Dazzle and popular comedy podcasts including “2 Bears, 1 Cave” with fellow comedian Tom Segura, this year’s stacked lineup for Fully Loaded included Mark Normand, Shane Gillis, Tiffany Haddish, Stavros Halkias, Fortune Feimster, Dave Attell, Lewis Black, Jim Norton, Andrew Santino, Big Jay Oakerson, Jay Pharoah, Dan Soder, Chad Daniels, Ralph Barbosa, Rosebud Baker and Tammy Pescatelli.
“Bert selects all of the talent for the show — its not being picked by a promoter or a talent buyer,” says manager Judi Marmel, a partner at Levity Talent. “In a world where nothing is agnostic, the festival is the purest form of an artist executing their vision.”
Fully Loaded was born out of the Hot Summer Nights Tour sold-out drive-in series Kreischer launched during the pandemic in 2020. Wanting to recreate his success for 2022, Kreischer — along with Marmel, UTA agent Heidi Feigin and UTA partner and Head of Comedy Touring Nick Nuciforo — came up with the idea to create a traveling comedy festival inspired by the original Lollapalooza touring festival. The festival also partnered with the charity Comedy Gives Back, an organization founded as a safety net for comics by providing them with financial crisis relief, mental health support and more.
“Our intention for creating Fully Loaded was to build a lifestyle brand that represents all of the aspects of life that Bert enjoys the most, that could then support multiple ventures and revenue streams for years to come,” says Marmel.
Kreischer says his wife LeeAnn convinced him to invest the first years earnings from the 2022 run back into the festival and worked with a team of friends to book excursions and activities for participating comedians.
“We wanted to make it the best experience a comic could ever have with extra tour buses and plenty of amenities to make it feel like a great gig,” Kreischer says — like a visit to Churchhill Downs or batting practice with the home team at the stadium they were playing.
For this year’s tour, Kreischer says his team booked activities for every day of the tour, which was split into four separate four-day runs — June 14-17 playing Forest Hills Stadium in New York, followed by CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, PNC Field in Moosic, Penn. and Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford; June 22-25 at Turtle Creek Stadium in Traverse City, Michigan, Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana Enterprise Center in St Louis, Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. The tour then took a two week break before returning for eight more July dates, including a July 6 show at Huntsville, Alabama’s new Orion Amphitheater, a July 8 show at AutoZone Park in Memphis, a July 12 show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the show closer July 15 at the Gorge.
Throughout the tour, a content team of producers, editors, and marketing executives put together video clips and social media content from the tour, leading to a spike in interest and ticket sales as the tour chugged along. By the time the tour landed in Las Vegas, most comedians saw big spikes in their social numbers, and fans were booking tickets and flying in from out of town to see the show.
Kreischer says organizing the festival wasn’t always easy, having to sometimes make tough decisions like like deciding each night’s lineup, curated to fit the venue and market and momentum of the overall tour.
“There are certain acts that other comedians have a hard time following,” Kreisher says. “Acts like Chad Daniels, who was simply amazing. And I also had Tiffany Haddish on the lineup, who no one could f–king follow either. Most promoters wouldn’t give a s–t and say ‘just find someone to follow them,’ but as a comic, I had to say, “No that’s not how it works,” and I’m able to talk to a comedian like Dan Soder and ask him to open — and he’ll do it because he understands, and the request is coming from a comedian.”
Kreischer adds, “And then I will take the bullet and close the show behind someone like Chad or Tiffany. Everyone there knows me — I just take my shirt off and people go crazy.”
“At the heart of [things],” Kreischer says, “I love comics, and I love being on the road with comics. And my daughters who I bring on tour with me love it too. During the tour, one of them told me, ‘I love this — you wake up in a different city every morning, you have breakfast ready and everyone you eat with is hilarious. This is amazing.’”