Getting away to a cabin in the mountains outside of Malibu sounds like a dream during the pandemic, but in January 2020, it just seemed like a fun idea for comedian Bert Kreischer to invite his funny friends and some celebrities to goof around with him in the name of show business couched as enlightenment. It’s all captured in five easy installments of less than a half-hour each, included with your monthly subscription for Netflix, so…
Opening Shot: The camera soars overheard as we see the words, “Somewhere in the mountains outside Malibu, CA,” before cutting to a scene on the ground, with comedian Joey Diaz talking to two guys in yellow hazmat suits, wondering about the identity of the dead furry creature in front of them. The two guys in protective gear, goggles and glovers are not worried about COVID-19, but about cutting into an emu. And those guys are comedians Bert Kreischer and Tom Segura. Segura: “We’re gonna need something more powerful.” Cut to a chainsaw revving up.
The Gist: Kreischer pitches himself and the series in a voiceover to a montage that opens each episode: “My name is Bert Kreischer. I’m a father, husband and a stand-up comedian. And I jam way too much into my days.”
Naturally, the montage speeds up as he describes his personal and professional endeavors. You don’t need to be a comedy nerd to get a quick read on Kreischer. Party. Animal. Even into his 40s?! Yes. Which is why the montage hits the comedian’s “rock bottom” record-scratch freeze-frame moment, after which Kresicher delivers the gist: “Have a heart-to-heart discussion with LeeAnn (his wife). Try to tell her I’m fine, but deep down I know that my lifestyle’s catching up with me, and if I keep going like this, I’m gonna have a heart attack. I’ll take some time away, go to the wilderness, I’ll eat, I’ll pray, I’ll love, I’ll journal, meditate, hydrate, contemplate, isolate. I’ll get better. I promise.”
He’s kidding. I promise. Instead, he has invited two of his closest comedian buddies up into those Santa Monica Mountains to goof around under the guise of enlightenment.
We watch them smoke cigars around a campfire that’s cooking their supposed emu dinner, while reminiscing about the day’s events, and the action jumps back and forth in time, from Segura’s arrival at the cabin to find Kreischer already hooked up to an IV drip of who knows what, to their unboxing of the emu and misadventures prepping it for dinner, to a female spiritual healer Kreischer hired to put crystals on him while Diaz cracks wise and graphically so about sex and marriage, to multiple FaceTime conversations between Kreischer and his wife, to a cigar guy from Cuba. Each of the planned activities is meant in some form or fashion to fix Kreischer’s mind, body and soul.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of?: Considering the star’s unbridled, or shall we say, “uncurbed” enthusiasm, we might think Kreischer’s improvised comedy series will give off Curb vibes. Alas, it’s much closer in spirit to Kevin Hart’s parody of the Housewives franchise with his Real Husbands of Hollywood, but with staged competitions and confessionals all happening in one remote bubble, as if the comedian were presiding as Head of Household in his own mini Celebrity Big Brother.
Our Take: The other four episodes are more contrived than the first. Kreischer at least has longtime close connections to both Segura and Diaz, and likely has smoked more than a few stogies or megajoints with them before committing it to camera.
Each of the following half-hours make no effort to hide the fact that Kreischer cast the comedian/celebrity combos and picked activities for them all to endure that might provide maximum hijinks and/or opportunities to joke about them.
In the second episode, “Tough Love,” he invites comedian Nikki Glaser and Caitlyn Jenner up to the cabin for axe-throwing, and later for shooting puffy arrows at his head in a Willam Tell re-enactment. He separately invited comedian Fortune Feimster to milk goats. With both Jenner and Feimster, he jump-starts conversations about their respective coming-out processes.
There’s coffee enemas, smash labs and “Russian spa day” experiments with Bobby Lee and Donnell Rawlings. A fishing trip gone awry and a whiskey-tasting session with Kaley Cuoco, Joel McHale and Ms. Pat. Beekeeping and rolfing with Anthony Anderson, Deon Cole and Big Jay Oakerson.
Rawlings mocks the proceedings throughout his episode, claiming this wasn’t what he signed up for, while McHale at one point quips: “How did my show get cancelled on Netflix?”
It’s a lot of contrived nonsense, to be sure, but when you convince funny people to participate in those machinations, that’s how you get “situation comedy.” As Kreischer reveals more than once, “My decompression is laughter.” And you’ll likely end up laughing almost as much as Kreischer did at the spectacles in which he indulges himself and his friends. He’s such a maniac, even into his 40s, diving into situations without thinking or worrying about the consequences or how he’ll look as a result, which is what made him an ideal Travel Channel host a decade ago, as well as host for this series in which comedians and celebrities travel to him.
Sex and Skin: It’s only hinted at in the debut episode, as Kreischer shows Segura around the cabin, stopping to point at a bear rug. “We’ve got to get a picture of us naked on that,” Kreischer says. “Yeah,” Segura says through a laugh. “Maybe just you.”
And he will in a future episode, and shows everyone his butthole multiple times. Full-frontal nudity is pixelated, though.
Parting Shot: On a FaceTime with his wife, he’s asked what he learned, and while still stoned, he recounts a legend that a hugely-endowed Cuban once had sex with Marlon Brando.
Sleeper Star: The cabin, especially in the wake of the pandemic. They filmed these five episodes in January, before the idea of self-quarantining for enlightenment seemed even more of a perfect idea.
Most Pilot-y Line: Plenty to choose from, but wife LeeAnn Kreischer gets stuck at home delivering most of them over FaceTime, such as this one reprimanding Bert for not abiding by his promise to her: “You can’t relax, you can’t be by yourself, and now you’ve created this TV show so that you neither relax nor be by yourself. Let me guess, you’ve invited some people up there, haven’t you?”
Our Call: STREAM IT. In retrospect, you and they both may wish they had filmed this all now rather than before the pandemic shutdowns, but the episodes move quickly and provide plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Kreischer’s enthusiasm is infectious in only the best way.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.