The Machine, Bert Kreischer, in Grand Forks

Dylan Enerson, Reporter

Grand Forks gets a fair share of shows that come through, but occasionally, some do not make it all the way up this far north with Fargo being a more common place for entertainment like concerts and comedy shows. Lately, however, there has been an uptick in entertainment options that make it to Grand Forks with Jerry Seinfeld making a stop at the Chester Fritz Auditorium last September and the Rockzilla tour at the Alerus Center the month prior with the latest big name at the Alerus Center being Bert Kreischer for his Tops Off World Tour. This comes after his tour bus had gotten stuck in Bismarck last year during his previous tour, and he made headlines hanging out with his fans in the area.  

This year Kreischer came to Grand Forks before going south to Fargo and the Twin Cities, and boy was it worth it. Getting into the show was the typical fare at the Alerus Center and there was a line plenty long stretching through the lobby almost into the hotel next door, but it moved fast enough that we were able to make our way through it in under 15 minutes. Once we were through the line, we went to the concessions and that is where the lines really got long, but we were able to find one that had a semi-short line. We were able to make it to our seats before any of the comedians began. I had purchased my seats through the Alerus Center box office, so I was able to get lower balcony seats at an extremely affordable price due to avoiding the Ticketmaster fees that would otherwise have been mandatory. 

Once we made it to our seats, we had around 20 minutes until the show would begin, but we were plenty entertained by the live camera sweeping across the crowd encouraging fans to remove their own shirts in the same way that Kreischer is so famous for. Plenty of people took advantage of the encouragement to show off their bare stomachs and take their own chance at getting a good laugh out of the crowd with the biggest laugh being gained by one man who gave a somewhat creepy smile followed up by a slap to his stomach. 

The show itself began with a few other comedians who were not on the list opening for Kreischer. They were great and got plenty of laughs from the audience and helped to loosen everyone up for the main event. After the opening acts had finished there was a short introduction to Bert comprised of miscellaneous posts from his social media to a somewhat odd choice of music, but in a way, it worked to drive that this was not just a normal show you were about to sit down to. This was further shown in the images flashing across the screens, most of them focusing on a shirtless Kreischer drinking some variety of alcoholic beverage with friends. This slideshow went on for about five minutes until the mood in the venue shifted noticeably along with the music stopping to introduce the main event. 

It was then that Kreischer came out onto the stage mixing the token comedy introductions to the fans in the audience with Kreischer’s own style taking the form of chugging a whole glass of beer on stage for everyone to cheer him on. This was followed by several front row audience members cheering him to remove his shirt. After some cheering Kreischer, like he does in every show, removed his shirt to great cheers from the audience. Following the opening of the show it proceeded much the same way that would be typical of a comedy show as far as I have seen from TV specials and shorts on social media as I had not been to a professional comedy show before Kreischer. The highlights of the show included several hilarious stories from Kreischer’s life along with a brief amount of time spent looking for a video of him embarrassingly being pinned to the ground. This was also accompanied by a facetime call to his wife to drill her live for the crowd on the details of one of the jokes he told, but since she was with family, he opted not to embarrass her then. 

The show led to some huge laughs from the audience, and as could be predicted, it ended with the story that made him famous to begin and will soon be the plot of a new movie; The story of The Machine. In short, if you somehow have navigated the internet and social media without hearing the story, it is basically how Kreischer ended up taking a trip to Russia with his college and culminated in him joining the Russian Mafia for the duration of the trip. The story is ripe with partying, alcohol, robbery, and a whole mess of things that you would expect from joining the mafia. 

One thing that was new for this tour was that Kreischer sang the National Anthem near the end of his shows, and this was no exception to this though there was one change to it special for Grand Forks. At the end of the anthem the audience followed UND tradition and chanted the typical UND ending to the anthem and replaced “brave” with “Sioux,” which confused Kreischer almost immediately because he did not quite hear what was said, leaving members of the front row to try to explain what was going on. Kreischer was still confused as to the meaning of the whole thing as he was not familiar with the University’s traditions. In the end, the crowd elicited a few confused cheers from Kreischer before he said that he will be back in North Dakota and specifically Grand Forks every year to perform, and I know that after this year I will not be missing any of his shows while I am near enough to go.


Dylan Enerson is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].