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How one good story can make your entire career

Despite being aware of Bert Kreischer for years now, I’ve never really sat down to watch one of his stand-up specials.

So, over the weekend, I decided to change this. And I logged into my Netflix account, searched for the notorious shirtless comic, and loaded up one of his older Netflix stand-up specials aptly called: The Machine.

Not to be confused with the Netflix movie of the same name that Bert just starred in.

The special’s from 2016. And Bert tells what mayhap be the greatest story of all time as the last joke to wrap up his special.

It’s the story about how he won the nickname “The Machine.” Which, again, recently Netflix created an entire movie dedicated to this story starring Bert himself, Mark Hamill (who played Luke Skywalker many moons ago), and a bunch of other actors I’m not familiar with.


Let me tell you the paraphrased story of how Bert became The Machine.

When Bert was in college, he ended up accidentally taking a Russian class. He meant to enroll in Spanish class, and only realized that he wasn’t in Spanish and that he was actually in Russian too late into the semester to change. Bert planned on simply dropping the class to pick up a language class the following year… but his student teacher pleaded with him to stay: In fact, she needed 20 people in her class to keep her class, something she desperately needed to finish her master’s degree, and if Bert dropped out she’d be left with 19, which means the class would get canceled and her master’s would at least get delayed.

So, his professor offered him a sweet deal: Stay in this class, and I’ll give you a C even if Bert didn’t actually get a C.

(Spoiler alert: Bert never learned a single word of Russian.)

Well, the gig was so good that Bert decided to take 4 years of Russian despite him not even learning the Russian alphabet. In year four, he was presented with another opportunity: Go to Russia for the summer with the rest of his year four classmates.

Bert agreed, and it wasn’t until he got to Russia that he noticed how poorly he actually understood the language.

But in Bert’s case, that didn’t matter.

Y’see, Russia at the time (and probably still to this day) was run by different Russian mafias. His school agreed to “partner” with one of the mafias, which meant they could do as they pleased when they were in this mafia’s reach, but things got more complex if they ventured outside their mafia-protected zone.

Also, one of the rules of this trip was that no student was allowed to talk to any of the Russian gangsters.

But in Bert’s case, that didn’t matter.

In fact, he ended up talking to one of the Russian mobsters as soon as he landed. And since he didn’t know how to speak Russian, instead of saying a typical greeting to the gangster, Bert uttered the phrase “I am the Machine” in Russian to him, alongside a fifth of vodka.

Bert and the gangster drank vodka all night, and became as close as two people who speak entirely different languages could be.

As Bert palled around with Russian gangsters, he became a legend of sorts to the entire network of Russian mafias. So, when his class went on a train trip (which required switching to the protection of another mafia), all the gangsters from this other mafia tribe knew him and wanted to drink with him.

One thing leads to another and while getting hammered on a Russian train with gangsters, one gangster had the brilliant idea to rob the train with Bert’s help. Bert, not being familiar with Russian and kinda scared shitless about how to say no to a Russian gangster, obliged.

So, Bert robbed his own classmates.

When they reached their destination, the police were already waiting for them. Bert’s chaperone was pissed: Yelling at Bert, the gangsters, and the police.

When Bert thought he was about to get in trouble… the cop pulled him to the side and said (paraphrased) “Fuck that bitch. This is Russia, we do what we want. You are The Machine!!!!”

And this one story changed Bert’s life:

Of course, he got one of the greatest stand-up stories served up to him on a silver platter. (While I’m not familiar with his work prior to 2016, I believe he used this story often in his stand-up before landing his first Netflix special.)

He’s created an entire brand from this one story.

And that brand helped him to become a movie star.

All from one story.

Moral of this story?

What stories do you have that can do the same for you and your brand?

It doesn't have to be as balls-to-the-wall insane as Bert’s story was.

But this is the magic of email:

Not only do stories stick in people’s crawls like an annoying song you can’t get out of their head, but it also lowers people’s natural defense mechanisms against being sold to — something that can, over time, create a 7-figure (or higher) brand for you. Even if you’re not particularly funny or charismatic.


Need help turning your mundane stories into pure gold persuasion?

Hit reply, and let’s chat.


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