Why Tom Segura and Bert Kreischer are bearing down to run a 5K with their fans

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Leave it to Bert Kreischer and Tom Segura to turn anything into a party, whether it’s a comedy show or a physical challenge. In many ways, an upcoming event of theirs is a bit of both.

On May 7, the comedy duo known for its podcast “2 Bears, 1 Cave” will be rallying fans and fellow comics for the first-ever 2 Bears 5K run at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena as part of the Netflix Is a Joke Festival. Get ready to start your own timer, get set to color coordinate your sweatbands.

Although this is definitely not your mama’s 5K, everyone who signs up for the 9 a.m. event — in person or virtually — will get shirts and medals. With no stressful timer or pressure to finish, participants can instead enjoy a DJ, food and drinks, with plenty of samples of Segura and Kreischer’s vodka brand, Por Osos, as well as games, recovery booths and, of course, the chance to rub elbows with bear royalty while surrounded by screaming fans. Or you can just be a screaming fan in the spectator section. The choice is yours.

Running with Segura and Kreischer sounds cool, but have you ever run a 5K with Jelly Roll? Yes, that Jelly Roll. The rapper and country superstar (along with his wife, Bunnie XO) is using it as motivation.

“I’m super excited to connect with Bert and Tom on this,” he said. “Getting excited about this 5K has really helped me kick off the next chapter of my life, which will be about transformation. I doubt I’ll put up a good time, but my only goal from Day 1 was just to complete it. I’m down over 50 pounds training for it, and I hope it encourages others.”

More than 1,400 people have already signed up to run (or walk), and they’ll be joined by many comedians too: Tim Dillon, Michelle Wolf, H. Foley, Kevin Ryan, Shane Gillis, Cipha Sounds and Whitney Cummings will be running in the name of cardio. Kidding. All in the name of partying. And we’d expect nothing less from a 5K spearheaded by Kreischer and Segura.

Individually, they kill, selling out theaters and arenas around the globe. At the same time, Kreischer made the movie “The Machine” and Segura landed a dark comedy series deal at Netflix. Together, they are equally impressive.

Even with all these projects, they strive for more. Getting healthy seemed like a good idea so they could live long lives and reap the rewards of their hard work. Which could possibly include more 5Ks and definitely many more after-parties.

How did it go from talking about a 5K to the Rose Bowl?

Bert Kreischer: I feel like we’re in a place in our careers where if we come up with a crazy idea, people are like, “Let’s just try it.” So we came up with the 5K as a lark. Tom had run one over Thanksgiving, and I did the L.A. Marathon and the Spartan [obstacle course race] — I enjoy those events. The after-parties are the best. Immediately, everyone was like, “That’s a great idea.” I don’t think we even started planning it, and Jelly Roll mentioned he wanted to do it and was training for it. All these comics started committing to it. All of the sudden, it got real. We’ve had a lot of stupid ideas.

Tom Segura : It was really in the moment. It was coming out of the Thanksgiving [5K run] I did, coming into the new year, and we were talking about what we were going to do this year. Sometimes we say stupid things and it fades away. This one was very much embraced from the get-go. Bert did something I would have never done, which was FaceTiming all these people we know, without warning, and asking them if they would do it. I think it got everyone excited, because all these comics said they’d show up and do it. So that was cool that we got these comedians you don’t think of as health conscious , all being like “Yeah, I’ll do this 5K.”

Kreischer: I think it was something to look forward to and to train for. Something to be excited about and give them a reason to get outside. Sometimes that’s half the battle. I keep telling people to sign up now and don’t wait for the last minute.

Segura: You can also get a spectator ticket if you just want to go watch and be a part of the spectacle of it all. There are also virtual tickets if you can’t make it out on 2Bears5k.com and you’ll get a T-shirt and a really cool medal for participating. Then you can run your own 5K. There are already thousands of people, and it’s going to reach its limit at some point, so the sooner you get in the better.

What’s your prep and diet been like heading into this 5K, because, dare I say, you both look pretty in shape?

Kreischer: Tom got in shape first and I got fatter. Then I started losing weight and got all of my blood done and levels checked out, and I was a straight carnivore for eight months. I teeter back and forth, but my diet is really clean now. Tom really led the charge with getting in shape, and when he said on the podcast, “If anything, we want to inspire our fans to get in shape, and it’s starting with us.” It’s been really cool seeing people post that they’re down weight, getting ready for this 5K. Those stories are inspired.

Segura: We get hit up constantly by people who have been training for this thing, “I’ve never done anything like this in my life.” “I’ve lost the weight.” They put up the split screen. They say they ran 3 miles. “Here are my times.” I’ll tell you [that] personally, I f—ing hate training for this. I’ve been doing it, and I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like running, and I don’t think I’m built for it, but I’m doing it anyway. For me, it’s an exercise in discipline. I’m landing in different cities and still going on runs, and diet-wise I am trying to stay clean, but I realize I have no wiggle room. Some people can eat whatever they want. I’m just not built like that. The eating clean part I am actually not bothered by, it’s the running.

I like that it’s not a proper race and that everyone can run at their own pace. Did you design it that way because Por Osos is a sponsor?

Segura: A 5K is a pretty small race, and we have a recovery center, Por Osos, the cold plunge, we have a DJ and food — we have all these things that are appealing. We don’t want people to have to run a certain time to participate. It’s about getting out there and being active. Having fun together.

Kreischer: There’s a whole spectator area too. Tom and I will get onstage and start the party off at 9 a.m., and people can just hang out and cheer, meet celebrities and party. The cool thing is that there is no time restraint. Everyone can go out and just walk it. Just have a good time. It’ll be the most inclusive 5K out there. I think it’s going to be the best 5K that has ever been done in history.

I think you’re right. Let’s drop some names. Who has committed?

Kreischer: Cipha Sounds signed up for it, the Are You Garbage guys, Michelle Wolf, Stavros [Halkias], Shane Gillis has a soft commit depending on how much he drinks the night before, Tim Dillon, Whitney Cummings, and even Jelly Roll is doing it. Tom was telling me about a comment he saw that was like, “Well, if Tom Segura can do it, I can do it.” To use him as your barometer is so comical to me, but I think it speaks to the accessibility our fans have with us. “If these two fat f—s can do it, I can do it.”

Are you guys big on motivating each other?

Kreischer: Honestly, and this is a little bit of our larger story, but Tom used to fat shame me when he was clearly fatter than I was. We were fat adjacent. We did a weight loss challenge with Joe Rogan, and he really supported it. Like, “You guys go and really have fun with it.” So we’ve always tried to take each other online and one up each other. I think that’s what guys do with their friends.

Segura: Yeah, you have to. I also knew going into this that I was going to have to set out a plan for training, stick to it and try to get myself close to it. And I know he’s going to f—ing do nothing and just be fine showing up the day of. So yeah, we do playfully talk s— and challenge each other.

All of this leads to the Kia Forum for both of you. How sweet is it to be in this legendary venue during this massive festival?

Segura: If it was a regular week, you’d be the one big show in town, so it’s a crazy thing to be a part of. I think [festival organizers] have done a good job of promoting all these shows because it is overwhelming. The festival is enormous.

Kresicher: You have all these other markets talking about how they’re the new big comedy scene, but you forget that L.A. is the O.G. comedy scene. And when you put on a festival like this one, it makes every other festival like, “Oh, who’d you bring out? Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters? Well, we have f—ing everyone.” And we’re going to be running around this whole festival bullying everyone into doing this 5K.

The final 5K roster is going to be next level. Do you think you’ll both keep this up and it’ll spark something else? The 2 Bears 6K?

Segura: I’ve made some progress in this, and I’m now used to running a little bit — it’ll bother me a little to let it go. I work out and lift weights, and I don’t run that much, but now that I have a better baseline for running, this thing that I hate, I better keep doing this thing that I hate. I’m not excited about it, though.

Kreischer: As long as the party afterward is good, we’ll keep doing this. We’ll do it every year if the party is good afterward. The after-party is where we f—ing shine, and it’s going to be phenomenal.

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