Chris Gethard has a lot of different identities. He’s a cult comedy legend, the namesake and former figurehead of The Chris Gethard Show, an actor (who you might know from films like Don’t Think Twice and TV shows like Broad City and The Office), the host of the Beautiful/Anonymous podcast, someone who has helped countless people with his openness about his mental health struggles, and an undisputed point of New Jersey pride.
Another thing Gethard is known for is the intense love and the wealth of knowledge he has for all things related to soda pop. The comedian is a soda appreciator, a soda collector, and something of a soda historian. Prior to his upcoming stand-up show and live Beautiful/Anonymous podcast recording events at X-Ray Arcade—and his first time ever being in the Milwaukee area!—on Friday, October 7, we were able to ask Gethard some questions about some Wisconsin-made sodas, some of which are among his favorite soft drinks of all time.
Milwaukee Record: Even though this will be your first time in Milwaukee, there’s one thing I know you really love about this area. You’re a big fan of Sprecher soda.
Chris Gethard: Love it. Love it. I’m finally coming to the land of Sprecher. Sprecher sets the bar very high. I mean, their cream soda in particular is one of the best sodas. I’ve often listed it when people learn I love soda and ask me to rank my top sodas. Every single product Sprecher puts out is good except for the ginger ale—mostly because they use honey as a sweetener and I just don’t think honey and ginger ale have a place together in that.
I mean, their cola is incredible. That raspberry one is incredible. That grape one is really good, even though some people say the label is weirdly racist in a way, which is a strange debate to have about a soda. And I get the sense from the Sprecher’s people from my limited interactions with them online that they’re not bad people with ill intent. But the cream soda, the root beer, the shape of the bottle…all of it, man. Having each product have its own animal mascot. I love it. It’s great soda.
MR: Are there any other regional sodas [from around here] that you like? Have you had Jolly Good before?
CG: I have not had Jolly Good. Is that another Wisconsin one I should check out?
MR: Yeah, but I don’t know where in Wisconsin it’s based out of. But that, and—since I know this is a huge passion of yours—I wrote down a few others. Black Bear? Have you had that?
CG: Black Bear? No, I don’t think I’ve ever had it. I love this.
MR: There’s another soda made here called Dang!
CG: Oh, of course. Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer. Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer is one of the best.
MR: I know Sprecher is also now making Green River again, as featured prominently in that show The Bear recently.
CG: Oh, yeah. Chicago’s favorite. Supposedly, it’s green apple flavored, but that’s just liquid candy.
MR: Is there anything you’re itching to try? I could leave you some stuff in the X-Ray green room.
CG: No, I’m doing good. I’m trying to take a little weight off right now, so I should brace myself. Though having access to fresh Sprecher does make me feel like I should see if they have tours of their bottling plant.
MR: They actually do, and I believe tours include unlimited soda.
CG: Yeah, I’ve got to do that.
MR: It’s a once every few years treat for me. And they make actual beer there too.
CG: Yeah, I’m aware. Part of my soda obsession is that I don’t drink alcohol. Sadly, my brain feels the need to be addicted to something. And it’s soda. So part of me thinks I should get in touch with them to see if I could get a tour of their facility because that would be a dream come true.
Chris Gethard will perform at X-Ray Arcade on Friday, October 7. The early show (doors at 6 p.m, show at 7 p.m.) will be a live recording of his aforementioned Beautiful/Anonymous podcast. The late show (doors at 9 p.m., show at 9:30 p.m.) will feature Gethard performing stand-up comedy. Both events are all ages. You can listen to an extended interview with Gethard on the October 7 episode of our My First Band podcast.