Have you ever thought about what you would do in the apocalypse? Doomsday preppers take that hypothetical into a lifestyle. Local comedian and YouTuber Louis D. Michael created the web show “Loaded for Bear” to parody the folks who slide into conspiracy theory and obsession.
“I want to make the show a mix of humor and practical, survival skills. It’ll be kinda like a ‘Red Green Show’ knockoff,” Michael said, in reference to a popular Canadian TV program. “It’s very Canadian humor. Like ‘Letterkenny’ and ‘Kids in the Hall.’”
In a recent video, Michael ate his way through a package of Meals Ready-to-Eat, or MREs, often used by soldiers in combat. In another, he constructed a Batman-esque toolbelt of survival supplies.
“I just took a bunch of gear you’d normally put in a backpack and went, ‘Fuck it. I’m gonna make myself a Batman belt,’” Michael explained. “That was fun. Got your flashlight, your matches, right around your waist.”
Michael is a lifelong Michigan resident. He’s also spent years traversing the state as a stand-up comedian. His travels exposed him to the most rural, off-the-beaten-path corners of the Mitten State.
The comedic aspects of the show hide the fact that Michael actually contains a treasure trove of survival know-how. He can show you how to start a fire, pitch a tent and wield an ax. In the early stages of “Loaded for Bear,” Michael just wanted to make videos that could comfort his friends who felt unequipped to deal with the changing world.
“A lot of it is stuff my dad would show and tell me when I was growing up. I was a half-assed army brat,” Michael said. “We never went camping or hunting, really. But I learned basic urban survival and some wilderness survival from him.”
During the past few years, Michael started to grow interested in camping and backpacking. His personal anxieties about the world led him to dive deeper and deeper into research about survival.
“At the advent of the pandemic, I decided to turbocharge all my knowledge,” Michael said. “I wouldn’t say I’m unironically a doomsday prepper. But I’m further beyond what the government recommends.” The government recommends keeping two weeks of supplies in storage. Michael keeps enough for a few months.
He is hesitant to become fully committed prepper because the lifestyle can often be a slippery slope towards dangerous ideologies or conspiracies.
“It’s definitely fertilizer for some crazy shit,” Michael admitted. “You can find some guys who drank a little bit too much of the Kool-Aid. At what point are you just already living life like you’re experiencing the apocalypse?”
Michael plans to keep growing his show, releasing new episodes and upping the production value.
“I’m going to keep reading up on this stuff and learning. But also, I’m going to lean really hard into being a spoof of a prepper,” Michael said. “Why not make fun of what’s scaring us?”