Manitowoc Minute's Charlie Berens sat down with the Strat Comms team to answer some of our burning questions ahead of tonight's show for Concordians.
From mentors and meat raffles to casseroles and Catholic guilt, Charlie bears it all. Read some of his impromptu answers below.
You’re from a very large family (one of 12 kids) how did your family influence your comedy?
Well, you know, when you’re one of 12 kids you have a sort of imbedded audience—a captive audience, if you will. But that doesn’t mean they’re a nice audience. So, you know, if you’re going to speak up, you really want to have your timing down.
We’re coming up on casserole season. What’s your favorite recipe?
You gotta get the venison burger in there, or moose burger…really whatever is in the freezer or what you win at the meat raffle. And then, you know, you can throw some corn in there, really any vegetable, but not green beans. Green beans are not allowed in any casserole that I’m eating. They will immediately be quarantined to one side of the plate and then they will be donated to the dog.
There is a serious side to your show. Tell us about the charities you support and why you choose to support them.
Mostly the fear of purgatory, growing up Catholic…In all seriousness, I think the giving back stuff is just kind of important to do as you can. It not only encourages the fans to give but it’s also deserved publicity for these nonprofits. When you get their names out there, maybe folks will think about giving and donating more.
And causes you advocate for?
We’re in an age of distrust of science and distrust of a lot of things. Everything has been made politicized and it’s compounded by social media and cable news.
It’s common sense to wear a mask. It’s common sense to help our environment. It’s common sense to help our veterans. None of these need to be politicized and that’s kind of a shame that they are. So I just want to bring some stability. It’s the very little bit I can do.
Who are your influences?
Grandpa Bob, he would definitely be one. From a guy who lived and breathed Wisconsin his whole life, anytime I needed a bit, I would just go hang out with him.
I grew up watching the fishing shows, the local fishermen on the local channels. Beyond that, from a journalistic standpoint, I’ve always liked Edward R. Murrow. He had this famous tagline: “Good night, and good luck.” I wanted something with equal gravitas. So I came up with “Go Packers…”
Did you have a mentor? How do you lift others up?
I certainly hope I’m a mentor to either people who work for me or people who message me. I try and reply and be helpful because I certainly had a lot of people who were helpful to me. A lot of family comes to mind. And there’s also a really strong Wisconsin alumni in the world of comedy. One guy who comes to mind is Phil Johnston. He was a guy who kind of helped me out throughout my career.
I definitely think that there’s been no shortage of mentors. People here have a good foundation. That’s the nice thing about Wisconsin too, is when you get out into the working world, there’s a lot of Wisconsin people who help you get a leg up.
What advice do you have for students who are trying to figure out their career paths during this difficult time.
I graduated kind of at the height of the recession. Not that that’s the same thing. It wasn’t quite as crazy of a time, but I think that when times are weird, the bar is kind of set low. So in a way, that’s kind of liberating. Take advantage of that. Do something that you really want to do and that you really love and put the work in.
Name five people you would like to invite to a supper club.
- Charley Crockett, he’s a new musician I’ve been enjoying.
- Vince Lombardi – OK, gotta get him in there.
- We’ll get Grandpa Bob back, put him at the table.
- We’ve got to get some big Wisconsinites. Hey, Oprah lived in Wisconsin for a while. We should get her at the table, because, you know, she can motivate.
- We’ll get Aaron Rodgers there for sure. I’ve always wanted to talk to him anyways.
- We’ll also bring Les Paul, a great Wisconsinite and he can tell us how to make a better guitar.
And we’d all get the perch fry.
Supper Club or Tailgate?
First, I want to go on record saying that’s not fair. But tailgate.
Euchre or Sheepshead?
Sheepshead, for sure
Ketchup or Ranch on Cheese Curds?
Perch or Walleye?
I said perch before but I didn’t know walleye was on the menu. Walleye.
Favorite Racing Sausage
Brats or Cheese?
Again, not fair, but cheese, just because there are so many different varieties.
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