Charlie Berens cracks jokes with students and families

Charlie Berens, Emmy-winning journalist, comedian and host of “Manitowoc Minute,” performed before a sold out crowd at Taylor Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato Saturday. 

He describes himself as, “born Catholic, raised guilty,” and a true Midwesterner. Originally from Wisconsin, Berens can speak fluent “uff-da” and “Don’t ya know.” 

Any Mankato student not originally from the area may want to consider taking a look at Berens’ book, “The Midwest Survival Guide: How We Talk, Love, Work, Drink, and Eat … Everything with Ranch.” Berens pleads, “I was dropped as a child. Just go with me here.” 

However, his humor has found him lots of popularity recently. His act was sold out last Saturday, and on TikTok he has 1.5 million followers. 

MNSU freshman Sophie Alinder attended the comedy sketch. 

“I thought it was good,” she said. “I’ve seen him on TikTok, but never in person.”

Alinder was able to catch on to the Midwestern humor Berens used throughout his comedy bits, as she has also experienced this. Specifically, she mentioned, “Uff-da. I say that so many times it’s insane.” 

Caden Kantorowicz, another MNSU student said, “I thought it was fun, I enjoyed it,” with his favorite section of the show being where Berens talked about road intersections. 

As Berens elaborated in his show, the Midwest four-way-stop is dangerous because there’s always a chance you can get caught in an endless loop of waving for the other person to go. It’s the kind thing to do, after all, which Midwesterners do best. 

Berens also touched on roundabouts, hunting, the awkward plastic bag pile we all have, church, and the fanciest type of beer. 

Additionally, Berens had his iconic “Craigslist Kicker” portion of the show, where he went onto Craigslist, found the oddest item he could close to the location of the show, and purchased it, only to auction it off at his show. 

For MNSU students, the item being auctioned off at this show was an empty moonshine bottle. The bidding started at $3, what Berens paid, and ended at $200. And, unfortunately, bidding may have ended higher if MNSU wasn’t a dry campus, a campus detail Berens made sure to rub in students’ faces multiple times. 

Berens paused during his show for a Q+A session, where he got down to the nitty-gritty: tater tot hotdish or chicken wild rice soup (both are good), favorite Kwik Trip (the location off I-94 with the big semi truck), favorite section of Fleet Farm (fishing pole section), and opinions of Wisconsinites who are Vikings fans (outlook not so good). 

For anyone who missed the show, Berens has several short Midwestern comedy videos posted on his website, some of which he played during the show.

To end the night, Berens sent everybody home with a proper Midwestern goodbye: “I lack the capacity to tell you I love you, so I’ll tell you to watch out for deer.”

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