In Arts & Entertainment

Charlie Berens is keeping it funny ... and real.

Comedian Charlie Berens approaches quarantine with humor, humanity

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday life, but it doesn't need to change who we are. So, in addition to our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus, OnMilwaukee will continue to report on cool, fun, inspiring and strange stories from our city and beyond. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed and stay joyful. We're all in this together. #InThisTogetherMKE

Through his YouTube segments "Manitowoc Minute," comedian and journalist Charlie Berens established himself as one of the funniest folks in Wisco – and beyond. Last Month, the beloved 'Sconnie started a spin-off series called "Quarantine Kitchen" that addresses the stay-at-home order with humor. (Stuck in the house craving an Old Fashioned but have limited ingredients and supplies? No problem, a nail easily doubles as a toothpick for your cocktail garnishes!)

"One of my favorites is a video I did with Myles Montplaisir from YouBetcha where we recreated the perfect bar experience by duct-taping Myles – who was on an iPad – to a fishing pole," says Berens. "That's one you may have to watch for it to make sense. Anyway, I'll keep doing them as long as it's a topic that's relevant to people and I can find a take that feels unique and funny."

Comedy is always the primary mission for Berens, but also has an underlying serious side.

"Making people laugh is most important to me, especially when people are quarantined, restless, anxious or bored," he says. "If you can make people laugh that means they're listening, so it only made sense to put a few good causes in the videos, seeing the various needs of people in this crisis," says Berens.

Berens urges fans to support these charities, if they're able. A portion of all merchandise sales on Berens' website go toward Wisconsin-based organizations as well.

"There's so much good will out there. I just try to offer easy ways for people to help and support each other. Especially if it involves a Bloody Mary," says Berens.

Part of Berens' compassion comes from – and for – his father, an anesthesiologist and critical care doctor at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. "They are extremely thankful for all the people who donated PPE over the past couple weeks. It's been awesome watching the community rally behind the people on the front lines of fighting this disease," Berens says.

On a personal level, Berens is managing well enough, but eager to get back on the road.

"Well, my tackle box has never been more organized, I can tell you that," says Berens. "I'm looking forward to getting out of quarantine and back on my tour schedule. I have a lot of shows to make up."

Berens has also been making music. Recently, he released a song about a squirrel in his backyard with Comedy Central.

He's also working with Adam Greuel from Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and says there's a chance they will release an album in the future.

But for now, making people laugh is Berens' priority, something he believes is the very best medicine.

"Someone once said that it's impossible to think of anything else when you're laughing. It's a welcome distraction from all this insanity, and it's a fun way to connect with family and friends by sharing a good laugh," says Berens. "Basically laughter is just one of those things that can make anyone feel better. So the more, the better."

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