Charlie Berens filled Stephens Auditorium with midwest humor


Nicole Hasek

Charlie Berens at the meet and greet after his show on Oct. 29.

With a red solo cup in hand, Charlie Berens lit up Stephens Auditorium with applause and laughter, starting the moment he walked on stage.

“My wife just laughs her ass off at Charlie,” said Kurt Bion, an attendee who traveled from Dallas Center. “We watch him on Facebook or clips on TikTok.”

The midwest comedian started with crowd interactions, immediately calling out attendees who arrived late.

“What is this, church? You think you can show up late and the guy on stage won’t notice?” Berens said.

An unlucky fan in the crowd was wearing a Bears jersey, a rival to Berens’ beloved team: the Packers. The Packers’ losing season this year led to Berens asking her how to deal with a favorite team constantly losing. So far, Berens said he has been drinking more and going to therapy to cope.

One problem Berens said he faces is that Siri is not equipped for midwesterners. With “midwest Siri,” Berens joked that the first time he used Siri, his heavy Wisconsin accent and uncommon phrases led to the app thinking he was having a stroke.

His unique terminology not only caused confusion through Siri but in his news career as well. When working as a reporter, he said to “stay inside and stay near a bubbler,” referring to a water fountain during a heat wave. However, he was unaware that outside of Wisconsin, “bubbler” refers to a marijuana pipe.

Midway through the show, Berens displayed some of his odd findings on Craigslist in a bit he calls “Craigslist Kicker.” Being sold in Ames, a toy gun filled with salt — named the Bug-A-Salt — was purchased by Berens for $10. He then held an auction for the Bug-A-Salt, being sold for $450 to an 11-year-old guest. The proceeds of this will go to The Center for Veterans Issues.

As a former journalist, Berens made time in his show to comment on midwest news stories. His top stories included Ames’ power outage caused by a squirrel and Ohio’s mayor resigning after claiming ice fishing leads to prostitution.

Before Berens took the stage, comedian Bill Dusec warmed up the crowd. He explained that Berens needed an opener because he was busy with his pre-show ritual of taking shots of ranch.

According to him, his home city of Boston is filled with “the most miserable bunch of assholes.” He feels more at home in the midwest, even after unforgivably mistaking Iowa for Ohio.

After the show, a small meet and greet was held where Berens took photos, signed autographs and talked with fans.