With a red solo mug in hand, Charlie Berens lit up Stephens Auditorium with applause and laughter from the moment he took the stage.
“My wife is laughing at Charlie,” said Kurt Bion, a participant who traveled from downtown Dallas. “We watch it on Facebook or clips on TikTok.”
The Midwestern comedian began with crowd interactions, immediately calling out attendees who arrived late.
“What is it, church?” Do you think you can show up late and the guy on stage won’t notice? said Berens.
One 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 Berens to ask him how to deal with a favorite team that constantly loses. So far, Berens said he’s been drinking more and undergoing therapy to cope.
One problem Berens said he faces is that Siri isn’t equipped for Midwesterners. Along with “midwest Siri,” Berens joked that the first time he used Siri, his thick Wisconsin accent and unusual phrases led the app to think he was having a stroke.
Its unique terminology has not only confused Siri, but also its career in the news. When he worked as a reporter, he said to “stay indoors 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 posted some of his weird finds on Craigslist in a piece he calls “Craigslist Kicker.” Sold to Ames, a salt-filled toy gun – named Bug-A-Salt – was purchased by Berens for $10. He then held an auction for the Bug-A-Salt, which sold for $450 to an 11-year-old guest. Proceeds from this will go to The Center for Veterans.
As a former reporter, Berens took time on his show to comment on Midwestern news. His best stories included Ames power failure caused by a squirrel and Ohio mayor resigns after claiming that 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 pictures of the ranch.
According to him, his hometown of Boston is filled with “the most miserable bunch of assholes”. He feels most at home in the Midwest, even after unforgivably confusing Iowa with Ohio.
After the show, a small get-together took place where Berens took photos, signed autographs and spoke with fans.
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