Charlie Berens Brings Midwest Culture To Mainstream Media Through Comedy and The News

The Development of A Character

Charlie Berens is just your average Wisconsin man who knows a lot of Wisconsin news. He loves a good fish fry on a Friday, taking a hike in the great outdoors, and going to dive bars that feel like you’ve been going there forever, even if it’s your first time.

Berens hails from outside of Milwaukee, growing up mainly in New Berlin and Elm Grove until he went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a bachelor’s in journalism. From there, Berens got his start in the media world working for MTV News then gradually made his way through the circuit working for budding news channels on YouTube, and local and entertainment news. As a journalist, Berens said it just didn’t scratch that creative itch he had, and realized that his true calling was sharing his talents through comedy. 

Charlie Berens showcases what he loves the most about his home state through comedy and information. Photo by Josh Davis)
Charlie Berens showcases what he loves the most about his home state through comedy and information. (Picture by Josh Davis)

Berens merged the world of news and comedy into his series, the “Manitowoc Minute”. According to Berens, this was the point where everything changed for him and his content began to find its way into the algorithm of many Wisconsinites. By reporting on Wisconsin news through comedy he’s able to reach multiple audiences.

“I put out the first Manitowoc Minute and got a lot of organic interest,” said Berens. “I didn’t expect the video to be serious.” 

The Manitowoc Minute character was inspired by Berens’ time in local news, embodying a character that encompassed what he believes to be a proper representation of the Midwest, Wisconsin, and its residents. 

“I think there’s something about being missed in pop culture a lot of times that keeps you humble. My goal is to show the Midwest at its best and bring joy through a culture I love.” 

– Charlie Berens

Bringing in Wisconsin News and Laughter

Through his skits and Wisconsin news clips, Berens covers current events and sports in a comedic way.

“I think laughter is needed in the world we live in today,” said Berens. “The news can be disheartening. It’s good to be able to laugh at it.”

Berens’ Adventures

Berens has since become a representative to his fans for all things Midwest, even going to the lengths of writing a book entailing the culture, customs, and speaking habits of the Midwest titled, “The Midwest Survival Guide: How We Talk, Love, Work, Drink, and Eat… Everything with Ranch”. 

Berens currently resides in Milwaukee, a city known for its diverse people and position in the state. Despite being a grand city, the core elements of the Midwest shine through in its inhabitants. The city still retains the same be-nice-ask-questions-later attitude as the rest of the region. 

Outside of informing the world of the Midwest, Berens released a new Brandy, a state favorite, earlier this year in memory of his Grandpa Bob. It was developed to be a Brandy that would fit his grandfather’s liking, continuing a strong old-fashioned tradition. 

Maria Peralta-Arellano is a Milwaukee-native journalist who focuses on sharing news from her local communities. She dedicates her work to accessibility and producing bilingual coverage focused on arts, culture, and politics. She looks to explore her community through a journalistic and creative lens.

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