By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 22, 2017 at 11:16 AM
Last weekend, Packers Nation and the whole state of Wisconsin sat in horror, watching Aaron Rodgers writhe on the grass of Minnesota's U.S. Bank Stadium and then walk off the field – potentially for the last time this season – with his right arm dangling limply from his side. The state needed a hero, someone to fix the state's broken psyche. And Brett Hundley ... well, he wasn't quite that during the Vikings game. 

A hero did come, however, in the form of comedian Charlie Berens and his beloved Manitowoc Minute YouTube series, turning one of Packer fans' worst afternoons into a chance to make fun of the Vikings' logo, Mike Ditka and an exotic dancer who left her pot brownies at a Walgreens ATM. For a moment, thanks to a guy reading the day's headlines with a thick Yooper accent and a hunting jacket, it was OK to laugh again. 

We'll probably need more laughs as this now troubling season keeps going – but thankfully, not only does Berens upload new Manitowoc Minute segments every Monday, but he'll also be bringing his heavily accented act on the road, performing two sold-out comedy shows at Turner Hall Ballroom on Nov. 29-30. Before then, we chatted with the Elm Grove native and up-and-coming comedian about the origins of the Manitowoc Minute, his upcoming hometown gig and how he's handling Aaron Rodgers' heartbreaking broken collarbone. Answer: about as well as the rest of us (which is to say NOT WELL). 

OnMilwaukee: Take me through your emotions after Aaron Rodgers' injury in last Sunday's Packers game? How are you coping?

Charlie Berens: I’m still not convinced it’s all just a bad dream we’re experiencing. I’m coping by trying to make myself believe we can all be stuck in a collective bad dream. That’s harder than it sounds.

Do you have faith in Brett Hundley? Or do you think they should find a different quarterback?

I’m pulling for Brett Hundley. For starters, he’s got a great first name. Also he’s a very talented QB. I’m sure it will be tough playing on an injured team with little regular season experience. I checked to see if Brett Favre could return. Judging by Google search auto complete, I wasn’t alone. He can’t – in case you were still wondering.

How do you recommend fellow Packers fans move forward from Rodgers' injury? What can be done?

Meditation, relaxation, intoxication. Not necessarily in that order.

You got to do "Roll Out the Barrel" at the Packers game recently. What was that experience like?

That was very surreal. I got to take my dad on the field before the game, and he immediately forgave me for all my sins, including stealing his hunting jacket for an internet video series. It didn’t really hit me until I saw a clip of me on the jumbotron. Man, I thought I had a big nose before … crazy.

How did you come up with and develop the character for the Manitowoc Minute? Is it based on any particular people from your life or just totally a creation?

Manitowoc Minute originated from a character in one of my stand up bits. I talk about my time in broadcast news. That’s an industry that prefers a very neutral accent, and I had a bit of a Wisconsin accent. Someone told me to get a voice coach, so I did. My character looks at a guy who never got that voice coach.

The accent is based on friends, family and fishing shows I grew up watching. It’s also exaggerated for the sake of the show.

What can people expect from your live show at Turner Hall next month?

Just a good time! I don’t want to give too much away, but it will be a variety show. It won’t be strictly stand-up. Format wise, it will be different from a traditional comedy show. I’m borrowing a lot from different genres that I enjoy. But if you like Manitowoc Minute, you’re going to love the show! That just sounded very cliche, but I think it’ll be true.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.