Charlie Berens to give UW-Madison December 2022 commencement address – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If the announcement video is any indication, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s winter commencement will be as Wisconsin as it can get.
Comedian Charlie Berens is slated to deliver the commencement address at the Kohl Center on Dec. 18. Recording “live from his garage” with a Wisconsin flag hanging from the ceiling, he joked about supplying students with jerky and brandy at the ceremony.
Ope — just kidding.
“Thank you so much for inviting me to be your commencement speaker,” he said in a video posted on UW-Madison social media. “… until then, keep ‘er movin’, and watch out for deer, they’re ruttin’, OK? I tell ya that. All right, go Badgers; see ya soon!”
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Berens is best known for his online comedy show “Manitowoc Minute.” He grew up in New Berlin and Elm Grove. A 2009 graduate of UW-Madison, he studied journalism and geography.
Berens’ rise to fame spawned from some specific feedback he received while trying to break into broadcasting, according to On Wisconsin, the university’s alumni magazine. You have a funny voice, he said he was told by individuals working on the East and West coasts.
Instead of trying to soften his hearty Wisconsin accent, he leaned into it and now has a massive social media following. He’s appeared on Comedy Central, Fox, CBS and MTV News. He’s traveled the country with sold-out standup comedy tours and just last year, he published his first book, “The Midwest Survival Guide,” which immediately became a New York Times bestseller.
New UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin met Berens in August during her first week on the job at the Wisconsin State Fair. She said she’s learned a lot from him — “like the importance of getting the buttered rye bread with the Friday night fish fry and watching out for deer on the roads.”
The Chancellor’s Office consults with senior class officers in selecting commencement speakers.
“Charlie Berens is a Wisconsin cultural ambassador for all corners of the state,” Liam McLean, senior class president, said in a statement. “It is fitting to have him speak to our winter commencement graduates as his reach and our university grow in scope and status.”


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