From ranking superheroes to debating whether or not they’re going to Heaven, no topic is off limits for Patrick Johnson II and Mike Esibou. As fellow Milwaukeean podcasters, Pat and Mike dive into current events, take calls from fans, and shoot the breeze on their weekly show the Crash Dummies Podcast. This week on the Cripescast, they go on tangent after tangent with Charlie, discussing everything from train conductors, to email scams, to the legality of marrying cousins in the US. Pat and Mike share the story of how Crash Dummies came to be, their insights on social media, and memories from their childhood, including Mike’s stint at Nigerian boarding school. Be sure to check out The Crash Dummies Podcast on all podcasting platforms. Follow @crashdummiespodcast, @pjohnsonjr_ and @mike.esiobu on all platforms.
Episode 178 - Dexter Patterson
It’s time to buckle in for a Cripescast episode all about Birding. UW-Madison Life Science Communications teacher, Dexter Patterson, is a self-proclaimed “Bird Nerd” and as any dedicated listener of the show knows, Charlie is too. Dexter is working to make birdwatching accessible to everyone, whether it’s through sharing his adventures to his followers or by co-founding the BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin. He’s on a mission to bring diversity to birding and to create a welcoming community for people of color outdoors, a space where they’ve historically been left out. In this episode, Charlie and Dexter nerd out about their “spark birds,” discuss how getting outdoors can improve mental health, and how simply going birding is a form of environmental activism. Follow Dexter at @wiscobirder and find out more information about the BIPOC Birding Club at bipocbirdingclub.org.
Episode 177 - Myles Montplaisir
Returning to the show for the fourth time, Myles Montplaisir (aka the “You Betcha” guy) makes history as the Cripescast guest with the most podcast appearances. Aside from being one of Charlie’s close friends and co-host of The Bellied Up Podcast, a Midwestern call-in advice show, Myles is an entrepreneur, content creator, and conversationalist through and through. Having gotten hitched since his last time on the show, Myles catches us up on married life and provides his top three tips for a happy marriage, which includes defending his “hippie haircut” to Charlie. Along with answering some fan questions and playing Midwest “Red Flag or Green Flag”, the two brainstorm ideas for a Midwestern prank show, plans for a Bellied Up live taping, and share their first impressions of one another. Follow Myles at @ohhyoubetcha across the board and the Bellied Up Podcast at @bellieduppod. Follow us on all platforms @cripesast @charlieberens @manitowocminute. For more Cripescast information go to cripescast.com and find us on Patreon for exclusive content at Patreon.com/charleiberens.
Episode 176 - Eric Larsen
Polar explorer and expedition guide Eric Larsen isn’t one to shy away from the cold. In fact, having completed more North and South Pole expeditions than any other American in history, it’s safe to say he prefers it. From being a park ranger in Alaska to a sled dog herder in Minnesota, Eric’s spent his life in the cold and his story has become the subject to several documentaries. Traveling in such extreme environments comes with no shortage of challenges or close encounters with wildlife. In fact, on this episode of the Cripescast, Eric shares stories of both including being chased by a moose and being stalked by a polar bear. He and Charlie bond over what it was like growing up in Wisconsin, their first jobs as bike mechanics, and their shared passion for preserving the outdoors. Follow Eric on Instagram at @elexplores and book a trip with him to explore the North Pole at ericlarsenexplore.com.
Episode 175 - RENEW Wisconsin
RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that has been dedicated to the advancement of clean renewable energy in the dairy state since 1991. On this episode of the Cripescast, Charlie is joined by RENEW’s Communications Manager, Alex Beld, and their Emerging Technology Director, Francisco Sayu, to discuss what RENEW is doing in the state of Wisconsin. Their mission is to “seek to power a strong, healthy and vibrant state by implementing environmentally friendly energy systems,” while not just looking out for the environment, but for the economy and general public health as well. Francisco and Alex outline their latest ongoing initiative of getting electric school buses in all of Wisconsin’s school districts, while also explaining the health impacts of diesel emissions on students and the economic advantage EV buses could provide to schools. For more information on their work and how to nominate your school to receive free electric buses in Wisconsin, head to renewwisconsn.org.
Episode 174 - Jeff Ditzenberger
Jeff Ditzenberger takes mental health very seriously as a farmer and a veteran, two communities with some of the highest suicide rates in the country. When it comes to asking a friend how they are, he explains that “I’d rather spend an hour listening to all the things that are causing you angst, than sit and listen to your eulogy for five minutes.” He stresses the importance of being vulnerable, regardless of gender, generation or occupation, and encourages people to talk about the uncomfortable parts of life. As a return Cripescast guest, he updates the listeners about his non-profit TUGS, provides resources for those struggling with mental health, and shares a story about how he saved someone’s life with a simple act of kindness. Jeff and Charlie taste test some pickle-flavored ranch and debate whether or not Charlie “stole” or “borrowed” a glazer from Jeff the first time he was on the show.
Episode 173 - Grandma Sue, Aunt Mary and Grandma's Friend Lois (Part 2)
No one is safe from being thrown under the bus on this episode of the Cripescast. Just as unfiltered as the last time they were on the show, Charlie is joined by his Aunt Mary, his Grandma Sue and her best casino friend Lois Bentley, as they make their way to the casino. Whether it’s prying information out of Mary about her new boyfriend, asking Charlie about his love life, or learning what “watching the submarines” meant for Sue and Lois back in the day, everyone has their time in the hot seat. Throughout the road trip they marvel at the fall colors, share Grandpa Bob stories, and by the end of the ride Sue and Lois earn some scandalous nicknames that are inspired by their glory days in the 1950s.
Episode 172 - Xavier Prather
Though he’s a Detroit Lions fan, Xavier Prather knows what it takes to win. Drawing from his skills as an attorney, he strategically won Big Brother and made history as the first Black winner of a regular season in the show’s entire series. Dubbing the experience as “The Truman Show meets summer camp,” Xavier goes into detail about what it was like being constantly filmed and having no contact with the outside world. While the circumstances were far from ordinary, he looks back fondly on his experience and the friendships he made within The Cookout Alliance and beyond. He and Charlie debate whether Wisconsin or Michigan is the true “mitten state”, if it’s called “soda” or “pop”, and the best way to eat a PB&J. Check out the full episode to find out what Xavier did with his Big Brother prize money.
Episode 171 - Kyle Kinane
Though he was born and raised in Illinois, comedian Kyle Kinane has nothing but admiration for Wisconsin. In fact, he uses this episode of the Cripescast to reminisce about vacationing in the Dells, closing Wolski’s, and Spring breaking in Milwaukee. From starting out in the Chicago open mic scene in the early 2000s, to having multiple stand up specials and touring the country today, Kyle explains that his key to staying grounded has been his Midwest upbringing. He and Charlie bond over their love for watching thunderstorms from the porch, the pains of mountain biking as you get older, and growing up as guilty Catholics.
Episode 170 - Berens Brothers
After great anticipation, Charlie is joined by his brothers Andy, Bill, and John for the final installment of the Berens sibling podcast episodes. In this quasi-family therapy session, the brothers unpack childhood trauma, air out some dirty laundry, and commiserate about growing up with 8 sisters. Coming prepared with heartfelt apologies, each brother says sorry to one another, with some apologies ending in resolution and others reopening some old wounds. Find us on all platforms @cripescast, for tour dates, merch, and all podcast information at cripescast.com. For behind the scenes footage and exclusive content, go to Patreon.com/charlieberens.
Episode 169 - Joe Gatto
Comedian Joe Gatto lives to make people laugh. You may recognize him from the hit TV show Impractical Jokers, starring him and his three best friends in a hidden camera comedy series. He shares stories from their humble beginnings in his parents’ basement, his favorite moments from the show, and the best punishment he came up with for his castmate Sal Vulcano. Today he’s touring the country doing stand up, hosting a weekly podcast with Steve Byrne called “Two Cool Moms”, and rescuing animals through his charity Gatto Pups and Friends. Being the youngest child of a big Italian family, Joe knows a thing or two about practical jokes, and he attributes his sense of humor to his parents. Be sure to stick around for the end to hear his recipe for the perfect practical joke. Follow Joe on all platforms @joe_gatto and @GattoPupsAndFriends. Check out his shows at joegattoofficial.com to see him live in a town near you! Find us on all platforms @cripescast and for more information about the show, Charlie's tour dates, merch and more, head to cripescast.com.
Episode 168 - Cripescast Live from the Terrace
Live from the iconic Memorial Union Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin, Charlie interviews a panel of environmental experts about the phosphorus levels in our lakes. The panel includes director of UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, Jake Vander Zanden, professor of Grassland Ecology from the Department of Agronomy, Randy Jackson, and return Cripescast guest and author, Dan Egan. They answer questions from the crowd while having an open discussion about key sources of phosphorus, its implications on everyday life, and what we can do to help clean our lakes. To get involved, head to cleanwisconsin.org or grasslandag.org and check out the Wisconsin Idea wisc.edu/wisconsin-idea/. Also be sure to pick up a copy of Dan’s latest book “The Devil’s Element: Phosphorus and a World out of Balance” anywhere you get your books. Find us on all platforms @cripescast and @charlieberens and at cripescast.com. Check out our behind the scenes footage at Patreon.com/charlieberens.
Episode 167 - Charlie Q&A
On a special episode of the Cripescast this week, Charlie answers fan questions about birding, tour, the Midwest and more of his favorite things.
Episode 166 - Ed the Diver
Ed Bieber, A.K.A. Ed the Diver, is cleaning up bodies of water across the Midwest one dive at a time. You may recognize him from his videos online, where he dives into lakes and rivers and retrieves anything from sunglasses, to car batteries, to engagement rings. He and Charlie bond over their love for fishing and their disdain for losing tackle when it gets caught on something in the water. Ed explains how he started his underwater recovery business, some of the craziest items he’s found along the way, and he shows Charlie his museum of lost items.
Episode 165 - TrueMan McGee
Entrepreneur and founder of Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, TrueMan McGee, is always looking for the silver lining in life by turning obstacles into opportunity. In this episode of the Cripescast, he explains his motto of “collecting pennies” as the process of picking up big and small lessons throughout life, and why failure is necessary for success. From starting his business with money from his son’s piggy bank, to having his spring rolls available in 150 stores across the state today, TrueMan stresses the importance of believing in yourself and visualizing your goals. He and Charlie talk about the art of airfrying, they workshop TrueMan’s stand up material, and brainstorm ideas for a future joint business venture of bloody mary flavored spring rolls.
Episode 164 - Major General Baker
Major General Baker signed up for the military at just 17 years old after his father, who also served, recommended that he join. Now, after many years, a variety of positions, and numerous awards and decorations, he joins Charlie on the Cripescast to discuss the Army Reserve and what they do. Major General Baker touches on the recruiting issues that the US military is experiencing, and emphasizes the wide range of educational and career based opportunities available within the Army Reserve and National Guard. They also discuss mental health issues that ex-soldiers face and what the military is doing to help lower veteran suicide rates. Since it wouldn’t be an episode of the Cripescast without Charlie mentioning artificial intelligence, the two discuss how the military is using AI to its advantage and how cutting edge technology will change the military jobs of the future. Visit www.usar.army.mil for more information on the Army Reserve. https://open.spotify.com/episode/0Y82LfX5f8CFWUevc6Ogdb?si=3bd96800883449a6
Episode 163 - Tracy Hames
Executive Director for the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Tracy Hames, has a wealth of knowledge about Wisconsin’s water supply and ecosystem. On this episode of the Cripescast, he and Charlie discuss wetland preservation from environmental and economic perspectives, and its impact on the average Wisconsinite. “We don’t try to get people to like ducks and frogs and pretty flowers if they don’t already like those things,” Hames explains. “Instead, we get them to care for wetlands because wetlands are important to maintaining the things they already care about.” He explains that hunting, fishing, and clean water are just a few of the many areas of our day to day life that are dependent on wetlands and urges the listeners to get out in the mud and start exploring. For more information on what you can do in your community, visit wisconsinwetlands.org and get in the mud.
Episode 162 - Andrew Roffe
For his triumphant return, stand up comedian Andrew Roffe joins the Cripescast this week to share his best and worst memories from life on the road opening for Charlie. Like an old married couple, the two air their grievances, express their pet peeves, and Andrew suggests they go to couples counseling. They discuss some of their favorite video collabs, the stand up comedy scene today, and Charlie’s environmentalist habits that drive Andrew nuts. Stick around for the end of the episode where they play a “Honeymooners Game for Comedy Partners” where all secrets get revealed.
Episode 161 - Rory Scovel
Against better judgment, Charlie plays therapist for comedian Rory Scovel on this episode of the Cripescast. Together they unpack the trauma of being former altar boys, their time in local news, and growing up in large families. From his first try at doing stand up at a poetry open mic in Spartanburg, South Carolina to becoming a regular comic on Conan, Rory’s struck success throughout his comedy career. Rory attributes his ability to endure criticism on stage to him failing the 10th grade and his love for making people laugh, whether it’s with him or at him. – Find Rory on all platforms @roryscovel and find tickets to his shows near you at roryscovel.com. Find us on all platforms @cripescast @charlieberens @manitowocminute and on Patreon at patreon.com/charlieberens.
Episode 160 - Cheryl Nenn
Milwaukee Riverkeeper Cheryl Nenn is advocating for the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers on this episode of the Cripescast. Cheryl explains how the key issues she deals with day to day in Wisconsin are a microcosm for the rest of the world’s water supply. Charlie, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, picks her brain about clean water issues and the implications on public health, fishing, and more. Stick around for the end of the episode where Cheryl gives tips on how to get involved with both the Milwaukee Riverkeepers and within your own community. For more information on Cheryl’s work, head to milwaukeeriverkeeper.org or find them on social media @mkeriverkeeper.
Episode 159 - Rosebud Baker
Shortly after being in a hit and run accident, comedian and writer Rosebud Baker hops on a call with Charlie for this week’s episode of the Cripescast. With her first child on the way, Rosebud speculates whether motherhood will change her perspective on life and is excited for all the potential bits it’ll bring to her act. After being encouraged by her friends to try stand up, it only took trying open mic once for her to get hooked on comedy. Since then, she’s written on shows like That Damn Michael Che, she’s put out her comedy special “Whiskey Fits” on Comedy Central, and is currently a writer on Saturday Night Live. She and Charlie share their disdain for crowdwork clips, upsetting their families with their material, and debate whether “Saved by the Bell” or “Full House” was a better show growing up. Want to see Rosebud Baker at @improvmilwaukee July 13-15th? Use code CRIPES at improv.com/milwaukee/ for $5 tickets.
Episode 158 - Mary Jo Wheeler Schueller
Mary Jo Wheeler-Schueller is a trailblazer in the Wisconsin automotive industry. As President of the Wheeler Family Auto Group, she is passionate about making electric vehicles (EV) accessible to everyone in Wisconsin. She outlines the process of building EV chargers into the state's existing infrastructure, as well as the roadblocks she’s faced in trying to do so. Eager to shake things up, she explained how she became GM’s first US dealer to implement EV chargers by saying “nobody remembers who got second in the Super Bowl”. She and Charlie talk about EV’s impact on climate change, the common concerns from consumers, and the future of the automotive industry. To contact Mary Jo, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on socials @maryjowheeler or for more information, head to https://www.wheelersgm.com/. Find us on all social media @cripescast, tour dates at cripescast.com/tour, and our merch at cripescast.com. For behind the scenes, extended cuts and deleted scenes go to patreon.com/charlieberens.
Episode 157 - Chad Daniels
Chad Daniels made history as the first and only skateboard paperboy known to man. With his six comedy albums reaching over a billion streams, he’s had a successful stand-up career, all while staying in the land of 10,000 lakes. Growing up in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Chad talks about the small-town rumor mill and how he proudly holds his bad-boy reputation, even though it’s not true. He and Charlie partake in the classic Minnesota vs. Wisconsin debates like casserole vs. hotdish, soda vs. pop, and which state has more lakes. Chad also explains his tube-pulling philosophy, which is to knock his kids off as soon as he can.
Episode 156 - Damian Buchman
Damian Buchman has defied one in a million odds not once but twice in his life. Diagnosed with a rare bone cancer at 13 years old and having endured 28 knee surgeries since, he embodies what it means to have grit and tenacity. Knowing what it feels like to have to sit out because of a disability, Damian’s life work has been dedicated to creating spaces that are accessible to all. He and Charlie talk about his work with the Ability Center in Milwaukee, including the plans for a multi-million dollar Universal Park to be built in Wauwatosa. Damian explains that “people aren’t used to following their dreams, mostly because we’re stomped down by someone who lost theirs,” and encourages everyone to block out the doubters and follow their dreams. For more information about Damian’s story, check out his website at damianbuchman.com and follow him on all platforms @damianbspeaks. Check out the Ability Center at tacwi.org. https://open.spotify.com/episode/70YYV2VRY1A7hmeBD0FsLF?si=9a95eef2507948ec
Episode 155 - Hannah Berner
Having dated not just one, but two Bucky Badgers during her time at UW-Madison, Hannah Berner begrudgingly identifies herself as a furry chaser on this episode of the Cripescast. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she talks about the culture shock she experienced when coming to Wisconsin, including being introduced to cheese curds and duck hunting. She shares stories from her time as a D1 athlete, how she used to sneak into the KK through the kitchen, and the time she was hit by a car on the way to tennis practice. Going down a rabbit hole of technology conspiracy theories, she explains that while she doesn’t trust AirPods she’s okay with the government watching her through her computer camera. Charlie has Hannah play a game where she compares the Midwest and the East Coast with topics including bagels, beer, manners and men.