Comedian shares jokes, alcohol abuse message
September 25, 2006 —
Laughter filled the Multi-Purpose Room Thursday night as comedian Bernie McGrenahan kicked off the Homecoming events with his Happy Hour Comedy routine.
McGrenahan began right away, poking fun at Britney Spears, Flava Flav, and other bits of pop culture. He also gave students advice on how to torture roommates and teachers.
Drugs and alcohol were also incorporated into his show. He made fun of his own poor choices he made in the past, and told the audience "Ozzy Osbourne is what happens when drugs don't kill people."
For the second portion of Happy Hour, McGrenahan began to tell his inspirational story.
Before he began drinking in eighth grade, he had little worries. His grades were straight A's and his life seemed on track. By his senior year in high school, however, McGrenahan was on a downward spiral due to late nights of partying.
"There's a direct correlation with how much we party and how our grades are going to turn out," he said.
By McGrenahan's senior year in high school, his grades were at a D average and he was sitting on the bench at his baseball games.
After dropping out of college, he moved back home and started partying, drinking, and doing drugs with his younger brother Scott.
At age 22, McGrenahan caught Scott stealing money from their mother in order to buy beer. McGrenahan confronted his brother, causing an argument between the two. Scott told McGrenahan to mind his own business, so McGrenahan went to the bar. When he came home an hour later, Scott was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"Alcohol only took away from my life every time I drank," McGrenahan said.
After getting three DUIs, he spent six months in jail. He reminded the crowd that not one of his drinking friends came to visit him while he was there. However, his mother did, and he promised her he would stop his devastating lifestyle. He has kept that promise, and last January marked his 18th year of being completely sober.
"I don't think we treat alcohol as a drug," he said. "Students are dying all across the country from alcohol poisoning."
McGrenahan has been speaking to students and touring now for ten years with many acts, including Tony Danza and Matchbox 20.
"Happy Hour's not a lecture," he said, "just a friend talking to another friend, a group talking to another group. I don't preach to students. I just talk about my experience and my hope. I'm not a victim. I'm a survivor."
Tony Thomson, director of the Student Counseling Center, was satisfied with how the evening panned out. He had arranged for McGrenahan to visit after being given a copy of his comedy DVD and loving it.
"We wanted to have a positive message but do it in a fun way," Thomson said.
To learn more about McGrenahan's life and tour, visit his Web site at happyhourcomedy.com.