Bernie McGrenahan performs 'Comedy with a Message' for Team Beale
By Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 15, 2015
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --
Comedian Bernie McGrenahan entertained Airmen with his performance, "Comedy with a Message," June 12, 2015, at Beale Air Force Base, California.
"This comedy tour is to entertain the men and women in uniform and also thank them for their service," McGrenahan said. "The message I leave with them is; safety, risk reduction, and resiliency."
McGrenahan began the "Comedy with a Message" tour in 1995 as way to engage college students. He entertained them while sharing his experiences overcoming addiction. He was able to reach out to more than 400 colleges in a 12 year span. In 2007, he started to provide his comedy and testimony to the Armed Forces. Since then, he has visited more than 300 military installations.
"I thought his performance was excellent," said Lt. Col. Ross Franquemont, 9th Reconnaissance Wing chief of safety. "He had just the right mix of comedy and heart-felt life lessons learned. The transition was smooth and I really think that everyone in attendance took something away from the show."
McGrenahan spoke about his alcohol addiction, which started early in his high school years, and how it began to lead to more issues over time. He received his first driving-under-the-influence charge at the age of 18. A year later, he was arrested for DUI a second time.
"I eventually lost my job and didn't find another one; nobody wanted to hire me," McGrenahan said. "The mistakes you make in life limit your chance of success. I lost my apartment, I couldn't pay my bills, and I moved back home with my mother."
McGrenahan received his third DUI a few years afterward. The judge in his case sentenced him to six months in a county jail. He hasn't had an alcoholic beverage since.
"I created 'Comedy with a Message,' so you all could receive my testimony and a lesson in safety using comedy," McGrenahan said. "I hope you all could take my message to heart... and be safe in any activities you do."
Team Beale was able to hear other stories of McGrenahan's past, which included; his childhood with his three siblings, a brother's suicide, a brother's disability, and his life now, alcohol free.
"I put myself in his shoes and tried to imagine how those situations would have affected me," Franquemont said. "It's an important part of being truly introspective on your own life and your own choices. Those choices have far reaching consequences, which affect you, your family, and friends."