News: Happy Hour: Comedian’s message about drugs and alcohol
Story by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – Caffeine jitters or glazed-over eyes are often created by effects of hours of PowerPoint presentations. To spark interest on a very important topic, Cherry Point’s Naval Health Clinic brought in Bernie McGrenahan, a comedian and motivational speaker to deliver his message, “Happy Hour,” to Marines and Sailors about the dangers and risks of drug and alcohol abuse at the station theater, June 17-18.
“I hate the word lecture,” asserted McGrenahan, a Bronx, N.Y., native, who refers to himself as Uncle Bernie on stage. “My goal is to bring a comedy tour and also try to give a deeper message.”
McGrenahan’s appearance coincides with Right Spirit Month for the Navy.
“It’s a campaign that the Navy started in 1996 to help deglamourize the use of drugs and alcohol,” said Chief Petty Officer Eric J. Green, the drug and alcohol program advisor for Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point.
“Uncle Bernie experimented with Marijuana,” joked McGrenahan during his comedy routine. “For eight years.”
McGrenahan seamlessly transitioned from a standup comedy routine to his sincere, firsthand message.
“I know alcohol like a book,” he said with a grin, “And comedy … pretty well.”
McGrenahan is a recovering alcoholic and lost his brother to the effects of alcohol.
Cherry Point Marines and Sailors were nothing but eyes and ears through McGrenahan’s entire hour-long show.
“The trick is walking a fine line on the stage to get in the audiences’ head,” explained McGrenahan. “You have to get in their heart to make a change, and that’s what the program is all about.”
“I think if we can reach one Marine or Sailor, Bernie has been successful,” said Green.
McGrenahan has been presenting this program for more than 10 years and brought his work to the military two years ago.
“This is the first time we’ve had this,” said Green.
The idea was brought on by the Naval clinic commanding officer, Capt. Edgardo Perez-Lugo, after experiencing the show at his prior command.
McGrenahan’s drug and alcohol training was a different learning tactic for the Marines and Sailors in attendance.
“The story he had was really good,” said Pfc. Marvin R. Torres, a seat mechanic, with the Center for Naval and Aviation Technical Training. “It’s the best training I’ve had in regards to drugs and alcohol.”
Green said he hopes to see outside speakers with personal stories to tell come in more often.
McGrenahan’s sincerity and message are clear.
“Hopefully we’re influencing people to change their lives for the better.”
For more information about McGrenahan’s show, “Happy Hour,” visit http://www.comedyisthecure.com.