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Top Comedian
Returns to Sam Houston State

Bernie McGrenahan

Bernie McGrenahan didn't have to take an awareness class or even scan through countless reading material to understand what alcohol can do to a person's life. Unfortunately, he had to find out the hard way.

McGrenahan, a professional comedian for 11 years, lost his brother due to alcohol and almost lost his own from it, too.

Now clean and sober for 13 years, he is traveling all over the country presenting "Beware of the Binge," an alcohol awareness program that blends his comedy skills with a powerful message about the binge drinking crisis that confronts students today on America's college campuses.

Thanks to various campus sponsors, students at Sam Houston State University will be able to hear his message when he gives a must-see performance this Sunday, July 29, at the fifth and final freshman orientation session.

McGrenahan has already performed at several Sam Houston State functions this year, including all four orientation sessions so far this summer. In fact, McGrenahan has just canceled one of his U.S.O tours to come back and try to reach youngsters at SHSU.

"Bernie is one of the most amazing people I have met," said Amber Van Roekel, student activities program coordinator. "He has a way with people and such a passion for what he does."

When Bernie was 22, his younger brother Scott, committed suicide as a result of his bout with alcohol, substance abuse and depression. The tragedy of losing his brother accumulated in Bernie's own addiction to alcohol that resulted in three D.U.I. charges in a four-year span.

He was then sentenced to serve six months in a Los Angeles county jail. Finally, he woke up and realized he did not need alcohol to have a great and successful life. He is teaching kids that they do not need it, either.

McGrenehan usually opens his performance with 45 minutes of stand up comedy, developing a trust and rapport with the students, then closes with a heart wrenching true-life story of his personal and emotional battle with binge drinking.

"Bernie is so hilarious but also has a great message to share," said Tiffany Nichols, program council president. "He is able to get onto the students' level and then not sound so preachy when he relays his message."

"Bernie brings a real issue to the table but in a way that college students can understand and relate to," Sam Houston State student Quincy King said.

Professional television and print journalists across America have been tracking McGrenahan's effort to confront and reduce the alcohol problem on today's college campus.

If you ask anyone at SHSU that has seen him give his performance, they'll tell you he is a special person.

"Bernie does well letting the incoming students know that they are in college now and treats them like adults in what he is saying and that they are responsible for their own behavior," said Jay McCormick, graduate assistant in the department of student activities.

McGrenahan will be on stage at 9 p.m. in the Killinger Auditorium in the Criminal Justice Center. For more information on "Beware of the Binge," visit the comedian's website at Or, you can come out and see for yourself.

"He has a message to get out to young people and uses his gift of comedy to help him," Roekel said.

Judging from his popularity at Sam Houston State, he doesn't do a bad job.

The following sponsors made it possible for McGrenahan to return to SHSU:

  • Department of Student Activities

  • SAM C.A.R.E.S.

  • Lowman Student Center

  • Counseling and Disability Services

  • Barnes and Noble University Bookstore

  • Interfraternity Council

  • Office of the Vice President for Student Services

    - END -

    SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
    July 27, 2001
    Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

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