July 16, 2005


Comedy Central looks to Mencia (LOLA OGUNNAIKE, 7/16/05, New York Times News Service

Just because my name is Carlos Mencia, don't think my show is going to be about the difference between Mexicans and white people,'' the veteran comedian Carlos Mencia said one recent morning as he made his way to work in Los Angeles.

No, Mencia's new Comedy Central series, ''Mind of Mencia,'' is not just about such differences. Unlike the comedians Paul Rodriguez or George Lopez, Mencia, an East Los Angeles-bred comic, mines more than his roots for laughs. During his brash half-hour show, which debuted Wednesday evening, Mencia, 37, goes after blacks, whites and several other groups in the ethnic rainbow. Parodying a popular Snickers commercial, he plays a man trapped in a cave that's being bombed. ''Not going anywhere for a while?'' a voice-over asks, as Mencia, dressed in a turban, takes a bite of a chocolate bar.

Mencia's frat boy-friendly show comes at a time when Comedy Central is trying both to recover from the recent disappearance of the comedian Dave Chappelle and to widen its audience with a handful of new shows. [...]

In the opening monologue on Wednesday night's show Mencia joked that Middle Eastern people stopped at airport security checkpoints have gotten off relatively easy compared with the trials that other minorities in America have had to endure. Mencia, who has an intense delivery style reminiscent of Samuel L. Jackson's, remained unapologetic when asked if his material was too harsh on those of Middle Eastern descent, potentially fanning the embers of intolerance.

''If the worst thing happening to Middle Eastern people is that Carlos Mencia is doing a joke about them being stopped at airports, that's a pretty awesome state of affairs,'' he said. ''When's the last time you heard about a Middle Eastern person being beaten to death?''

Naturally, Mencia's unabashedly un-PC humor has already earned him comparisons to the racially charged work of Chappelle, who in April made like a runaway bride and bolted, just weeks before his hit show was due to return for a third season.

Being called a Latin Dave Chappelle does not bother Mencia, he said: ''Last year Dave Chappelle was voted the funniest man in America, and if I'm being compared to him, then I'm a blessed human being. I'm glad they're not comparing me to Gary Shteckle. Nobody knows who that guy is.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2005 12:35 PM

Rent the DVD of his show. Funny as heck and he tells it like it is.

Posted by: Scott at July 16, 2005 12:47 PM

Rent the DVD of his show. Funny as heck and he tells it like it is.
DVD titled: Mind of Mencia

Posted by: Scott at July 16, 2005 12:47 PM

Just as Univision, Galavision and Telemoundo can air shows with el babes fabuloso without incurring the wrath of the PC crowd, due to their own fears of being labeled racist if their protest, minority non-PC comedians have a chance to go after their targets with far more leeway because of what those normally in love with political correctness fear will happen to them if they censor someone like Mencia (you apparently have to do something like Todd Lynn with The Tsunami Song to get yourself in really hot water).

Posted by: John at July 16, 2005 7:44 PM

Now I want to know who Gary Shteckle is.

Posted by: Twn at July 17, 2005 12:17 PM