Mencia Club

Race and culture with a side of beans

As a (non-Hindu) Indian, a small part of me agrees -- the part of me that gets stares at the airport. I'm tempted to ask the Indian men sitting a few tables away, who're still watching us, puzzled, if they agree, too. After all, it's a sentiment that rings throughout the Indian community, though few would publicly admit it. Mencia, who has Indian friends, has picked up on it and relayed it on a comedic -- albeit elementary -- level.

"Then it's white people," says Mencia. "White people aren't allowed to be human anymore. White people are only allowed to be white. If you're white and you do a black joke, you're a racist. If you laugh at the joke, you're a racist. If you say, 'I'm proud to be white,' people are like, 'Oh, so you hate niggers?' It's like, 'No! No! I'm just proud to be me.' "

We start talking about creating a white organization that's "just okay" with being white. "Not proud to be white, but okay with it," he adds. Mencia loves it and swears it'll be on his show as a "cold open" or at the end of one of his monologues. "You've just witnessed how a piece is born on the show," he tells me.

Carlos, did you just say "beaner" at Ninfa's?
Steven Devadanam
Carlos, did you just say "beaner" at Ninfa's?

Next on the totem pole are "Middle Eastern and Arabic people, for obvious reasons." So who, according to Mencia, has it the easiest?

"The Asians." I look around, hoping to find some, but the Asian couple I saw earlier has left. "Honestly, the kind of shit they go through is inconsequential. It's like, 'Oh, they have little dicks and are good at math.' "

In Mencia's mind, he's bringing society together by making fun of a particular segment. Then another. And another. It's a comic staple: Drop bombs, then sit back and watch dissimilar people leap to each other's defense. He offers a parallel. Dissing America is like dissing Houston:

"If I go to Montrose, and I'm like, 'Dude, what the fuck, what's with the gay guys and the transvestites?' You'd be like, 'Dude, yeah, it's cool. This is where most of them live. And there are some great restaurants and cool things here.' And I'd think to myself, 'Okay, the people who live here have accepted that this is that neighborhood, and that's cool.'

"Then you drive a block from there, and you hit the nice homes. And they say, 'This is where the nice homes are. The president lives here. But they're stuck-up and stuffy.' Then you go by the wards, and they say, 'This is where the black people are, and here's where the Mexicans are, here's where Fiesta is. But we're all different, man, different parts of town.' Then you got the people in the suburbs, who're like, 'Fuck the city, man, that place is weird. Gays, Mexicans, it's crazy. I live 30 minutes from there.' It's all division."

A catchy Mexican pop tune throbs in the background as the chatter from the cross-section of a hundred diverse diners fills the air. Mencia leans in. "So let's say I come in at a show, and I say, 'You know what, Houston? Your city is a shit hole.' Everyone in the room will bust out. The Mexican guy, the black guy, the rich white guy from River Oaks, they'll all be like, 'Fuck you, man, you don't know our town!' And I'll be like, 'Well, among all that bullshit, it looks like there's a thread that connects everyone.' " He sits back in his chair, doing the epiphany face again.

That's Carlos Mencia: the thread that connects our bullshit.

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