Carlos Mencia claims to be a compassionate comedian. "If somebody trips in front of me, my immediate reaction is, 'Hey, man, are you okay?' '' he says. "But if that person says, 'I'm fine,' that's when I start laughing my ass off, at how funny it looked when the guy fell."
But don't expect Mencia to ask if you're okay when he's on stage. There, the Hispanic humorist spews blisteringly profane but hysterically funny rants on political correctness, racism, politics and cultural hypocrisy with a style that would make Dennis Miller run for the hills.
"I really get excited about my humor because I don't sit down and write jokes like a lot of comedians do," Mencia explains. "I'm walking around everyday life, and I see things. Then I go on stage and talk about 'em and make 'em funny." He says this so serenely you'd never guess these everyday "things" get him so worked up that he seems one enraged expletive away from popping a blood vessel in his eye.
Born in Honduras and raised in Los Angeles, Mencia (whose first name is actually Ned) began experimenting with stand-up while studying electrical engineering at Cal State-Los Angeles and working at a Farmers Insurance agency. Three minutes into his first routine at the Laugh Factory's amateur night, he admitted to the audience that he had run out of material and walked off stage. The crowd went wild.
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Since then Mencia has been spotlighted twice in HBO's Comedy Half Hour and in clubs across the country. Later this year he'll release English and Spanish versions of his first comedy album, Just Laugh. The title doubles as the comic's motto. Mencia, who once dubbed himself an "equal-opportunity offender," believes that everything is an open target for his no-holds-barred version of good old-fashioned joshing.
"If you come to the show, and I do a joke about you," he says, "eventually I'll get to somebody else. And if I'm making fun of everybody else, eventually I'm gonna get to you. And that's my way of saying I love everybody."
Carlos Mencia performs with Paul Rodriguez and George Lopez as a part of The Three Amigos Tour Saturday, August 7, at the Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. Shows start at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $44 and $39. For information, call (713)629-3700 or (713)988-1020.
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