If you haven't listened to Marc Maron's interview with Carlos Mencia that went online on Monday on Maron's WTF podcast, then you can just skip ahead to today's second part, because it's much more revealing. Maron himself felt that his first chat with Mencia hadn't really uncovered much, so he reached out to Willie Barcena and Steve Trevino, then texted Mencia and said he needed a follow-up discussion. That happened quickly.
Their conversation goes for a while, and Mencia's emotional state veers between defensive and contrite. At one point, he even acknowledges that comedians and the comedy world would love nothing more than to hear him apologize. And then much later, at the end of their chat, Mencia indeed apologizes, and tells Maron that he had "never been confronted like this about why I go onstage like this for so long."
Mencia said: "I don't want to be that person anymore."
He's talking specifically about bumping headliners at comedy clubs. But then he's also talking about being the comedian that everyone thinks is a lying, cheating asshole. It's become a "ridiculous" situation, Mencia said. So his message to people who think he's taking a joke of theirs that they think will take them to the next level? "Call me, and I'll drop it."
"I guess I really do want to be perceived as a nice guy."
To that end, Mencia even has been acknowledging the @replies heading his way on Twitter @carlosmencia and offering replies of his own. And he promoted the first part of his WTF podcast interview on Monday, knowing full well that the second part would be hitting the Internet now.
I don't know how it will affect your perception of Carlos Mencia, or Ned Holness for that matter, as a comedian or as a person. For me, it's refreshing to hear him finally confront the situation and attempt to address it in an honest fashion. Hopefully moving forward, Mencia can find peace not only offstage with other comedians, but also onstage with himself.
Marc Maron sat down recently with Carlos Mencia and tried to figure out what makes Mencia tick, as well as what has made Mencia tick off so many other comedians. Turns out one installment of Maron's WTF podcast would not be enough, as (spoiler alert) Maron decides at the end that he needs to follow-up with some additional questions. So look for that later this week. Listen to part one of Marc Maron and Carlos Mencia on WTF here.
In the meantime, here is the sketch that Mencia referred to early in his conversation with Maron -- Mencia said it's exactly what you think it would be, a spoof on infomercials that's promoting an "Americanizer kit" for illegal immigrants to fit in and not be outed by Arizona's law enforcement. Roll the clip!
Comedians love to point out the absurdities in the world around us, and mock celebrities, politicians and other powerful people who deserve to be brought down a notch or two or thirty-seven. But when comedians target other comedians for mockery, it always feels a little weird to me (and that's a little weird, too, isn't it?). Which brings us to CollegeHumor's new original video "Unfunny People," which is a take-off of Judd Apatow's summer movie, Funny People, but with jabs at prop comics instead of stand-ups, putting Gallagher and Carrot Top in their crosshairs (in the roles played in the movie by Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen):
Previously, CollegeHumor produced a music video called "Stop Carlos Mencia" featuring a number of working NYC-based comedians:
How many comedians have received personal invitations to contribute their one-liners to the massive Comedy Central Jokes.com database? I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that when Dan Bialek got his invite, he clicked over to the site and saw this (actually, Bialek was kind enough to omit the Harland Williams helmet strap joke out of this screengrab, which appeared below Carlos Mencia). I know, right? Right?!
Let's put aside the Mencia/Shaffir/Rogan incident for a moment. Because we all know that's a super-hack joke they put next to Mencia. And sandwiching Hicks between Mencia and The Amazing Johnathan...well...that is amazing. I can only suspect that the person in charge of swapping in and out the bits thought this would be really hilarious as an inside jokey joke. In fact, the Jokes.com lineup below today's featured video and "spotlight" now has Bill Hicks on top, followed by Patton Oswalt, Demetri Martin and Zach Galifianakis. Happy now, everybody?! (This is where I LOL on my insides)
In the three years and five months since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, many comedians have cracked jokes about Katrina and the city. You can Google it if you'd like a refresher. Several stand-ups mocked the naming process for hurricanes, or how the government failed to respond (heckuva job, Brownie, springs to mind), or even poked fun at some of the more colorful things Mayor Ray Nagin had said. But Carlos Mencia broke the easiest rule of thumb for comedians to follow after a massive tragedy: Never make fun of the victims. So New Orleans residents cried foul when the Krewe of Orpheus picked Mencia to be a performer and celebrity rider in this year's Mardi Gras parade, going so far as to suggest protesting or boycotting him during the parade, and Orpheus uninvited him late on Thursday. (Nola.com, Times-Picayune) Celebrities still on board this year include Joan Rivers, the Reno: 911 crew and Jim Belushi.
In a statement, Orpheus Captain Sonny Borey said the club became aware of "certain remarks Mr. Carlos Mencia has made in regards to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina," and "our krewe is very sensitive to the feelings of our community and the way our city is viewed." They had named Mencia as a celebrity parade performer barely a day earlier, not knowing about his New Orleans put-downs.
Mencia's defenders say this is about political correctness or the failure to take a joke, and point to his opening of a restaurant in New Orleans -- Sauve Latino Bar and Grill -- two months ago as a sign of his good faith. And his personal blog posts late in 2008 suggested a different guy offstage from the one who seized on his moment a few years ago to gain popularity onstage and TV by offending everyone.
Have you visited Jokes.com today? Comedy Central has revamped the site completely -- had you clicked over there even only yesterday, you would have faced a drab waste of a landscape of lame jokes, submitted anonymously from years ago, from a world in which all jokes are timeless, and yet somehow not able to be searched or indexed in any tangible way whatsoever. All of that is to say how bright and vibrant the new Comedy Central Jokes.com looks today. It'll take a while to sort through it all. For now, though, let me say that I clicked on a couple of sample comedians (Mike Birbiglia because I saw his face looking at me, and Carlos Mencia just to see what jokes Comedy Central would attribute to him!), and wonder if they paid someone to transcribe all stand-up comedy specials, CDs, and DVDs, and if so, how much one gets paid to do that (I'm available!).
Worth mentioning thus far: Why do Comedy Central sites often load a front page with auto-start videos? Not nice, Comedy Central. Particularly for those people who have jobs and are trying to see your funnies on the fly. Today's video features Dane Cook in all of his sweaty black wifebeater 2000 full physical glory. Also enjoyed how the comedians page on the site manages to promote not only Comedy Central's branded comedy tours and performers, but also up-and-comers such as my friends Dan Boulger and Joe List among the famous faces, podcasts, and tours.
Take a spin on the site and tell me your thoughts on the revamp!
One of my newspaper alma maters, the New York Daily News, devoted much of its Sunday features section to comedy, thanks in part to this week's New York Comedy Festival, but also to how much comedy has impacted politics this campaign season. There's a story from Caroline Waxler about how comedians might react to an Obama presidency, brief interviews with fest headliners Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan and Carlos Mencia, a profile roundup of the 11 finalists in the New York's Funniest Stand-Up contest, and a look-back at some quotes from Bernie Mac, who appears posthumously in the new movies Madagascar 2 and Soul Men.
The New York Comedy Festival today announced it has entered a multi-year partnership deal with Comedy Central, which means Caroline Hirsch's annual celebration of big-name comedy in the Big Apple now will get a bigger TV presence. The deal includes an annual Comedy Central special, and perhaps more. So the fifth New York Comedy Festival, running Nov. 5-9, 2008, in varied venues around Manhattan, unveils this early lineup:
11/5: Frank Caliendo, Carnegie Hall
11/5: “We Have a Winner” moderated by Lizz Winstead, 92nd Street Y
11/6: Louis C.K., They’re With Me, Town Hall
11/6: Katt Williams, Live In Concert, Carnegie Hall
11/7: Carlos Mencia: At Close Range, Avery Fisher Hall
11/7: An Evening with Craig Ferguson, Town Hall
11/7: Writers Speak! A Potentially Regrettable Evening with the Writers of The Daily Show, Paley Center
11/8: Tracy Morgan: Coming Back Home, Apollo Theater
11/8: Sarah Silverman and Friends, Hammerstein Ballroom
11/8: Joel McHale Live at Town Hall, Town Hall
11/8: Late Night with Conan O’Brien Writers’ Panel Discussion, Paley Center
11/9: Brian Regan Live in Concert, Avery Fisher Hall
11/9: B.J. Novak and Friends, Town Hall
Tickets start going on sale at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 7. They still have to release the names and special events happening during that week at Carolines. Plenty of big names, though, on the slate, including several repeat performers from last year. Louis CK rocked Town Hall last year, so already looking forward to that. We'll see how McHale and Novak handle the larger stage. Tracy Morgan plays the Apollo. Sarah Silverman moves from last year's Carnegie Hall to this year at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Carlos Mencia? The Late Night writers talk should be very interesting, coming as it does near the end of the road for some of them as the show prepares to move to California.
Comedy Central is celebrating the upcoming fourth season (fourth season!) of Mind of Mencia with an hourlong special this Sunday for Mr. Ned Holness, aka Carlos Mencia. Here are a few preview clips the network made available of Mencia's "orginal" and "unique" comedy stylings. The special, "Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced," debuts at 9 p.m. Sunday.
First up, Mencia "tells it like it is" about his feelings on Islamic roles for women vs. their control over men.
After the jump, two more clips.
Comedy Central has revealed its list of upcoming works and pilots under the modest heading: "The Future of Comedy."
Next year, prepare for a fantasy-comedy set in medieval times, "Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire," written by Peter Knight.
The pilots include projects by or featuring Snoop Dogg, Andy Richter, Daniel Tosh, David Alan Grier, Nick Swardson, Paul F. Tompkins, Opie & Anthony, Zach Galifianakis and A.D. Miles. Scripted development deals go out to Bobby Lee, Jordan Rubin, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter.
And there will be specials. John Oliver's "Terrifying Times" debuts April 20. Carlos Mencia's hourlong "Performance Enhanced" debuts May 18. Brian Regan's yet-untitled special will air in the third quarter of 2008.
Carlos Mencia’s “The Punisher” tour comes to Boston tonight for two shows at the Orpheum, where he’ll undoubtedly learn that in this town, “beaner” means something else entirely. The comedian formerly known as Ned Holness and I talked on the phone on Monday morning. His Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia, finished its second season this summer as the network’s second most-popular program, and will return for a third season early in 2007.
It was before 9 a.m. when the phone rang. Mencia was ready and rarin’ to start talking. “I’m wired,” he said. He tried watching the “Star Wars” trilogy (Eps. 4-6) and “Angel” but still couldn’t relax. “I was watching ‘Charmed,’ and I said I suck, watching ‘Charmed’ in the middle of the morning and paying attention to the storyline.” He kept getting distracted by Alyssa Milano. “Maybe because I remember her as a little girl, it makes me fell dirty.” OK. Let’s talk about something else. He just celebrated his 39th birthday on Oct. 22. How was that? His tour was in Dallas that night.
“My wife came out,” he said. “They stopped the show, came out with a cake, sang Happy Birthday, and my whole vibe was, you’re ruining the show! Get the f— off my stage! You’re building a set, you’ve got these peaks and valleys…and then, bababababa! What the f— are you guys doing to me! It was good besides that. I’m a great showman. So I just care about the show.”
Do you think your comedy will translate as well up in New England as it does in California and the Southwest? Do different crowds react differently? “I don’t think so. At this point, I’ve been through the Midwest and through the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t change. It really doesn’t. It’s not, I don’t know, it’s not ethnocentric in that way…I would’ve thought, like you, in Dallas, so many Latinos that it wouldn’t change the show.” But he added: “The diversity of my audience is so stunning now. It’s amazing. It’s beyond crossover. I’ve actually become a voice for white America. I’m stunned myself. It just seems no one wants to say the things that are on peoples’ minds, and it just seems to be resonating even more in the white communities than in the minority communities, which is really weird. From blacks and Hispanics, they’ve been saying ‘Tell it like it is, and thank you.’ But whites have been saying, ‘THANK YOU! We’ve been waiting to laugh at that for years’…it’s just this thing that’s been hitting home.”
He hasn’t been to Boston in quite some time. “At the Comedy Connection seven, eight years ago, maybe longer. It was a long time ago. It’s tough, though. It really is.” He explained: “When you’re at the level I was, before the TV show (Mind of Mencia)…you’re working 48 weeks a year, working hard, 50 weeks if you’re stupid like me. You go to a comedy club every six months, so you’re talking 25 clubs.” Which means his circuit skipped Boston for years.
“But I’m having fun. I’m having a lot of fun, because I’m doing something I haven’t done before. It feels good to be talking about something. As a minority comedian, quote unquote, it’s interesting to look at a time, to look around and see it’s not great to be a white American anymore…because you don’t have the same social rights as everyone else.” Color me curious. Go on. “Two black people who speak ebonics can go do the same joke and speak that way to each other, and not get sued. You make a white guy do that and he’s going to go to sensitivity training…whoa! And there’s a lot of stuff like that going on…It’s an interesting time, and I’m a part of that. I’m a part of talking about that.”
He contributed a short story to the new book, I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics, about a gig in which he feared he would’ve gotten shot by Snoop Dogg’s posse after a show, except for the fact that Shaq was in the audience and stuck up for him. Does he fear any crowds now that he’s famous? Not really. “Of the hate mail I get that I answer, they return going, I was just pissed off when I wrote that.”
What about the backlash from other comics? Joe Rogan, took on Mencia online last year. Rogan isn’t the only comic who doesn’t like Mencia’s brand of comedy. Instead of asking about Rogan specifically, I asked Mencia about why the few stand-ups who’ve gotten big in the wake of Dave Chappelle (Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy and Mencia) all have major backlash issues within the industry. “It’s no different from every other comic who’s made it successful,” Mencia maintained. “The comedians that comedians think are great are either dead or not very popular, or very old. People go, ‘Mitch Hedberg, man, he was the greatest ever.’ DEAD. Or ‘Richard Pryor was the greatest.’ DEAD. But it’s the same thing, when Chris Rock did his thing, he was blahblahblahed, and black comics said he sold out…It’s going to breed hate and contempt from comics because of the way we are. We are egocentric. It’s all me-me-me-me-me-me-me.”
He knows what other comics are saying about Larry the Cable Guy, “his fans are stupid and they talk about redneck s—.” And about himself: “He pretends he’s Mexican and the Mexicans don’t even like that. But he’s Honduran.”
Believe it or not, when I talk to Dane or talk to Larry, we don’t even talk about that stuff, because it’s so benign to us. It’s par for the course,” he said. “I’m not worried when other comics don’t like me. I’m worried when people don’t like me. I’m not worried when critics say your show sucks. I’m worried when people say your show sucks. They’re the ones who make your show. They’re the ones who pay to see you, who go to see your movies.”
Related: Carlos Mencia’s home page.