Carlos Mencia annoys me. Truth be told, it has been a minute since I’ve bothered to tune into “Mind of Mencia” on Comedy Central. I did, however catch his special last year, “No Strings Attached,” when a thought crossed my mind: This guy fucking sucks! His race humor is not all that creative as he’s just loud and obnoxious with traditional stereotypes. When people in the audience don’t laugh, he says to them, “I see you guys out there that are afraid to laugh, Don’t get all offended!” It’s not that Carlos! If they’re like me, they’re not laughing because they are offended, it’s because you fucking SUCK!
What also annoys me is the narrow framing of the debate about this unfunny asshat. Basically, if you don’t find the guy to be a funny or entertaining comedian, then it’s because your PC ass cheeks are so tightly clenched that you can crack walnuts with ’em. That plays into the dichotomy that Carlos Mencia depends on. In my personal case, my favorite comedian of all time is George Carlin so we can throw that argument right out the window! Anyone who has been to a George Carlin show, as I have, knows that vulgarity and non-politically correct humor rules the day. The difference between a comedian like George Carlin, or Dave Chapelle and Carlos Mencia is that the latter lacks creativity in his exaggerations! The jokes that Mencia tells lack provocative elements.
This week’s edition of Gustavo Arellano’s Ask A Mexican column in the OC Weekly entertained a question about how Mexicans feel about Carlos Mencia. The Mexican metered out an even-handed response when answering the question.
Only highfalutin’ Mexicans get offended by Menstealia’s abrasive, occasionally funny routine. You can slam the half-Mexican, half-Honduran for his politically incorrect approach, but then you’re walking into his trap—and that’s what makes Menstealia a wabby genius. A comedian’s raison d’être is to agitate and entertain—nothing more, nothing less. Menstealia succeeds brilliantly—ratings for Comedy Central’s Mind of Mencia remain high, and I’ve already called him Menstealia four times and will do it once more. Carlos has the potential to become a political jester à la Chappelle or Pryor—in an interview I did with him for Latina magazine, Menstealia said our illegal-immigration problem “will take care of itself. . . . We had the same thing with the micks and wops and guineas”—but he’s currently happy playing the screaming fool, not César Chávez. Let the pendejo mug, I say—if you don’t like him and want gentle, polite Latino laughs, tune into Ugly Betty.
To be certain, there are some wholesome folks who can’t stand Mencia because they get easily offended by his or any other abrasive comedian’s routine. And yeah, for those folks, Ugly Betty or some other form of milktoast comedy is a nice alternative. But for non-PC folks who can take a vulgar stand-up act, where does the argument lie in Carlos Mencia’s wackness?
I personally don’t really give a shit whether or not “Menstealia” jacks jokes. In fact, it serves my disdain better if he didn’t because then, responsibility for their lack of humor lies squarely with him. I don’t care if he is being credited with brining “beaner” back either. Actually, has he? I don’t usually hear “beaner” thrown around that much. As for his shtick for stereotypes? They aren’t any kind of antidote for a PC language police culture. They aren’t creative enough and aren’t provocative in any sense of getting to the root of PC hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of PC is that while people in certain circumstances (media, school, workplace, etc) will be formalized to use proper terms, what good does it do, for example to have an employer call me, or check off a box saying “Latino” while treating me like a “dirty Mexican?” Actions, and structure count more than words in my book.
I think that Mencia’s popularity is in part based on not challenging the real, important and supremacist structure of PC hypocrisy. Actually, it re-enforces it! I don’t get any sense of creative and dynamic re-appropriation of stereotypes or racial epithets from Mencia’s act, do you? For people of color who have endured the lack of respect from this society in the form of racial epithets and stereotypes, comedy can not only be an escape, but a vehicle of protest. It can be cathartic if done right. When you think of all the bullshit we put up with, we could damn sure use a laugh, right? The right kind of laugh…
White privilege can afford a chuckle or two about not being able to dance worth a shit, etc. To the racist and privileged, at the end of the night at a comedy club, the joke is still very much on minorities. Mencia is actually a safe comedian for the most part in that regard. Though he claims to be an “equal opportunity offender,” he lacks the necessary provocative orientation, and is not funny enough to really be dangerous in any real sense. (That’s why he constantly has to defend his jokes in his routine!) He’s a brown face tossing out stale stereotypes without any real creativity. If you watch some of his routines, you’ll find some purely reactionary rants that don’t serve our interests. He is to comedy what Alberto Gonzales is to politics. (mostly) And hell, he could still be that, and be funny in some purely comedic sense, but the guy just isn’t funny!
The end of the Chapelle Show not only left us without Dave Chapelle’s great race humor and skits. Unfortunately, the void left in his wake has been filled by a Mindless Menso.