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Mindless Fun?

Not completely, as Carlos Mencia proves in live outing in Atlantic City.

On recent viewings, Carlos Mencia’s “Mind of Mencia” show, now in its third season, seemed to have run out of ideas, going only for crude and crass sketches, and mostly simple-minded material, but his two-hour-plus live show (three hours with opening acts added in) seen at the Borgata in Atlantic City on September 2, gives a fuller dimension to his humor.

Mencia frames a lot of his takes on race and politics with hypothetical questions he supposedly gets asked by those who might not get his point of view, and this device gets a little shopworn -- are people really questioning what’s basically a “can’t we all just get along” philosophy? But when Mencia lands his shots at political correctness, it’s great to behold.

A 20 or 30 minute counter-intuitive monologue about Hurricane Katrina that Mencia gave in the show is a perfect example of his ability to burst the political correctness bubble about who exactly a victim is. For instance, Mencia recalls the photos of backed-up freeways trying to get out of town, with no traffic on the normal incoming lanes -- “It might be time to drop that structure, people.” And he defies the conventional wisdom that New Orleans should be rebuilt right where it was -- that might have been fine before people knew where sea level was and about flooding, but when you look at it objectively, makes no sense.

Mencia’s act is certainly not a soapbox, though. He does a lot about life and sex, not just race, such as his ideas about how parents now baby their kids too much, and how it’s women who really love to call other women “hos.” In fact, in Mencia’s flawless logic, if a ho is really more about the money than love, that means a woman isn’t actually a ho for putting out on the first date. It’s the ones that brag about making a guy take them out three or four times and give them all sorts of presents that are the real hos. It actually makes a kind of sense when you think about it. … “Some of the guys in the audience are just realizing something,” Mencia laughed.

Taking it even further, Mencia had with him Brad Williams, the dwarf who appears on “Mind of Mencia” and did one of the opening stand-up sets. To demonstrate the ignorance of types of dwarfism, Mencia explained that Williams has achondroplasia, which means he has a normal size torso but short limbs. And what’s the drawback of that? Not being able to jerk off standing up, of course, as Williams demonstrated, or you could say failed to demonstrate. Education through humor, Mencia says.

Also to his credit, Mencia passed on the usual practice for star comedians playing casinos of doing two shows a night to earn more money, instead playing one long show so that he could really stretch and give his audience more, as he alluded to during the show. He had played two shows at the Borgata on Labor Day weekend in 2006, he noted, and made the change this year. He’s also planning to make Labor Day in A.C. a regular performance each year.

There has been a lot of carping among other comedians or comedic performers about “Mind of Mencia” being a dumb show, but Mencia’s live performance shows there’s a little bit more to him, and some shred of intelligence -- OK, maybe it’s just a small shred -- underlying his humor. Regardless, Mencia really is a genuine guy, and gives his all in entertaining an audience.

  

   

     

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