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Inside the Mencia Mind

Little-known comedian holds back nothing and scores an outrageous TV success

Carlos Mencia brings to his Comedy Central show “Mind of Mencia,” already in the middle of its first season, an aggressive attitude that puts his material in all its forms over the top.

In a 30-minute program, Mencia gets to showcase longer portions of his stand-up than usually are done in a show of this length. He has a wide open stage surrounded by the studio audience that allows him to pace and roam, and unleash the energy of his act. Mencia uses a similar tone to Bernie Mac’s standup when, for example, he marvels at the intelligence of a little girl who knew the warning signs of the tsunami in Southeast Asia and saved several hundred people by getting them to higher ground. But that’s just common sense to Mencia -- to him, the real issues is that all the adults are dumb for not figuring it out.

“When that water goes out really really far, says Mencia, lowering into a baritone and rolling his eyes, “you have to remember -- the tide goes out, the tide comes in -- of course it’s going to come back in that far.”

When Mencia does the type of filmed bits and prop jokes that are used as staples by Jay Leno and others, he adds an extra edge. Hosting a fashion show for his “Sean Juan” label, Mencia introduces items like sandals with switchblades and pants with a metal rod to force white people to walk with a pimp-like swagger, going beyond the p.c. constraints for this type of bit that are found on the mainstream networks.

Outside his studio Mencia hectors people on the streets during the day, wondering why they aren’t at work and telling them to get a job. Some who Mencia encounters tell him they won’t take certain jobs of high status or low, ranging from surgeon to plumber. But one such slacker Mencia finds is willing to do one thing -- be a phone-sex operator, and in a great found moment, “Todd the Rod” is born.

In another sketch, Mencia hijacks a children’s show in his own animal character costume, with his own songs for the kids, cautioning young girls if they don’t stay in school, they will end up as strippers.

Finally, it can be said that “Mind of Mencia” with its lead performer who seemingly came from out of nowhere, stays original and never pulls its punches, and therefore never ceases being outrageous and funny at the same time.











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