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Chronicle Exclusive: Picking Carlos Mencia’s “mind”
Comedy Central comic Carlos Mencia isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Viewers of his weekly series “Mind of Mencia” (Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m.) have heard his take on everything from race relations to pop culture icons in his stand-up routine. Now, he’s taking his routine on the road, and will make a stop at Quinnipiac on Friday night as part of the university’s May Weekend celebration. Mencia gave The Chronicle a ring to chat about his plans to bring laughter to campus.
The Chronicle: We’re so excited to welcome you to Quinnipiac Friday night! Have you ever been to the area before?
Mencia: Actually, I was at the University of Connecticut about a month ago. It was really fun, because it was an amazing reception-I was surprised and overwhelmed. I’ve been in the business for years, but it almost felt like starting over again.
The Chronicle: You’ve been referred to as an “observational comedian.” What kinds of current pop culture observations will you treat the QU audience to?
Mencia: I’m sure Katie Holmes’ baby and Nick and Jessica (will make it in there). I’m doing a Q & A session after the show, so if I didn’t cover a subject, I can cover it then. It’s truly an open forum. I look forward to that. It’s a great part of the college shows for me.
The Chronicle: What is it about your comedy that you feel strikes a chord with college audiences?
Mencia: The whole discovery phase of life and the “real-ness” of it (is attractive). So much of what we see and hear in our daily lives is just filtered through this “be politically correct, don’t hurt anybody’s feelings” (filter) and I think it’s refreshing to have a voice out there that echoes a lot of their sentiments. I think, especially when you hit college, there are so many races and ethnicities, and you’re supposed to (not offend people), then there’s a guy (like me) who comes on and says “Listen, black people like fried chicken, Hispanic people like burritos and rice and beans, white people like macaroni and cheese.” Is that a problem, though? Everybody laughs and says “you’re right!”
The Chronicle: On your show, it seems you often say things viewers are thinking but afraid to say.
Mencia: We do and say things that are funny and relevant, but the one thing we don’t do is censor ourselves. Inevitably we make fun of everybody, so just deal with it. I know it sounds like I’m trying to sell the show-which I’m not-but if you watch five episodes of the show, you’ll see that we’re not targeting anybody.
The Chronicle: You have been called an “equal opportunity offender.”
Mencia: We’re more about equal opportunity (inclusion). We don’t ignore anybody. That’s our motto. If you’re in a wheelchair, we will eventually do a wheelchair joke so you see yourself in our show. People who are politically correct will say we should treat everybody with respect and shouldn’t joke, but at the end of the day, I don’t think there is not a race, color or ethnicity we have not given a job to and reflected on our show. Whether you think they’re reflected as positive or negative, that’s your opinion.
The Chronicle: You are 17th in a family of 18 children. Do you find yourself including your family members in your act?
Mencia: All the time. I feel sorry for my family, because no one is safe. Not my mother, my sisters, my personal assistant, my best friend. I’m the worst person to tell secrets to, because you’ll watch my act and I’ll be like “my best friend just told me.” I feel bad, but if I see or hear something funny, I just want to share it.
The Chronicle: We look forward to hearing your material this weekend.
Mencia: I’m not one of those people with an entourage. I’ll be available before or after the show for people to say hi and sign autographs.