Interview with Comedian Carlos Mencia
Mencia Will Perform in San Diego March 19th and 20th!
Comedian Carlos Mencia comes to San Diego
The American Comedy Club in San Diego is about to be invaded by Carlos Mencia, and we could not be more excited. Mencia's take-no-prisoners, nothing-is-off-limits style of comedy is welcome in a world where the phrase "politically correct" is uttered on every major news network at least once a day. We were lucky enough to speak with Mencia about his upcoming show, his comedic musings, and his opinion of a world where PC has gone mad. Fair warning, just like in Mencia's stand-up routines, explicit language is used. If you're easily offended by the occasional F-bomb, then this interview (and Mencia himself), is not for you. For everyone else, get ready for a deep dive into Mencia's mind!
What can you tell me about the writing process? What inspires your material?
It’s about feeling the pulse of the nation and trying to find a comedic joke or conversation, if you will, [that] people really are uncomfortable taking about. So instead of talking about it, we’re going to make it funny. I think of a premise and go onstage and talk about it. Onstage, I let all of it out and say whatever I think is funny. Then it has to pass the test of “is this something that is going to stay in my act for long periods of time, or is this something that is going to exist for a weekend or two?” And if it’s only going to exist for a weekend of two, then I just do what I think is the funniest—no growth, no editing—for a couple of weeks. If it does feel like something that has more of an emotional hook, more staying power, then I never stop working on it, I never stop tweaking it. Those [jokes] don’t go away until I do a special. Once I do a special, the jokes go away.
My shows are all completely different. Now, some of the material might be the same, but the shows will be completely different. How I get into them, how I get out of them… It’s always an evolving thing, every single night. It keeps me fresh.
So then you don’t necessarily have your show finalized for when you come to San Diego?
Oh, god no! If you and I were talking literally seconds before they introduced me, I wouldn’t know what I was going to do. Every once in awhile, I’ll say to my friends “give me a topic that I can weave into the show tonight. Challenge me.”
Switching gears, the world has become very politically correct in the last few years. How has that impacted your comedy style?
Not [at all], whatsoever. For me, it’s not about being politically correct; it’s about being overly sensitive. It’s affected my shows in the sense that I now start all my shows by saying, “Hey, listen, don’t get offended by anything I say. This is a comedy show, we’re here to laugh. Nobody’s going to get hurt.”
I believe that context is such a relevant part of a conversation. I don’t let people’s problems and issues with their own stupidity, ignorance, hatred, or whatever, impact my show… This oversensitivity is bad. When I go up on stage, I don’t coddle my audience. I want them to experience an amazing show with real language and real life situations so that at the end of the show, you can walk away going “Oh my god, we laughed our asses off and nobody got hurt.”
A lot of comedians nowadays won’t play college campuses because so many college students are such staunch believers of pushing political correctness. Do you have such reservations?
No, I love it, man! I love it because I lived in that environment, and now I don’t. The idealism of it is beautiful, but I love going to universities and popping that little bubble and saying, “When you leave here, it’s not going to be like this. There’s not going to be the organization of African Americans, of Mexicans, of Puerto Ricans, of Latinos.” It’s going to be the real world, and it’s going to be people fending for themselves.
I also love saying things that they think are going to kill somebody, and then they don’t. Or making a gay joke, and the [politically correct] students are like “Hey!” but the gay guy is laughing his ass off because the essence of truth in that joke is so real. That, to me, expands the mind. So personally, I love going to universities.
How do you deal with the inevitable backlash?
You know what’s interesting? I rarely get backlash anymore. I’m really good at what I do now. It’s not antagonistic in nature.
One thing that’s changed drastically since the start of your career is the growth of social media. Do you think that helps or hurts comedians?
Both. It has helped in the sense that when I was young, I needed somebody to okay me. I needed the president of ABC, NBC, CBS to say “Okay, we want to give you a chance.” We have, today, Youtube sensations—people that have two million loyal followers watching their stuff. [Nowadays], you have your own network. You have your own Youtube channel; you can put out whatever you want.
That’s the good side of it. The bad side of it is that everybody on the internet is a fucking guru of everything they don’t know. And that’s the problem: that so many people have no voice—or feel like they have no voice—and they just talk the most unbelievable negative shit on social media. They are just vicious to the point of non-humanity. They’re talking about people. For me, words have no power, so I don’t care. Yet there’s a lot of people that don’t have that strength or the fortitude. That’s the bad part. It’s such a negative environment as well. It’s good and bad, like everything else.
You’re coming to San Diego March 19th and 20th. What can fans expect from your show?
Expect to come and laugh your ass off and leave with joy and the ability to laugh at real things that you might not have been able to laugh at the day before. And if you’ve seen me before, expect that it’s going to be a bunch of new material and stuff that you’ve never seen before. I evolve, and my comedy evolves on a daily basis. Even if you come to every show, you will get a different show every time.
You can purchase tickets to Carlos Mencia's shows on March 19th and 20th via the American Comedy Club website. Follow Mencia on Twitter @CarlosMencia