Carlos Mencia may never have more to laugh about than he does right now. Working his way up from the L.A. comedy club scene, and then through appearances in HBO specials and films such as Outta Time, the “observational comedian” reached new heights of popularity ever since Mind Of Mencia debuted on Comedy Central three years ago. In the show, Carlos (in the words of Comedy Central) “mercilessly skewers the current and the cultural, whether in the studio, in the audience, out on the street, and in commercial parodies. Enter Carlos Mencia’s mind, and immerse yourself in his unique, unflinching take on the world.”
The show Mind Of Mencia has proven so popular that DVDs have been issued for seasons one and two. Flying off the shelves just as fast are his other DVDs, a list that includes Not For The Easily Offended and No Strings Attached, the latter recorded live in San Francisco. And you can find Carlos in the CD section of your favorite store as well. Take A Joke America (originally released back in 2000) has recently been rereleased in tandem with his latest CD, This Is Carlos Mencia: Spanglish, which features Carlos doing more material than ever in and about his native language.
Born in Honduras, Carlos was raised in East L.A. (graduating from Garfield High School). Growing up “in the projects,” Carlos may have been the class clown, but he was one who wisely stayed out of trouble. He once said, “I know how important it is for kids to have hope. I want them to look at me and say, ‘Man, I could do that’.”
In addition to his increasing TV presence (many thought that Carlos’ spots for Bud Light, one of which found him teaching new Americans how to order beer in various regional dialects, were two of the better commercials to premiere during this year’s Super Bowl), Carlos can always take his act on the road. One of the more popular touring comedians for the better part of the last decade, Carlos has come a long way from his earlier “Three Amigos” tours when he teamed up on stage with other Latino comedians. In 2006, The Punisher Tour, featured a solo Carlos slaying more people than ever with his wicked brand of humor, which includes poking fun at ethnic stereotypes, racism and the inability of some people to laugh at themselves.
“I’ve gotten in trouble with every race that you can imagine,” Carlos once told a journalist. “They say, ‘I can’t believe that you talked about this. You’re racist.’ And I say, ‘How can I be racist? Isn’t racism exclusionary?’ If all of you are offended, that’s because I’m including every race in my jokes. I think that people all feel the same things most of the time, we just don’t know how to put it into words. When I’m on stage, I say it. The truth makes people laugh.”
One repeated target segment of Carlos’ routine, however, is unable to comprehend the sting of his humor and thus unable to laugh at themselves or learn from the experience. Carlos has received much criticism over the years for his jokes aimed at individuals with mental disabilities. In fact, the “dee-dee-dee” that Carlos uses to parody those whom he deems as “stupid” has become his trademark, even turning up on T-shirts available through his website.
The official website, carlosmencia.com, contains a good deal of Mencia merchandise, in addition to tour schedules, videos, fan forum and more. Carlos also has a Myspace page. Like his Mind Of Mencia show, his CDs and DVDs, and his live act, both sites are well worth a visit when you need a laugh, even if it’s at your own expense. Carlos is of the opinion that life should be filled with comedy, as shown by his catchphrase “If you ain’t laughin’, you ain’t livin’.”
Holy RollerYouth pastor, artist and lowrider enthusiast keeps the faith on the East Coast.Jonathan Barnes is a full-time youth pastor, artist and lowrider enthusiast living with his wife, Robin, near Baltimore, Maryland. He’s the first to admit that there aren’t many people on the East Coast who share his “strange combination of interests.” The 26-year-old has no problem connecting these passions. “Many lowrider enthusiasts are very religious,” he says, “and most neighborhoods and communities consider faith and church very important to their life and family.”
Jon works at Columbia Presbyterian Church in Columbia, Maryland, as the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator, in charge of middle school, high school and college groups. He relates to the youths in his charge through artistic expressions, such as painting and music (he’s also a DJ who likes to “create other worlds with lights, sound and multimedia”).
Part of that artistic expression is lowriding. Jon drives a ’96 Mercury Cougar with East Coast-style lowrider trimmings, and has several friends into the area’s custom car scene. The guys back here go for mirrors, neon, strobes, blacklight, etc.
Jon’s artistic passion extends to painting and photography. He’s already had some of his art featured in Lowrider Arte Magazine, and we expect that we might see some more in the future. Good luck with your future projects, Jon, and keep the faith. Amen!