Mencia’s racial comedy lacks creativity, tact
O Carlos Mencia, how I loathe thee and thine comedy. Let me count the ways:
1. You recycle the same jokes about being Hispanic over and over.
2. You use the same voice no matter who you’re imitating.
3. You think you have the same talent for racial comedy as Dave Chappelle.
It amazes me that Mencia’s show ‘Mind of Mencia’ was picked up for a third season on Comedy Central. It amazes me even more that Comedy Central is willing to tote Mencia across the United States in his ‘Punisher Tour,’ which comes to Syracuse’s Landmark Theater this Saturday.
Mencia’s career with Comedy Central began shortly after Chappelle went a little crazy and dropped out of the third season of ‘Chappelle’s Show.’ To make up for it they brought in Mencia, the loud-mouthed, self-proclaimed ‘beaner’ who they promised would fill the void left by the network’s former cash cow.
Comedy Central lost its king of racial comedy with Chappelle, and they needed to make up for it. It was completely evident in all the promos for Mencia’s show. Who won’t he go after this time? Blacks? Asians? Lesbians? Gays? He’s so outrageous, you’d be crazy not to watch.
Where Mencia fails is that he refuses to be subtle and responsible with his jokes. Instead he just spews out every generalization about a specific group that he can and hopes that someone will laugh. It’s more offensive than funny.
And the sad thing is that Mencia seems to get off by being offensive. It’s how Comedy Central brands him; it’s how he brands himself. On some episodes of his show he takes ‘viewer mail’ about just how offensive he is which has obviously been written by some poor lackey intern. Mencia usually responds with another disgusting joke or mentions how the author is retarded, usually with his infamous ‘dee dee dee’ quote, which actually does mock mentally retarded people. How quaint of him.
Chappelle did a much better job with his racial comedy. He wasn’t intentionally outrageous with it; his talent and subtle deliverance made it that way. It’s hard to get offended when you see Chappelle dress up in a sweater vest and blonde wig for his stereotypical ‘white man’ character. His actions make it funny without having to throw the message in the audience’s face like Mencia does.
The real mystery is that people have been able to tolerate ‘Mind of Mencia’ for so long. After such a great run of ‘Chappelle’s Show’ you would think people would raise their standards a bit when it came to quality comedy. With any luck, Mencia will follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and bail out of his third season too.
Steven Kovach is a featured columnist whose columns appear Fridays in The Daily Orange. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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