Carlos Mencia (born October 22, 1967), born Ned Arnel Mencia, is a Honduran-born American comedian, writer, and actor. His style of comedy is often political and involves issues of race, culture, criminal justice, and social class. He is best known as the host of the Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia.
MencÃa was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the seventeenth of eighteen children. His mother, Magdelena MencÃa, was Mexican, and his father, Roberto Holness, was a Honduran whose distant ancestors included immigrants from Germany, England, and the Cayman Islands. At the time of his birth, MencÃa's mother was engaged in a domestic dispute with his father, and declined to give her son his biological father's last name. The name appearing on his birth certificate is "Ned Arnel MencÃa", although Mencia has said that out of respect for his biological father he went by the Holness name anyway, and was known as "Ned Holness" until he was eighteen years old.
Mencia was raised Roman Catholic in East Los Angeles, California by his aunt Consuelo and uncle Pablo Mencia. By his own admission, staying out of trouble was difficult while growing up, but with the help of his family he excelled in school and stayed out of gangs. He attended Garfield High School in Los Angeles County. He majored in electrical engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, but left early to pursue a career in comedy after a successful performance at an open mic night at The Laugh Factory. He has an older brother named Joseph Mencia who often appeared on Mind of Mencia.
Mencia was a quick success at such venerated LA stand-up venues as The Comedy Store and The L.A. Cabaret. This led to appearances on The Arsenio Hall Show and Buscando Estrellas, where he attained the title "International Comedy Grand Champion." Then, in 1994, Mencia was chosen to host HBO's latino comedy showcase Loco Slam.
Mencia followed up Loco Slam by hosting Funny is Funny! on Galavision in 1998. He would continue to do stand-up, including a very successful tour in 2001 with Freddy Soto and Pablo Francisco, "The Three Amigos." Mencia also did two half-hour specials on HBO, the second of which won him a CableACE Award for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special. After the release of his first comedy album by Warner Records, Take A Joke America, Mencia performed his break-out performance on Comedy Central Presents in 2002.
By the time his career began to take off in the early 2000s, Mencia was also working as an actor doing guest appearances in the television shows Moesha and The Shield, and starring in the film Outta Time and the animated show The Proud Family.
Mind of Mencia
In March 2005, Comedy Central announced Mencia's own half-hour comedy show, Mind of Mencia. The show mixed Mencia's stand up comedy with sketch comedy, much like Dave Chappelle's Chappelle's Show. The show achieved moderate success in its first season and was brought back for a second season in the spring of 2006, becoming Comedy Central's second highest rated program behind South Park. It was brought back for a third season that summer before being cancelled in 2008. Mind of Mencia was produced by Nedlos, a portmanteau of Mencia's birth name and the name he took prior to naturalizing in the US.
Mencia is sometimes a guest on the Opie and Anthony radio show on XM Satellite Radio and CBS Radio. He took part in the first Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour in 2006. In 2002 he performed on "Comedy Central Presents."
Mencia starred in a Super Bowl XLI commercial for Bud Light. In November 2009, Mencia began appearing commercials for a weight-loss product called Belly Burner, which he has claimed to have used personally.
Carlos Mencia went on a 2011 stand up comedy tour, including dates at the Improv in Schaumburg, IL on June 24 and 25, and ending in Las Vegas at Treasure Island on Friday, September 16, 2011.
In 2012, Carlos Mencia stated in an interview that he wished to adopt a less angry persona.
Mencia is the co-owner of the restaurant chain Maggie Rita's.
Mencia lives with his wife, Amy, in the Los Angeles area of California. They have one child, Lucas Pablo Mencia.
Mencia has been criticized for both his stand-up act and his television show, perhaps most notably from other comedians. In 2006, Maxim named Mencia as the 12th worst comic of all time. A 2010 Wall Street Journal article noted that Mencia, along with Dane Cook and Jay Leno, were three of the most hated popular stand-ups by fellow comedians.
Accusations of plagiarism
In 2005, comedian Joe Rogan wrote a post on his website publicly accusing Mencia of being a plagiarist, alleging that Mencia stole jokes from a number of comedians. On February 10, 2007, Rogan confronted Mencia on stage at the Comedy Store on Sunset and continued his allegations of plagiarism. Rogan posted a video of the altercation with audio and video clips from other comedians including George Lopez, Reverend Bob Levy, Bobby Lee and Ari Shaffir, among others. Rogan has also posted audio and video clips of Mencia's interviews and joke routines being compared to those of other comedians on his blog.
George Lopez has accused Mencia of plagiarizing his material. In an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Lopez accused Mencia of plagiarizing 13 minutes of his material in Mencia's HBO special. He also claimed he had a physical altercation with Mencia over the alleged plagiarism. The only joke that Lopez has publicly specified was stolen and used on Mencia's HBO special was a Taco Bell joke. Comedian Ted Sarnowski countered this claim, stating that the joke he performed on radio in 1988 was later taken and used without permission by Lopez, the radio station's resident comic. Sarnowski claims to have given Mencia permission to use the joke, yet Lopez later began referring to Mencia as a "thief" over the joke Lopez allegedly plagiarized.
Mencia has also been accused of stealing a routine from Bill Cosby. In his special, No Strings Attached, Mencia performs a bit about a father who spends years training his son for a career as a football player, only to see the son say "I love you, Mom!" at his moment of televised victory. Cosby performed a very similar bit in his concert film Bill Cosby: Himself and wrote briefly on the subject in his book Fatherhood. Mencia told the Los Angeles Times that he had never seen the film but regretted the similarities between his and Cosby's jokes.
Mencia's alleged plagiarism was satirized on the April 8, 2009 episode of South Park entitled "Fishsticks" in which Mencia takes credit for a joke that somebody else had written. When faced with the prospect of being assaulted, he admits "I took credit for it because I'm not actually funny!.... I just take jokes and repackage them with a Mexican accent!" The character is then killed by Kanye West.
Mencia also addressed the issue of plagiarism in two hour-long interviews with comic Marc Maron on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, in May 2010.
In 2011, Mencia stated in an interview that he had been in therapy due to accusations of plagiarism.
Hurricane Katrina remarks
In February 2009, Mencia was dropped from the Krewe of Orpheus' celebrity lineup for New Orleans Mardi Gras, citing inappropriate comments he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Mencia remarked during his stand up: "I'm glad Hurricane Katrina happened. It taught us an important lesson: Black people can't swim."
- In Living Color (TV), playing a Valet in episode six of season two, (1990)
- Moesha (TV), playing Carlos in the episode "Life Imitating Art," (1999)
- The Proud Family (TV), starring as Felix (voice) (2001â"2005)
- The Shield (TV) playing Gabo in the episode "Two Days of Blood," (2002)
- Outta Time (2002), playing "Juancho"
- 29 Palms (2002), playing "The Comedian"
- Mind of Mencia (TV) Host (2005â"2008)
- Drawn Together (TV) playing the King of Mexico (voice) in the episode "Mexican't Buy Me Love", (2006)
- Farce of the Penguins (2007)
- The Heartbreak Kid (2007), playing Uncle Tito
- MADtv (2007), playing Himself
- Our Family Wedding (2010)
- Carlos Mencia: New Territory (2011)
Mencia has also appeared on Comic Relief, and hosted Loco Slam in 1994, Latino Laugh Festival in 1997, Funny is Funny! in 1998, and Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny in 2003.
- Take a Joke America (2001)
- America Rules (2002)
- Unmerciful (2003)
- Spanglish (2006)
Albums and DVDs
- Not for the Easily Offended (2003)
- Down to the Nitty Gritty (2004)
- No Strings Attached (2006)
- The Best of Funny is Funny (2007)
- Performance Enhanced (2008)
- Mind of Mencia Season 1 (2006)
- Mind of Mencia Season 2 (2007)
- Mind of Mencia Season 3 (2007)
- Mind Of Mencia Season 4 (2008)
- Carlos Mencia: New Territory (2011)
- Official Website
- Carlos Mencia at the Internet Movie Database
- Mind Of Mencia at ComedyCentral.com
- Carlos Mencia on Myspace