COLUMN: Comedian Carlos Mencia to bring stupid to campus

By Eric Naing

He’s crazy! He’s uncensored! He’ll say anything! He’s a manipulative businessman willing to appeal to the most crude and ignorant among us, all while displaying absolutely no talent or originality! He’s Carlos Mencia and he’s unfortunately bringing his amateur dog and pony show to our campus.

Like Larry the Cable Guy before him, Carlos Mencia is a third-rate comedian who achieves success by catering to the lowest common denominator and appealing to our most ugly and offensive sensibilities. There is a fine line between wit and stupidity, and Carlos Mencia bulldozes straight through into the latter.

Every single Mencia routine (either on his mind-numbing show “Mind of Mencia” or his equally mind-numbing stand-up) consists of obvious and tired ethnic jokes followed by him talking about how dangerous and edgy he is. Literally, every routine follows the template of:

“The other day I was (insert everyday activity here) when a (insert gay/female/mentally challenged/person of color here) started acting (insert applicable stereotype here). And they were all like (insert mocking imitation here followed by dee-dee-dee)!”

My problem with Mencia is not that he makes ethnic, gay or “retarded” jokes, it’s that he is a lazy comedian. Anyone can be offensive for the sake of being offensive. And every single one of his jokes has been told ad nauseam in school yards, bars and around Mel Gibson’s kitchen table for years (Ba-zing!).

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    Dave Chapelle walked away from one of the most popular shows on television and $50 million because, among other things, he started to feel that he was being socially irresponsible. While taping a segment for his show containing his trademark racial humor, Chapelle became disturbed by a white audience member who was laughing at the wrong things.

    The genius of Dave Chapelle’s humor is that under his crude use of stereotypes is a biting social commentary. His racial draft skit is funny not only because he makes fun of different races, but also because of his commentary on how we categorize race. To Mencia, a joke about people in wheelchairs is funny not only because he makes fun of the handicapped, but also because he gets to joke about beating them up. Mencia is Chapelle minus the message, wit and humor.

    Speaking of the handicapped, Mencia routinely makes fun of the mentally challenged and believes his constant use of the word “retarded” as a pejorative is a badge of honor. About every five minutes during his routine, Mencia will purposefully say something stupid and follow that with his trademark “dee-dee-dee” as if to imitate a stereotypically “retarded” person. This is sad not so much because of how offensive it is, but because that was my trademark joke when I was nine.

    Half-Honduran and half-Mexican, Mencia was born as Ned Arnel. Only later would he adopt the stage name Carlos. (I guess it’s probably easier for a guy named Carlos to call Mexicans “beaners” than it is for a guy named Ned Arnel). He studied electrical engineering at California State University but found his calling as a comedian. Maybe somewhere in an alternate universe, a better universe, people tune into Comedy Central for “Knowledge of Ned” and watch comedian Ned Arnel tell jokes about the PC board design and semiconductors.

    I have no problem with controversial humor. I practically worship truly edgy things like “The Boondocks,” Richard Pryor and “Wondershowzen.” What makes Mencia different is that he uses recycled offensive jokes as a shield to hide the fact that he has nothing original to say.

    According to Assembly Hall’s Web site, Mencia “represents the internal voice inside us and demands we admit to thinking what he says out loud.” If my internal voice constantly blurted out “dee-dee-dee,” I’d have to have myself committed. For the sake of all that is genuinely funny, please do not go see Carlos Mencia next month. Your $37.50 would be better spent buying 37 and a half nails to drive into your skull.