Who is Carlos Mencia?
Carlos Mencia is a Honduran-American comedian, writer, and actor known for his political and social styles of comedy. His incredible success in the stand-up comedy scene eventually led to his own show on Comedy Central, ‘Mind of Mencia’, which aired for four seasons prior to its cancellation in 2008. A native of San Pedro Sula, he moved to Los Angeles, California quite early in his life. He had a troublesome youth, selling drugs and burglarizing a house one time. While he was pursuing an electrical engineering degree at California State University, he dropped out to become a comedian after a successful outing at an open mic night in The Laugh Factory. In the next few years, he made appearances in stand-up venues like The Comedy Store and The L.A. Cabaret and was featured in two half-hour specials on HBO. In 2002, he performed on the ‘Comedy Central Presents’. According to the ‘Wall Street Journal,’ along with Jay Leno and Dane Cook, Mencia is regarded as one of the three most hated stand-ups by other comedians. He has been accused of plagiarism multiple times over the course of his career.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 22, 1967, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Carlos Mencia is the 17th of 18 children of Magdelena Mencía and Roberto Holness. His mother was Mexican while his father was Honduran. One of his siblings, Joseph, had made multiple appearances in ‘Mind of Mencia’.
When he was born, his parents were having a dispute, and his mother refused to let her son have his father’s surname. As a result, on his birth certificate, his name is Ned Arnel Mencía. Despite this, out of respect for his biological father, Mencia adopted his last name and continued to use it until he became 18 years old.
Mencia relocated to East Los Angeles, California at some point after his birth and grew up under the care of his aunt Consuelo and uncle Pablo Mencia. He himself has admitted that while he encountered several problems as a youth, his family helped him get through them.
He sold drugs and one time even burglarized a house as a young man. However, he never became part of a gang and was an exemplary student.
After graduating from Garfield High School in Los Angeles County, he enrolled at California State University, Los Angeles to study electrical engineering. During this period, he experienced moderate success at an open mic night at The Laugh Factory. This prompted him to leave school and focus on a career as a comedian.
It was Mitzi Shore, the owner of The Comedy Store, who suggested that Mencia should rename himself as Carlos Mencia in order to attract the Mexican audiences.
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Carlos Mencia got the chance to perform at prestigious stand-up venues like The Comedy Store and The L.A. Cabaret pretty early in his career. He later received the title “International Comedy Grand Champion” during his appearance in ‘Buscando Estrellas’. In 1994, he served as the host of HBO's Latino comedy showcase ‘Loco Slam’.
In 2001, Mencia embarked on a comedy tour named The Three Amigos with Freddy Soto and Pablo Francisco. He also made two half-hour specials for HBO, the second of which garnered him a CableACE Award for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special.
In 2001, he put out his first comedy album ‘Take a Joke America’. In the ensuing years, he has released three more albums: ‘America Rules’ (2002), ‘Unmerciful’ (2003), and ‘Spanglish’ (2006).
Not long after the release of ‘Take a Joke America’, he delivered his break-out performance on ‘Comedy Central Presents’ in 2002. The success of that appearance eventually led to Mencia getting his own half-hour show on Comedy Central in 2005, named ‘Mind of Mencia’.
Melding his stand-up comedy with comedy skits, the show ‘Mind of Mencia’ was quite successful. At one point, it was the highest-rated program on Comedy Central after ‘South Park’. In 2008, Comedy Central cancelled it after airing it for four seasons.
In 2006, he was part of the first Opie and Anthony's ‘Traveling Virus Comedy Tour’. In 2011, he went on another comedy tour, performing in Schaumburg, Illinois and Las Vegas.
As an actor, he has appeared in films like ‘Farce of the Penguins’ (2007), ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ (2007), and ‘Our Family Wedding’ (2010). He also provided the voice for Felix Boulevardez in the Disney Channel animated show ‘The Proud Family’ (2001-05).
Mencia co-established the restaurant chain Maggie Rita's with Santiago Moreno of Suave Restaurant and was one of the owners of several locations, most of which have since shut down.
Scandals & Controversies
For the most part of his career, Mencia has received criticism for plagiarising the routines of fellow comedians. Industry heavyweights like George Lopez, Reverend Bob Levy, Bobby Lee, and Ari Shaffir have accused him of stealing their joke.
On February 10, 2007, Joe Rogan got on stage while Mencia was performing at the Comedy Store, and a verbal spat ensued between the two during which Rogan accused Mencia of plagiarism. Since then, Mencia has experienced a drastic decline in his career.
Family & Personal Life
In December 2003, Carlos Mencia exchanged wedding vows with a woman named Amy. The couple has a son named Lucas Pablo Mencia. The family resides in Los Angeles.