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April 17, 2014

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Q+A:

Carlos Mencia doesn’t care if you’re offended — as long as it’s funny

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Carlos Mencia

If You Go

  • Who: “Carlos Mencia: The Administration of Laughter Tour”
  • When: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • Where: Treasure Island
  • Tickets: $49-$65; 894-7722

Beyond the Sun

Map of Treasure Island Hotel and Casino

Treasure Island Hotel and Casino

3300 S. Las Vegas Boulevard , Las Vegas

Carlos Mencia pulled the plug on his sitcom “Mind of Mencia” on Comedy Central.

“We did four seasons and it was awesome, but as an artist I thought, man, I gotta get out of this back yard,” says Mencia, who wanted to take a year off after working steadily for 22 years.

But Mencia, who is performing at Treasure Island this weekend, was calling from Los Angeles right after signing a deal for another sitcom for a major network.

“Go figure,” says the 41-year-old native of Honduras. “I decide to take off a year and I end up getting a couple of movies, end up performing on the road and getting offers for deals that I can’t say no to because I come from a working-class family.”

Mencia recently talked to the Sun about his hectic, sometimes controversial life:

What got you booted from the float at Mardi Gras?

I think the joke was, “Can you believe they’re rebuilding New Orleans in the same place?” That was the joke. And you know what’s really funny about it? They’re rebuilding New Orleans in the same place. That’s funny.

Look, I own a home that is backed up to the Santa Monica Mountains (near Los Angeles). Right behind my house is all forest. I know that my house is inevitably going to be almost burned down or burned down or something because these wildfires in California eventually will get to my house. I have insurance, fire insurance, for that. You’re never going to see me on television going, “I can’t believe my house caught on fire” when my back yard is what it is. Someone might take that personal, but that doesn’t make it not funny. People live in a place called Tornado Alley — and they’re surprised when they get hit by a tornado. I’m sorry when they get hit by tornadoes but when you live in Tornado Alley you can’t really claim surprise. I would never move to a place called “We’re Going to Stab a Latino Boulevard.” That might be a little much for me personally. I’m never going to live on a street called “We’re Going to Hang a Mexican Avenue.” It might just not work out for me. I just think my job as a comedian is to point out comedy, whether people take it personal or not.

Is it more difficult to be funny today because of political correctness?

It’s harder to be funny because people are taking our jokes as statements. People watch the news today and literally laugh. I can’t tell you how many links I get a day with news stories that are interpreted as funny, even though they were just reported as normal news stories. Then people watch comedians like me and they’ll say, “I can’t believe you said that.” Wow. People are taking news like jokes and us seriously. I don’t feel we should live in a world where comedians need to be politically correct because someone’s feelings might get hurt because they don’t know what comedy is.

Where does your attitude come from?

My family. I come from a different kind of family. My wife was in tears the other day. My mother hugged my wife and said, “I think you gained weight.” I told my wife she’s not trying to hurt your feelings. Mom just noticed you were thinner the last time she saw you. Now you’re not as thin. She was just making a statement. That’s the family I come from.

I remember, growing up, my mom saying, “Carlos, you’re smart but your brothers, they’re stupid” to their face. I go, “Mom, they’re right there.” And she’s like, “I know and I’m telling you you’re smart and you’re going to get a good job and they’re not and you’re going to have to lend them money when you’re older.” We’re just honest people like that and don’t take offense to it. If my wife were ever to say to me, “Do I look fat in this dress?” I wouldn’t lie to her, I’d go, “Look baby, you look fat in everything, but that’s OK because I love you and I’m taking you to dinner so don’t get mad at me. I’m the one feeding you, so if anyone’s the blame for this, it’s me. Let’s just go to dinner and have fun.”

I just feel like in America today we’ve forgotten what comedy is all about. We all feel divided — conservative or liberal. I want everyone to know I’m both, conservative and liberal. When it comes to my daughter I am a staunch conservative who believes in hard-core conservative values. When it comes to your daughter, I’m liberal. She can be as promiscuous as she wants to be.

Are you doing standup these days just to keep up your chops?

My standup never ends. My wife’s disdain and hatred, at times, for my zeal to perform will tell you pretty much I do it every night. I’ll go out and hit three comedy clubs at night. I love popping in and surprising people. I love making people laugh. I’ve been given a gift and I love exercising it. I just did this movie (“Family Wedding”) with Forest Whitaker and America Ferrera. I was pulling 12-hour days on average. I’d go to work at 7 in the morning and get out of work at 9 or 10 at night and then go to a comedy club before I went home and went to bed. My brain never turns off. From the moment I wake up I’m watching news, reading newspapers, going online, living life. My brain never turns off to comedy.

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