Friday, November 23, 2012

Mencia in Joplin

Fri Jun 03, 2011, 12:14 PM CDT The JoplinI saw Carlos Mencia in Joplin after that devastating tornado tore that town appart. It was so great to see him doing the job that night (Wednesday June 8, 2011). This article in the Joplin Globe appeared prior to Mencia's show. He did not disappoint. Date: June 3, 2011 Headline: Carlos Mencia knows he has an important job to do by: Joe Hadsall, Globe Features EditorThe Joplin Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Carlos Mencia is familiar with the job description of a comedian. He knows it’s his job to make people laugh, to take their sad and change it to happy.

His audience in Joplin won’t be any different once he gets behind the mic. But Mencia knows that Joplin is in need of some laughs.

“I’ve done a lot of amazing gigs in my life, important ones,” Mencia said. “But going to Joplin is way up there. It’s going to be, if not the most important, one of the most important shows of my life.”

Mencia will perform Wednesday at Joey Thumbs, at 716 Main St. The stop, booked before the May 22 tornado, is part of a nationwide, smaller-town tour that Mencia booked specifically to perform for different kinds of audiences, he said.

The star of “Mind of Mencia”, which ran for four seasons on Comedy Central before the network cancelled it, is preparing to record a new special for the network. In preparation, he booked a tour in smaller towns across the nation.

The new audiences have given him a completely different feel for his material and helped to hone his act, he said.

“I’ve never really done anything like this before,” he said. “When I’m getting ready for a special, there’s about 12 comedy clubs in L.A. that I would rely on. This time, I wanted to get a feel for what audiences are feeling while I’m on stage.

There’s also a tweak to his presentation, that success may have affected. His motivation to rise from the projects gave him an edgy, attack-mentality presentation that earned him and his show some notoriety. He also came under fire for some of his post-Katrina comedy, which offended some African-Americans.

Though his perspective and premises may be the same, Mencia said his delivery is a little bit different.

“Now, it’s more ‘Can you believe that?’ not ‘What the f*** is that all about?’” he said. “I’m a different human being now. I don’t get shot at anymore, I don’t hang around gang-bangers anymore. It’s a new part of my life, a different perspective.”

The smaller sets also let him get in tune with an audience, and which jokes they like better, he said. That actually complicates his writing process, he said.

And speaking of writing: Mencia still denies the joke-stealing charges of comedian Joe Rogan, who confronted him on-stage in a viral video. In fact, Mencia said his biggest writing problem is that too much is happening.

“In the next month and a half, I hope nothing else happens,” Mencia said. “I have an hour and 45 minutes to trim to about an hour. Others have problems filling it, but me, I’m thinking, ‘Which one of these babies am I gonna kill?’ And then Obama kills Osama, and I have to put that in there.”

Even worse is when Mencia loves a joke, but audiences don’t like it as much as others -- and he doesn’t mind telling audiences that, he said.

“Stand up is for the audience, not for me,” Mencia said. “If you’re a comic that does jokes for yourself, just go in the bathroom and tell yourself jokes.”

That connection with a Joplin audience will be even more important, he said. Proceeds from the show will go to the American Red Cross, and he said he’ll come back to Joplin in the future.

He’s never done a show quite like this before, he said.

“I accept the responsibility of the comedian. My job is to make people laugh and forget the pain,” Mencia said. “I’m happy, proud, blessed and honestly blown away that I get to be the individual to do that. It’s gonna be great to see that audience and hear them laugh in the midst of the pain and the atmosphere.”

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