Judge Clark Douglas uses a potent performance-enhancing drug before writing his reviews: Nachos.
An Equal Opportunity Offender
Are you people ready to get crazy? All right, then. Join me for a brief examination of the latest stand-up comedy special from Carlos Mencia, aptly titled Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced.
Carlos begins by declaring that Barack Obama might be our first black president. Mencia informs us that Obama is the whitest black person on the planet, and that if we can't vote for him, we'll never vote for a black person. He also attempts to inform us that the race card will no longer exist if Obama is elected, providing perfect motivation for white people to vote for Obama. He then proceeds to start talking about white people, and why there is no reason for Native Americans and African-Americans to try and make white kids feel guilty. Carlos attacks Black History Month, whiny Mexicans, people who ask him not to tell race jokes, the fact that more people can't say the N-word, Eminem, white guilt and Dog the Bounty Hunter. Thus far, the material is unfunny and abrasive, with a heavy dose of shock value and absolutely no wit. Maybe things will get a little bit better.
No, not really. I'm no fan of Mencia, who often plays like a D-grade version of Dave Chappelle blended with the worst stylistic aspects of Dane Cook. His comedy is largely reliant on noise, crass racial humor, and bad language, but he's lacking any of the biting insight lying beneath the comedy of greats like George Carlin and Richard Pryor. This special originally aired on Comedy Central (which also is the home of Mencia's unfunny sketch comedy program, Mind of Mencia). On television, it ran about 45 minutes. Here, the full version is included, which stretches the material to 66 minutes. This does not do the routine any favors.
Carrying on, Mencia proceeds to insult various laws, such as the fact that you are allowed to have sex with animals in certain states. He does not use this as a lead-in to attack our legal system, but as an excuse to jump into childish animal sex gags. He starts to talk about the war in Iraq and goes into an overlong routine about how we could defeat the Muslims by dropping bacon on them. It's enough of a problem that the comedy here isn't particularly funny, but this is compounded by the fact that Mencia seems rather nasty and mean-spirited much of the time. It's a burning contempt for essentially every aspect of humanity (noisy frat boys and similarly boorish male types are the exceptions, as Mencia avoids self-deprecation at all costs). I have no doubt that Mencia would classify much of his humor as satire, but I don't know…there's so little genuine satirical content here that I fear much of it simply qualifies as straightforward racism, sexism, and homophobia.
The transfer, like many similar DVDs from Comedy Central, is very underwhelming. The performance looks no better than it would on DVD, and there's a bit of color bleeding as well. Audio is adequate, though we get a good deal of distortion due to Mencia's fondness for trying to swallow the microphone. Two supplements are included. First of all, we get Mencia's appearance on the television show Cribs, in which Carlos shows us all of the nifty stuff he has. In addition, we get an unfunny "Dean Carlos" sketch from Mind of Mencia. Meh.
To be fair to the popular comedian, there are a few tidbits here that me laugh a little, or at least smile. Mencia's observations about angst-riddled superheroes is genuinely sharp, particularly his merciless attack on Peter Parker. There's also a nice piece on the hypocritical attitudes Americans have about animals. Still, this stuff isn't enough to save the special. I'll close with this statement from Mencia: "You don't like my show, change the channel. You don't like what I'm saying, walk out. I don't care!" That's good to know. It makes me feel less bad about declaring this DVD guilty, and recommending that those of you who value smart stand-up comedy avoid Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Mencia's on MTV's Cribs
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