Judge Eric Profancik got more out of the midget than the star.
Dee Dee Dee
Who is Carlos Mencia? Can you answer that? I really can't. I've heard of his show—-through watching South Park on Comedy Central—yet I know nothing about him. What's his deal? Wanting to a quick rundown on the guy, I made a quick visit to his official website. Another quick hop to Judge Naugle's (retired) Season One review (definitely worth the read) fills in a few other blanks. After that quick research, I learned little beyond him being a comedian who got a lucky break and now has his own half-hour show. It is important for you or me to know anything more about him? Not really. I was just curious how this relative unknown ended up with his own television show. Obviously I should just let his material speak for him.
Now sated with my first taste of the beaner, his endearing and quite oft-used term for Mexicans (though he technically isn't Mexican), I know that Carlos Mencia likes to try and offend people. His niche is picking on every minority group (and whites, of course), with special love, affection, and attention placed on beaners. And while he craves controversy, strives to make incredibly incisive, inflammatory statements, I found his material rather common and obvious. It also felt like I had seen or heard this material, not necessarily exactly as presented on his show, but in some variation over the years. It was familiar. Familiar is rarely incisive or inflammatory.
Once he finished his rants and transitioned to simple comedy, that did not fare any better. The material had its moments, but once it was over it was out of mind. It was just mediocre stuff, and I went away less than impressed. There are chuckles in each episode, but loud, gut-busting, tear-inducing guffaws are missing in action.
His show follows a very consistent format:
- Fade into a quick sketch.
- Transition to the opening credits.
- Carlos comes onstage to an enthusiastic, standing ovation.
- The next 8 minutes are spent doing standup to the audience.
- At the end of the standup, he'll transition into a prerecorded sketch.
- Cut to commercial.
- Back from commercial, go to a new prerecorded or live sketch.
- Transition back and forth between the two sketches and commercials.
What's the point of telling you this? First, you always know what you'll get from him. He's exceptionally consistent. If you need a quick bathroom break, you know where to time it. Second, there's an odd dichotomy where you think you're getting a lot of material but you're really not. To wit, in his "30-minute" shows, after commercials and filler, there's only 20 minutes of material. Third, because he only does three skits per show, they all go on too long. It's the Saturday Night Live problem of stretching out a joke far past its laugh-by time. He needs to add a fourth sketch to his routine, thereby alleviating all the aforementioned problems.
Most his show seems disposable. Off the top of my head, I can recall very few of his jokes or routines; and the ones I do center on Carlos's sometimes sidekick, Brad, a midget. If you're a man then you instantly understand the inherent and universal funniness of midgets, so anything Brad does (dressing like a leprechaun or a transvestite prostitute) are always great comedy. The only skit that I remember that didn't include Brad is "the stereotype Olympics," which is the best bit he did all season. In general, he brought together a group of guys—white, black, Asian, beaner, and middle Eastern—and had them compete in events stereotypical to each race. There was watermelon eating, fence jumping, looting, rock throwing, hockey, and smallest penis contest. He wanted to see if each event would be one by the stereotype. The results and the rewards were very funny.
But one great sketch does not a season make.
The transfers on the DVD are "TV to DVD average." The full frame video has accurate colors, good blacks, and solid detail and contrast. It looks better than a broadcast show but not as good as a movie. Same for the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, which has clean, hiss-free dialog. Bonus features are minimal, but I liked that. On disc one, you have "Ask Carlos" (18 minutes). This is audience members asking Carlos random questions, and he answers them seriously. (These were not in the show.) Oddly, while this release is "uncensored"—leaving in all the wonderful, colorful metaphors sans beeping during the episodes—this bonus piece has the curse words beeped out. Also included are some "Comedy Central Quickies," one-minute bits from The Colbert Report, South Park, and Reno: 911!. Disc two contains a bit more stuff, including bloopers, outtakes, and some deleted scenes. Not much, but just right for a show that I found average.
And an average show it is. Carlos had his moments but he was just trying too hard to make fun of people and be controversial. He makes a few good points, but he also makes a few lame, old points. The show didn't work for me, and I have no urge to now watch Season Three on Comedy Central. But if you're a big fan of the show, the set has no major problems to keep you from buying it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• "Ask Carlos"
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