Judge Gordon Sullivan thinks the Mind of Mencia is pretty empty.
He's speaking his mind. We're hiring extra lawyers.
It must have seemed like a no-brainer for Comedy Central: take a minority comic known for his racially charged jokes and give him his own show that mixes skits with standup comedy. It'll be the Hispanic Chappelle's Show. Thus, was Mind of Mencia born. The formula is a sound one, but host Carlos Mencia is certainly no Dave Chappelle.
Each episode of Mind of Mencia: Season 4 Uncensored consists of basically three elements:
• The Skits
Most of these start from a good idea. The opening spoof of Mormonism (where a Mormon played by Mencia complains about his fourth wife, who turns out to be a little girl) is just one of a group of skits that have a solid foundation. However, the execution falls flat every time. My favorite skit was easily the one about the mythical Mexican illegal alien who is running up health costs, driving down property values, and stealing jobs. The idea is brilliant, and Mencia plays the character with particular relish, but all the jokes are so tired it's pathetic. He doesn't take the character anywhere interesting or offer any real solid commentary (or jokes).
• The Standup
Here, I find Mencia aggressively unfunny. Most, if not all, of his jokes are tired observations about life. Oh, Mexicans are lazy and black people like fried chicken? Thank you, Mr. Mencia, for shining your rays of humorous knowledge on we ignorant peasants. And that's another problem with Mencia's standup: he acts as if he's superior in every way to the things he comments on, as if he's better than everyone else. He laughs at people, but never himself (or so it seemed from these 10 episodes). I think the best comics have always been self-deprecating. I mean Richard Pryor made jokes about the fact that he lit himself on fire while free-basing. That's funny; making fun of African Americans for liking fried chicken is not. Also, it's really bad form to laugh at your own punchlines before you can even deliver them. I hate it when people do it at parties, and I certainly don't want to see it from a professional.
Also, unlike Chappelle, Mencia doesn't seem to have a talented team of actors to turn to. There are some other actors on the show, but none that can match Charlie Murphy or Mos Def consistently. That leaves the whole show on Mencia's shoulders, and it's just not that much fun to watch him for an entire episode.
• The Cartoon
Mencia includes the "The Adventures of Carlitos" in his show, and it purports to be episodes from his childhood rendered into cartoon. These short snippets are easily the best part of the show. Although he maintains the same tired racial humor, these cartoons are so surreal that they become funny in spite of Mencia's comedy. For instance, Carlitos and his dad sharing food after a cockfight at a restaurant called El Pollo Muerto is just weird enough to be amusing.
In case it isn't clear yet, I don't like Mind of Mencia. However, since this is the show's fourth season, I can only assume that it has some fans. They are going to be pretty pleased with this release. This set includes all 10 (uncensored) episodes from the fourth season. For the most part, the video is strong. It's broadcast quality, so this DVD doesn't reveal loads of significant detail, but there are no serious problems to detract from Mencia's work. The audio is likewise effective without being spectacular. The dialogue was well-balanced throughout, and it was never difficult to make things out because of the laugh track. The extras aren't spectacular, but they include more Mencia, which is what I guess fans want. On Disc One there's a video entitled "Between the Breaks," and it features snippets of Mencia acting as host, often flubbing his lines. The video quality on this segment is atrocious, with pixelation and other problems running rampant. Disc Two houses deleted and extended scenes, plus some bloopers. Seriously, I didn't like the stuff they let in, so the extra material gets no love from me.
If they've made it this far, fans are going to want Mind of Mencia: Season 4 Uncensored. Anyone unfamiliar with Carlos Mencia and his brand of comedy is urged to check out his HBO specials first, as they rely less on the skit-based formula that makes Mind of Mencia so monotonous.
Mind of Mencia is guilty of diluting a fine formula with tired racial humor and unimpressive skits.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
• Between the Breaks
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