Arts & Culture » Comedy Critic's Choice

Dave Chappelle—no, Carlos Mencia at the Improv


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Think of Carlos Mencia as the Latino Dave Chappelle. A brash, confrontational, and unapologetic lover of free speech, he likes making his audience squirm. That's the point of democracy, isn't it? Honduras-born Mencia—who gained a broad following with his Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia—uses his immigrant perspective to offer minority observations on American culture, delivered loudly and bluntly. This often involves cliche references to Mexican landscapers or backwoods southerners, but Mencia doesn't discriminate with his racial quips. He's commented that he looks at his audiences as friends, and friends are allowed to make fun of one another. Whether he's calling out the government on Iraq, telling men how to improve their sex lives, or defining Yankee bigotry ("America is a giant game of tag—somebody is always it"), Mencia delivers his polarizing material with a smile. —Marissa Oberlander


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