Citizen Staff Writer
ANDRES A. NAVARRO
Comedian Carlos Mencia, known for his Comedy Central show “Mind of Mencia,” returns to the Old Pueblo for a show at Casino Del Sol’s AVA on Saturday. In a recent phone interview, Mencia let us get into his head to explore what’s stored in that twisted brain of his. His answers might surprise you because they reveal a serious, introspective side of Mencia not often seen by fans.
Q: What do you think about the most?
A: I don’t really take a lot of time thinking about things. I would say I’m pretty quick about taking in info and analyzing it. I look at the bad things I see all the time and if it’s just bad I let it go. If it excites me then I keep it. I bottle it up inside me, move it around a few times and then I bring it out onstage. I usually start by saying “Who believes this s—?” and then I allow the show to take over its direction.
What is your most embarrassing childhood memory?
I always think about this one time when I was younger and I lived in the projects and a friend of mine came over. My mom then goes “What kind of family are we? Offer him something to drink.” I told him we had water, some Kool-Aid and orange juice. My friend then got all excited that we had OJ since in the ghetto no one ever had OJ. My mom then went and got the OJ and served him a cup. My friend takes the cup and starts chugging it but then he spits the juice and tells me “Man this ain’t no OJ, it’s Tang.” I look at my mom and ask her what she gave him and she answered “Well it’s not Tang, it’s Tampico.” I was so embarrassed, that whole time I’ve been saying we had OJ but it was just Tampico.
What is your biggest phobia?
It’s my fear of not being good at something. Growing up, the people that never got out of the ghetto weren’t good at anything. They would always say that no matter what they did, they could never leave the ghetto. I never listened to them – otherwise I would have ended up just like them, stuck in the ghetto. I just don’t want to suck. And because of this I never want to stop doing stand-up. When I do it I want to do it great. I want all my material to be new and fresh, not because I want to be the best but because it’s my driving force. It’s like a sense of pride. I just have this fear of going onstage and bombing.
Who gets into your head the most?
Last year I did a lot of growing up. I took a lot of criticism and it was getting to me but I had to get over it somehow. A lot of these people don’t know me personally. They can’t hate me. You can’t let any of these people get into your head. I try to be a kind and nice person and make the world a better place through my work. But with these people and their criticism they can stop you. The way I see it, those voices have nothing to do with me. I drown out the voices of negativity and the biggest voice out there is my own.
What does your mind tell you about our presidential election?
I hate the state of politics right now. All these politicians make everything out to be about extremes, putting people on completely different sides of the spectrum. You know what? I don’t think these politicians see that a lot of people are somewhere in the middle. They don’t lean extremely left or right. I hate this red state this and blue state that. I hate these separations they set up between people. Politicians just ruin things. They separate us and put us against each other.
Tell us about your dreams.
I know that I’m dreaming when I’m dreaming. I know it’s weird but it’s true. Like when I’m having a sex dream I know that I’m gonna wake up before I finish. I’ve also actually written jokes in my dreams. I’ll wake up and I’ll remember them and use them.
If you could get into George W. Bush’s head, what would you tell yourself?
I wouldn’t pretend to try and fix that guy. That guy won’t even realize he’s not the smartest guy out there. He can think he’s doing a smart thing but does a dumb thing. Like this you can’t do anything at all. But you know what? I can’t hate the guy: He’s really trying his best out there.
Do you have a devil and an angel on your shoulder telling you what to do?
I was young at the time and I hurt people’s feelings. But little by little you start growing up and seeing what’s wrong and what’s right. I would say that I have a guy inside me saying “Who’s gonna get hurt by doing this?” and then I think about things more.
IF YOU GO
What: Carlos Mencia “At Close Range” comedy tour
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: AVA Amphitheater, 5655 W. Valencia Road
Info: 800-344-9435, www.solcasinos.com/ava.html