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Take a Joke America

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Album Review

Like many contemporary comedians, Carlos Mencia has a problem with the era of political correctness that dissuades people from making ethnic jokes. "When I was a kid, it was 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,'" he recalls on his first album, Take a Joke America. "Now it's 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may devastate my inner child forever.'" In a sense, this new, seemingly more enlightened form of social repression is a godsend to comedians like Mencia, who revel in violating it by emphasizing ethnic differences, starting, for him, with his own Hispanic heritage. If this would seem to give his humor a right-wing tinge, Mencia only emphasizes it by casting himself as a patriot. As he makes fun of whites, blacks, Asians, the Irish, women, and homosexuals, without leaving out his own ethnic group, he suggests that people only take umbrage against the insults because America is a free country where they don't realize how badly others are treated around the world. You can't quite call the result a celebration of American diversity, even though it has a cockeyed logic to it. A similarly surprising take on current national attitudes is the comedian's contention, expressed in "President Was Impeached," that the country's chief executive ought to be kept sexually satisfied in the national interest. Listeners should be prepared to hear Mencia's views expressed forcefully — he seems to be shouting about half the time — and in blunt language. Rarely do more than a few seconds go by before one or more of the most common expletives is being employed as an intensifier, that is, when not substituting for a noun or verb.


Born: October 22, 1967 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Genre: South America

Years Active: '00s

Latino comedian Carlos Mencia grew up in East Los Angeles. An amateur performance at the Laugh Factory led him to give up his job in an insurance company and leave college, where he had been studying electrical engineering, to become a standup comic. After performing around the Los Angeles area, he was named International Comedy Grand Champion on the Star Search-like program Buscando Estrellas in 1989 and began to turn up on network and cable television, earning a CableACE award nomination for his...
Full Bio
Take a Joke America, Carlos Mencia
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Spoken Word, Music, Comedy, Standup Comedy
  • Released: May 02, 2000

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