Weather Forecast


Carlos is coming back

Funny man Carlos Mencia makes a third trip to Treasure Island Resort and Casino, calling his previous performances some of his most memorable. In fact, his upcoming stand-up will be recorded for a live special to air at a later date. He can be heard 8 p.m. Saturday Aug. 17.

The Honduras-born 45 year-old was the 17th out of 18 children. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in Los Angeles, eventually returning to Honduras before beginning a career in stand-up back in the states.

Perhaps best known for the Comedy Central hit "Mind of Mencia," he starred in his show for four seasons. He also has dabbled into acting with film such as Dreamworks' "The Heartbreak Kid" and Fox Searchlight's "Our Family Wedding."

Tickets for his show are $49 or $59. Must be 18 years of age or older to attend.

Find a big bank of Mencia's Podcasts online or check his website for more information.

We chatted with Mencia about comedy, his journey and Minnesota.

Describe your first experience on stage doing comedy.

It feels the same every single night. It's a gift. I mean, to make people smile, to make people laugh -- it's a gift that now I appreciate even more than I did before.

When you're young and you've got that exuberance, you want to change the world you want to change the way it's (comedy) done. You have these feelings of reverence -- when you anger somebody or make somebody feel uncomfortable, other people are laughing.

Then you're like, "Oh I'm doing something."

Have you always been able to make people laugh?

I've always been able to make people laugh, but I'm kind of a devil's advocate by nature because I feel like people are very simplistic when we think as human beings. So, I'm always trying to show the other side and we live in such a negative world that it seemingly seems positive.

What makes you laugh?

Everything makes me laugh. Life is funny if you let it be.

It's ironic. The other day I'm stuck in traffic and I look to the left and there is a guy sitting in an $115,000 car, angry, because he's stuck in the traffic he's stuck in every single day. The stupidity of that, to me, is astoundingly funny.

The irony is that on the opposite side of me is a guy in like a 1988 Corolla -- no air conditioning, cause he's windows are rolled down, blasting some Mexican song, probably going from one crappy job to another. Yet, the guy in the air-conditioned and nice car is upset he's in traffic.

That kind of stuff is everywhere, especially today.

It's all those ironies. It's the irony of being able to call people out on their crap. Being able to point that stuff out and make laughter with a little bit of thought behind it is awesome. To have someone talk about heavy subjects in a funny way and make it cathartic yet breaking the ice - it's needed.

Has your process of creating jokes changed over the years, how so?

I don't know if comedy ever changes in that way. I think subject matter changes. In comedy there is always somebody or something stupid happening. That's what comedy is, it's making fun of oneself or someone else. If you listen to the language of comedy you'll fall into the realm of people saying things like "My family, my mom, my dad, my parents are crazy so you can laugh at me." It (comedy) tries to make it universal by using language but in some way, shape or form it's about connecting.

That's why guys like Larry the Cable Guy will sell more tickets in certain parts of the country. At the end of the day when you are as good as you are as a comedian and you're as broad as can be you should make everyone laugh.

Part of the reason I laid low for a while was it became art intimating art. My life was 24 hours of stand-up or film or write or edit. I had no life. I had no life experiences to talk about.

Unlike Kathy Griffin, I don't want to go up on stage and talk about my experiences with celebrities. It's not who I am. I want to be able to talk about what happens at barbeques and that sort of stuff. For me, it's important to be able to exist as a human being, so that I can relate those moments to other people --EMDASH-- their angst, frustrations and happy moments as well.

After several years of acting, what made you want to go back to your comedic roots?

It wasn't planned that way. I went through a metamorphosis on how I approached life. When I would go on stage before my thought process was - I'm gonna be funny, I'm gonna show these people that I'm worth the time and money and deserve this break and to be on this stage and all of those things.

Now I need to prove nothing to anyone, not even to myself. I go on stage because I have a gift of making people laugh. That's my gift, that's my life, and I wish to share that with as many people as humanly possible.

It's a much different approach, but when you're a comedian and have had 20-something years of being funny and know how to do it --EMDASH-- it's not an easy thing to change. So, it's taken a few years of me going up on stage and doing the opposite of what I used to do.

When before if I had an audience that was a little more shy, I would become aggressive and just get in their face to make them laugh. Now, I let them come to me and I've never been funnier or better, but it took awhile to appreciate and trust

Since 2007 you have traveled on a USO Tour to the Persian Gulf to entertain troops serving overseas. Why did you go in the first place and what brings you back each year?

I do stuff for the troops year round. Listen, I make a really good living because I live in a country that is free, that allows me speak my mind and tell a joke in any way that I find funny. Any way. I can use any language, I can talk about anything or anybody, I can talk about the most powerful man in the world, and I can talk about a guy I picked up off the street.

I make a good living at all because of the freedom to write it by these heroes and their untold stories. When they are in the middle of nowhere, they need to be reminded they are important. I believe it's the least I can do.

What is something interesting someone would not know about you?

The one thing that most people wouldn't know when watching me perform is how quiet and introspective I am in a normal setting.

Name a song on your current music playlist.

"This Is What It Feels Like," by Armin Van Buuren.

What is the first that comes to mind when you think of Minnesota?

Happy people. No seriously. You guys have such extreme weather up there, the few days you have to enjoy it, you do.

You get enough bad weather you have learned to accept that that's life. You deal with adversity much different than others.

If you go ...

Who: Hear comedian Carlos Mencia.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday Aug. 17

Where: Event Center, Treasure Island Resort and Casino

Cost: $49, $59

More info: 877-849-1640 or

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880