Two years and 70 pounds ago, Carlos Mencia would have gone on stage after the Colorado theater massacre and attacked his audience with blunt force comedy about an unthinkable tragedy that left a dozen dead and 58 people wounded.
But Mencia has undergone a physical and mental metamorphosis. Along with his weight loss — which happened when a friend suggested he was going to die because he was so heavy — Mencia has transitioned away from his bombastic ways of commenting on topical events.
His comedy still has an edge to it, but, at 44, he no longer feels the need to use a sledgehammer to attack his subject matter.
“Today I’m much more surgical in nature,” Mencia says.
Which is probably why Mencia was able to do material about the shootings and get laughter when fellow comedian Dane Cook was roundly booed for his remarks about the incident.
“I think when you come from the right perspective and the right angle with that kind of comedy, it’s not offensive,” Mencia says during a phone call ahead of his Saturday night gig in the Tropicana Showroom. “It’s only offensive to people that [say], ‘No, you can’t talk about it no matter what, period.’”
Mencia was very careful how he crafted the five minutes of material he’s developed since the July 20 shootings during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. He made sure the object of comedic ridicule in his bit was the alleged gunman, James Holmes, and not his victims or the ordeal they went through during the deadly rampage.
“I’m not saying anything about the victims. There’s a big difference between what I said and someone going up on stage and [asking] why didn’t anybody shoot him,” he explains. “I don’t want to do jokes about the people running [for their lives] in the theater. That’s life or death stuff [and] I don’t know that that’s an angle I would want to take.”
Put into meteorological terms, the summer showroom forecast would probably read something like this: "Mostly funny throughout the three-month period, with occasional breaks for music in between. "
Comedian Robert Schimmel, 60, died on Saturday, Sept. 4, after a week-long battle for his life after surviving a car accident in Arizona.
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