Saturday, February 17, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Carlos (Menstealia)!

I'm a big Carlos Mencia fan. I've seen Carlos numerous times and have paid good money to see him. I saw his last performance at Zanies in Chicago prior to him getting his Mind of Mencia show (which for the first two seasons has been a rehash of his standup material, thus, has been a bit of let down for me since I've heard 90% of it already) and it was awesome. I know a lot of his material by heart and respect a lot of what he's accomplished. Then I see this:

Joe Rogan VS Carlos Mencia ON STAGE!

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My friend Raj, who's also a standup comic, has been talking to me over the last couple of years about how Carlos steals material from other comics. Now, I have to admit, it IS hard to write original material due to the fact that there is so much of it out there already and you may have heard it, forgot about it, then turn around and write a joke thinking it was original. I've heard this same issue come up from comedians like Eddie Murphy, Eddie Griffin, Rosie O'Donnel, George Lopez, Mark White, and Dave Atell. There is a little unspoken leeway given between comics because of that. However, in the case of Carlos, it seems that people are saying he's taking bits word for word almost and claiming it as his own. Now, that fawkin' sucks!

Like the Joe Rogan blog on this, I once saw a comedian steal another comedians material word for word myself, and was 1)appalled by the fact someone did this, and 2)shocked that someone would actually try to pawn off jokes as his own wittingly. I had gone to Austin to hang out with my best friend, and due to his weird pharmacists hours (he's a legit pharmacist, folks! ), I had a Tuesday night to go check out some of Austin's nightlife. I decided to go to Capitol City Comedy Club and check out their open mic. I saw a lot of funny people go up and a lot of not so funny people. In the crowd, I saw a guy wearing a Martin Lawrence t-shirt with a picture of him and a caption that read "You So Crazy". I had just rented this film of one night of standup and that it was pretty funny. So, eventually, the dude goes up there and is telling jokes and is completely bombing. I saw this shift in his face and then saw him perform the "That's What Friends Are For Bit" from "You So Crazy"!!!

Immediately I stopped and thought, "WTF?! Are you serious." I sat there and shook my head right in front of the guy while he did the bit with a very smug, pissed look on my face. After the show, I went around greeting each of the comics still hanging around and thanking them for making my $3 worthwhile. When it came to him, I totally skipped the dude.

Now, I've seen one comic pull off another persons material in an acceptable manner. I was at an open mic in Schaumburg and this older guy comes up, does 7 minutes of his own material and then says, "Now, if you bear with me, I'd like to pay tribute to the great, late Rodney Dangerfield". He then rats off a boatload of Rodney jokes, complete with actions, inflections, and timing. Fantastic fawkin' job!

As for Carlos, I have to see how this plays out. Like Joe said, he is a fantastic performer and at least until now, I've always felt he was a great comic. Carlos, if you are stealing sh*t, you need to stop it. Drop all the stolen stuff from your act, Carlos, and get to work on new stuff that's even better than those items heavily inspired/stolen. If you haven't stolen a thing, then you still need to drop anything under question and come back with new, original stuff. The jury is still out on this for me so I'd like to see some new stuff come out and squash the rumours once and for all.

In general, one can steal a joke as long as that person gives credit to the originator. I remember hanging out with my friends in high school and that same best friend of mine would use my jokes. Everytime he would, I'd yell "GIVE ME CREDIT!". Holy shizzle! That just came to me to. I guess I've always been this way about the craft of comedy.
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By Dionne Warwick
Release date: 25 October, 1990

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