Carlos Mencia and friends punish Cleveland with laughter

Dave Bolger

Carlos Mencia performed his controversial stand-up act the Palace Theatre in Cleveland on Sunday. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARLOS MENCIA

Credit: Jason Hall

There is a reason why Carlos Mencia’s nationwide comedy tour is called “The Punisher Tour.” Mencia and his band of traveling comedians poke fun at every gender, ethnic background and religion; they even inserted a few digs about the Cleveland Browns.

Cristela Alonzo is one of Mencia’s opening comics on “The Punisher Tour” as well as the only Hispanic writer on the popular Comedy Central television show, “Mind of Mencia.”

“(Mencia) is the kind of guy who will do anything for anybody, really,” Alonzo said. “He works so hard to get as good as he is at what he does.”

The 27-year-old Alonzo began her career as a stand-up comedian. After seeing a few of her shows, Mencia took her under his wing and offered her a job as a writer on his show.

“I think that he noticed me not only because I’m Hispanic and I’m a girl, but also because I’m really not that much like a girl,” Alonzo explained, laughing. “I’d go out when I was in college and drink guys under the table, guys who were twice my size. I was the ‘cool’ girl.”

Mencia is well-known for exploiting the ignorance of his audience. He has built his reputation on shocking the audience while making them think about cultural differences.

Mencia stood on stage for an hour and half Sunday night boldly and bravely discussing racism, religion, homosexuality and racial profiling. He raised questions such as “Why is it so hard for Superman to get Lois Lane?” and “Why are we paying so much money to rebuild New Orleans on the same spot?” or even “Who cares what Michael Richards said about black people?”

“White people are all afraid to laugh,” Mencia said on stage Sunday night. “That’s why all you guys become serial killers.”

Like him or not, Mencia is fearless on stage.

The comedians who make up “The Punisher Tour” come from all different backgrounds which makes it easier to make fun of every ethnic background equally and effectively.

Jo Koy, an Asian comedian said, “People are always coming up to me and saying ‘Oh, you’re Asian? I love orange chicken!'”

Mencia even invited Brad Williams, a dwarf, along for his tour. At the end of the show, Mencia and Williams did the “Oompa-Loompa” dance.

The most common title that the media give to Carlos Mencia is an “equal-opportunity offender.” It may be slightly overused, but it describes him and the comedians on his tour perfectly.

Contact ALL correspondent Dave Bolger at [email protected].