Most people know the name Carlos Mencia from his work as a stand-up comedian and his Comedy Central show “The Mind of Mencia.” Now, fans can enjoy his humor on the big screen as Mencia stars in his first feature film “The Heartbreak Kid” alongside Ben Stiller.
In the film, Mencia – who contrary to popular belief is Honduran not Mexican – plays Uncle Tito, a Mexican hotel employee who can find anything for anyone.
During a phone interview with me, Mencia talked about the nerve-wracking audition process, one of his worst experiences with the opposite sex and, surprisingly, politics.
How does it feel to finish the first feature film of your career with “The Heartbreak Kid?”
It’s been a blast, bro. It’s funny because doing stand-up gets one reaction from fans. People will come up to you and tell you you’re funny. Then when you’re on TV people come up to you like they’re your best friends. But when you end up in a movie, bro, that’s a whole other deal. People look at you like you’re a god. It’s kind of creepy and weird, bro.
And this is not just any movie. This is directed by the Farrelly Brothers (“There’s Something About Mary”), so you had to be excited about that.
Yeah, it’s at a different level. I was so lucky to be in a movie with the Farrelly Brothers and Ben Stiller and Jerry Stiller. The characters and the acting are unbelievable. For this to be my first, it’s almost sickening, bro. I’m not a jealous person, but I’m jealous of myself.
So, I guess this is a good way to pop your cherry?
You know, this is a great way to pop a cherry, man. This is one of those things where my first encounter was so good, every other one’s never gonna compare.
Tell me how you got involved in the film in the first place. Did you have to audition for the role?
Well, they first asked me if I was interested in the film. I was like, “Well, what is the character?” They’re were like, “Well, it’s this Mexican guy that works at a hotel.” I was like, “Eh, I don’t know. Really? That’s it?” So, then I read the script and it was really funny. Then I felt like an asshole because after I read the script I was like, “I better be in this movie!” Then they told me, “Well, you have to come read for it.” So, I went and read for it and I was like, “Man, I hope I did good.” And they were like, “It was great. Can you come in and do it one more time?” So, I read for it again. And then they said, “We really like you but we don’t know.” So, I was like, “I’ll do whatever you need.” Then I got the part. Then it turns out that they had me in mind for it the whole time.
Tell me about your character Uncle Tito and also explain to me why it’s not Tio Tito?
It would have been Tio Tito, but then I would have had to explain what tio means. Here’s how I created this character: First I gained about 20 lbs. Then I put on a wig and a porn [mou]stache. I looked like the Frito Bandito. Then I talked to my Uncle Jose, whose Mexican, for about two hours. Then I have a friend named Manuel. Manuel was the guy in the neighborhood that knew how to get anything for anybody. So if you said, “I need to buy a TV, bro” he would say, “No, don’t go to Circuit City. Listen, go to the place in the corner. Ask for Johnny.” So, I put all of that together and put a little bit of me and that’s how I came up with Uncle Tito.
I bet gaining weight for the role was fun.
Yeah, I ate doughnuts and nachos everyday. It was awesome. Someone told me, “You really don’t have to gain weight for the role.” I was like, “Yeah I do.”
So, in “The Heartbreak Kid” Ben Stiller’s character gets married to a woman he really doesn’t know and finds out she is not what he expected. Without naming names, tell me about one of the worst relationships you’ve ever been in.
Ah, dude, there was this chick that was like, “I want you to move in with me. I want us to be together. I want us to get married.” So, we got a two-bedroom apartment but she wanted me to sleep in one and her in the other. I was like, “Whoa. I thought we were together. What’s this bullshit?” She was like, “No, I don’t want my mom to think…” I was like, “You’re mom’s not here. What do you mean?” Turns out she was just using me. She was banging one of my friends. She turned out to be the biggest whore on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, that’s what I liked about her in the first place, but she could have told me she just wanted to be friends.
You’re on tour right now with your stand-up show. Is touring something you think comedians need to do to stay at the top of their game. I mean, these days some comedians just rely on the internet and word-of-mouth to stay accessible.
Here’s how you can look at it: With my show, TV is always there. Movies are like the really hot chick that I don’t think I’ll get, but I’m chasing no matter what. That’s Scarlett Johansson. That’s Jessica Biel. Then, stand-up is always going to be my booty call, bro.
Let’s talk about your stand-up. Some people would say that you push the limits with some of the things you say. Is there a line that a comedian shouldn’t cross?
Nah, it’s comedy, man. It’s intended to be funny. If you take that serious, it’s to your detriment. I don’t understand who goes to a comedy show and takes shit seriously. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I try not to say things just for the sake of saying them. I hope that they’re funny and they mean something. [Comedians] are savvy people. Don’t think for a second that comedians are stupid.
I read that you’re going to be doing stand-up for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Have you decided who you are going to be backing in ’08?
It’s way too early to do that. I still have to hear what everyone is saying. I don’t care about color. I’m not going to vote for someone just because they are Latino or black. I’m also not going to vote for somebody just because they are female.
So, instead you can vote for the one that makes you laugh the most.
Um. Maybe, but I don’t think so. I really want our president to be good at their job, not funny. We already have a funny president and I don’t really think that’s working out.