"Mind of Mencia" is one of the latest Comedy Central shows and features popular stand-up Carlos Mencia, whose humor mainly revolves around being "politcally incorrect" and going after a wealth of different races and stereotypes. Has it been done before? Absolutely, but Mencia still manages to sell some of the gags. Some bits don't work - and when they don't work, it's either due to fault of writing or the fact that Mencia often feels the need to underline how "controversial" he is.
Most of the 30-minute series allows Mencia to riff on-stage (such as bits about current headlines, joking about celebrities) in front of an audience, but there are moments where Mencia ventures out into public to chat with passerby and the occasional skits. I do know that at the end of my review of the second season of the series, I hoped that Mencia would kick out his entire writing staff and get some fresh material in so that we would not get another season of racial jokes, bathroom humor, midget jokes, more racial jokes, obvious rants and his tired "dee dee dee" (what he says when he believes something is "retarded") bit. As of season 4, I'm still waiting.
The show clearly appears to be serving as a replacement for the sadly departed Comedy Central series "Chappelle's Show" (the end credits of the first episode joke about the similarities), but Mencia's similarities to "Chappelle's Show" only serve to highlight how it doesn't appear as if anything will likely ever compare with what "Chappelle" was able to produce for 2 and a half seasons. Dave Chappelle - and it's more evident now looking back on some of the "Chappelle's Show" material again a couple of years later - has simply raised the bar too high.
Mencia's material often goes for the cheap laugh (and over the same ground), but the few bits that seem fresh and as if they've had some thought put into them stand out and bring the show up a little. "Chappelle's Show" deserved the praise it got and the audience it brought because Chappelle's bits on race (Chappelle's intention was not to build up stereotypes, but to break them down through humor) and other subjects were insightful, intelligent ("Chappelle"'s had moments of downright brilliance), original and are dense with little gags (you can watch "Chappelle" skits again and again and appreciate little, throwaway jokes.)
When Mencia launches into parodies, it's not because he has new insights or anything really that clever to offer - it's just so he can have another entry point for a racial joke. The comedian also continues to act like the series is the funniest thing that has ever been created, cracking up and nearly rolling on the floor at some of his gags. One rant that opens an episode has Mencia going on about how if people are upset about outsourcing, then they should stop buying products made overseas. I wonder where the microphone he's yelling into about not buying overseas products was made. There are no insights offered in this rant, simply a chance for Mencia to string a bunch of racial jokes together. Political jokes consist of gags like...John McCain is old (as well as some political one-liners that are so terrible in more ways than one I won't even mention them here.)
One suggestion to Comedy Central - replace Carlos Mencia with a truly funny comedian - Ralphie May. You could even call it "Mind of May".
VIDEO: "Mind of Mencia" is presented by Paramount in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The presentation certainly was equal to broadcast quality, as while sharpness and detail were not exceptional, the image remained consistently crisp and offered fine definition. Some slight shimmering occasionally was spotted, but otherwise, no faults were noticed. Colors looked bright and spot-on, with good saturation and no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The show's stereo soundtrack captures background audio, audience chatter and dialogue perfectly fine.
EXTRAS: Short "Mencia Minutes" clips (Carlos talking about current events in random places) that appear thrown together, as well as deleted scenes and clips of Mencia talking to the audience during the break.
Final Thoughts: Four seasons in and "Mind of Mencia" hasn't gotten fresher or funnier, with jokes that continue to go over the same ground. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a few minor extras. Skip it.