November 30, 2011
Joke theft: the only thing stand up comics take VERY seriously.
Carlos Mencia is “back.” Not everyone is thrilled…
Consider the profile’s discussion of Mencia’s infamous set of interviews with Marc Maron on Maron’s WTF podcast. The piece describes them as “a still-controversial series of interviews that burnished Mr. Maron’s reputation but cast a harsh light on Mr. Mencia,” as though there’s some debate about whether Maron used Mencia or depicted him unfairly. So far as I can gather, there isn’t (nor, in my opinion, should there be).
In reference to the podcast, the profile also provides a rather troubling quote from Mencia himself. If it aired years before, Mencia says, “I would have told truths about Steve [Trevino] and Willie [Barcena; two comics whom Maron interviewed on the podcast, who said a number of damaging things about Mencia] that they never ever would want anybody to know. I’d be ruthless and very cruel and hurtful.” The profile calls this Mencia’s “version of the high road,” but really it’s anything but: It allows Mencia to insinuate that he knows horrible things about those two men without having to provide any evidence that he actually does. (…)
All of which makes it difficult to feel sympathy for Mencia. And he’s not entirely undeserving of it: Other comics, including Dane Cook and Robin Williams, have been accused of joke theft multiple times without suffering severe professional consequences the way Mencia has. And the fellow comic who took it on himself to make the accusations public, Joe Rogan (most famous for hosting Fear Factor), seems, frankly, like a bully and a jerk, one who handled the matter in pretty much the most obnoxious and self-aggrandizing manner possible.
Dane Cook hasn’t “suffered”? Really? Yes, he’s super successful now but predictably, that fact has also lowered him further in the eyes of his (notoriously jealous, grudge-holding) peers (see above) and within rabid fandom.
Now, his peers (and their devoted, side-taking fans) don’t pay his mortgage, but that still has to matter on some level:
BTW: Maron’s podcast is where comedians go to talk at great length (and in sometimes painfully intimate detail) about what it’s like to do comedy. Maron’s a neurotic liberal who isn’t as smart as he thinks he is (but I repeat myself). However, if you like getting inside “artist’s” heads, you might “like” it. It’s sort of like Inside the Actor’s Studio, but with anecdotes about $25 hookers, and comparing the different effects produced by various drugs.