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Carlos Mencia regards Chicago as his kind of town

Carlos Mencia

♦ 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Saturday

♦ UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North

♦ Tickets, $30

♦ upcomedyclub.com, (312) 662-4562

Eight years ago, Carlos Mencia leaped into homes across the country with his comedy television series, “Mind of Mencia.” Now, five years after the show’s end, Mencia continues to reach fans through his comedy performances and broadcasting his podcast, “Laughin’ and Livin’.”

Mencia performs a second night Saturday at the UP Comedy Club.

The comedian said he is a big fan of Chicago and plans to visit family members that live in the northwest suburbs.

“It is a big city with a Midwestern mentality,” Mencia said. “It is real people. I don’t think any other city could ever have the Cubs and still sell out Wrigley Field. It is a town that embraces the journey and not the destination.”

The comedian understands loyalty and shows it by heading abroad to entertain U.S. troops for the past 20 years. “I earn a living by freedom of speech,” Mencia said. “Those guys are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that I can say whatever I want while I am onstage. You can’t take that for granted.”

Mencia said he never considered pursuing a comedy career until his friends, who enjoyed his sense of humor, encouraged Mencia to try performing at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles while still an electrical engineering student at a state college.

He never looked back and learned an appreciation for fellow comedians such as Eddie Murphy, George Carlin and Richard Pryor.

“I became a student of comedy at that moment,” Mencia said.

Comedy success soon led to appearances on television shows such as “In Living Color,” “The Arsenio Hall Show” and “An Evening at the Improv.”

Comedy Central came calling and the comedian became the star and executive producer of his own show, “Mind of Mencia” in 2005. He went on to star in movies such as “The Heartbreak Kid” and “The Family Wedding.”

The comedian was mum on upcoming projects but did say several comedy pilots in the works may bring him back to the small screen soon.

In the meantime, Mencia continues to tour answers questions from audience members at the end of his live comedy shows as the basis for his podcast.

“Comedians have taken the place of philosophers of yesteryear like Socrates and Plato,” Mencia said. “They would talk about not just the future but what was happening to them. What other art in the whole world is that possible?”



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