In Carlos Mencia's new stand-up special, "Carlos Mencia: New Territory," the controversial comedian debuts a nuevo Mencia -- starting with a 70 pound weight loss since television audiences last saw him on "Mind of Mencia" in 2008.
But when the special airs next Tuesday, Dec. 6, audiences will decide whether Mencia is truly approaching "new territory," or returning to old. He recently told The New York Times that his new special represents the culmination of a period of reflection and self-discovery that saw its apex in a high-voltage interview on the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" in which Maron addressed Mencia's alleged joke thievery.
Since early in his career, Mencia has been dogged by accusations that he stole jokes from contemporaries such as George Lopez and Ari Shaffir, and even Bill Cosby. Several highly-viewed YouTube videos that supposedly provided the smoking gun that Mencia stole material damaged his reputation among fellow comedians.
Of his "WTF" interview, which brought many new listeners to Maron's podcast, Mencia said, "I was defeated. ... I don’t know what to say. That was the beginning of the realization that, like it or not, I’m complicit in this."
He sought therapy and took the effort to re-examine why many audiences reacted with such intense negatively to his jokes, which often address the American immigrant experience with a less-than-sympathetic viewpoint. Based on the clip above, "New Territory" appears to have not strayed far from that subject, but it remains to be seen whether Mencia's hiatus from the spotlight resulted in more introspective material.
Regardless, Mencia lost an impressive amount of weight. Mencia told The Times that he lost weight when a diabetic friend pointed out he was overweight. Laughspin identified the friend as fellow comic Gabriel Iglesias.