While some people avoid the topics of race, culture and social class in general conversation, comedian and actor Carlos Mencia uses them as comedic fodder. Much of this multitalented performer's insightful material -- from man-on-the-street interviews to commercial parodies to films -- is inspired by his background.
Mencia was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the 17th of 18 children. When he was 3 months old, his parents sent him to the United States to be raised by his aunt and uncle in the Maravilla Projects in Los Angeles. He moved back to Honduras in his early teens to avoid the East Los Angeles gang culture, but later returned to the U.S. to finish high school.
Mencia launched his comedy career at the Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, where he established himself as a successful act in the L.A. comedy circuit. He was later named International Comedy Grand Champion from "Buscando Estrellas," the Latin version of "Star Search." His win was followed by appearances on "In Living Color," "The Arsenio Hall Show," "Moesha" and "An Evening at the Improv." In 2002, he received a CableACE Award nomination for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special for his HBO special.
The comedian's own series, "Mind of Mencia," went into development following the success of his solo DVD "Carlos Mencia: Not for the Easily Offended." The show debuted in 2005 on Comedy Central and became one of the network's strongest shows. His 2011 Comedy Central special "New Territory" grew out of a personal journey towards self-improvement, including his loss of 70 pounds and tweaks to his stand-up routine.
Mencia has performed in movies including "The Heartbreak Kid," the 2010 family comedy "Our Family Wedding" and the 2012 documentary "Phunny Business: A Black Comedy."
More recently, Mencia has returned to his comedy roots, touring, performing and writing -- and bringing laughter to audiences around the world with his current tour, "C 4 Urself Tour."