Ned Amel Mencia, better known as Carlos Mencia, is a stand-up comedian who experienced the full wrath of fellow comedians that resulted in his downfall. However, Carlos is not faint-hearted, and even when under pressure, he held his ground. He may have taken some time off to get things in order but returned to the stage since making people laugh is a full-time job. The 53-year old owes all his success to comedy; Carlos Mencia's net worth is now at $20 million, and here is how he achieved it.
Looking Back to His Childhood
Carlos Mencia did not have cable growing up. As the 17th child out of 18 children born to a Honduran father and Mexican mother, money was tight. His father was a construction worker and truck driver but more of a dreamer and philosopher in Carlos' eyes. Maybe that is the reason that prompted him and his wife to give Carlos to his aunt. Carlos' aunt and uncle could not have a child of their own, and with 18 mouths to feed, it seemed the most logical thing to do. Consequently, Carlos was raised as an only child by his aunt and uncle, but they all lived in the same neighborhood. He said that he got the best of both worlds being raised alone but still enjoying the company of his siblings and love from two sets of parents.
Without television to deter him from his education, Carlos barely stayed up late, so he got good grades, especially in math. Still, that never kept him away from local gangs, so he sold drugs and burglarized once a home. Fortunately, he was focused on a better life in future, so he managed to graduate from Garfield High School. Combined with his love for electronics, Carlos decided to pursue electrical engineering at California State University, Los Angeles. To meet his expenses, Carlos had to work fulltime in the printing department of Farmers insurance company.
Embracing Comedy as A God-given Gift
As published by Mercury News, the first time Carlos stepped on stage, he realized that God gave him the gift of making people laugh. He had been the clown at his workplace where he was frustrated by the world's state of affairs, but his comments only made his co-workers laugh. He was so hilarious that even his bitter co-worker, Joe, told him to try stand-up comedy, reasoning that if Carlos could make him laugh, then he would crack anyone's ribs with his jokes.
His stars were perfectly aligned because Laugh Factory had an open mike session, so Carlos took a plunge. Without any written content to refer to, he thought it best to steal two jokes from a joke book he bought on the way to the club, but the audience did not find them funny. Therefore, Carlos decided to switch gears and used a reference to news he had heard to crack a joke, and it made people laugh. As soon as he stepped off the stage, he knew that he would not waste the gift by studying electrical engineering or working at Farmers insurance. So he quit his job and dropped out of school to pursue comedy full time.
Unfortunately, his mother was not happy that her son was not going to school. He would have been the first in his family to graduate; thus, she had to call the entire family to have an intervention for Carlos. No one understood what being a comedian was-they thought he wanted to be a clown-, and his father was the only one who supported him, saying he also immigrated to America to be happy, not become rich. With that, Carlos got the family's blessing.
Making Money from His Chosen Career
Laugh Factory provided Carlos with a platform, and while at Comedy Store, he had to change his name from Ned to Carlos to appeal to the Latino audience. It worked, and his star kept rising, enabling him to have his first album "Take a Joke America." Usually, those who work in comedy clubs earn around $200 for a 45-minute show. He later became a host for "Funny is Funny" and formed "Three Amigos" with two other comedians.
By 2005, Carlos had his own show "Mind of Mencia," which was a hit for the first season. In 2004, according to Today, Dave Chappelle had inked a deal worth $50 million with Comedy Central. Since Carlos was replacing the "Dave Chappelle show" but was still not as famous as Dave, he most probably would have earned a bit less; after all, Dave even had been deemed too expensive by NBC Universal Television Group.
Hitting a Rough Patch and Making a Comeback
Everything seemed to be going well for Carlos until Joe Rogan accused him of plagiarism which, as explained by Distractify, made him an outcast among comedians who stick with each other. If you must use someone's jokes, give them credit, which Carlos never did. To this day, he maintains he never stole anyone jokes, but it still affected his career. He said that since Comedy Central advised him not to dress the accusations, it made him appear guilty.
Carlos took some time off the stage and tried making a comeback, but his days of fame were behind him. He started doing shows to entertain those who still wanted to give him another chance. From one who was inking deals with television shows, Carlos was taken back to earning a few dollars per day. For instance, in 2008, he was charging $45.50 per ticket, yet in 2013, the amount was still around the same range of $49-$59. He admitted to Express-News that he had gone from standing at the mountaintop to the valley, asking who wanted to hear a joke. Still, there are no regrets; he made his millions, and his worth has not deteriorated despite hitting a rough patch.
Written by Allen Lee
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