INSIDE JOKES: A man-to-man with comedian Carlos Valencia
A couple things before we get to my interview with Carlos Valencia.
1. I hope to do more of these Q-and-As in the future. I think (hope) it’s fun for both parties.
2. Don’t forget about The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes at the end of the interview. Enjoy.
CARLOS VALENCIA is one of those comics who can truthfully send you emails with phrases like “I’m hanging with Stanhope tonight …” but you don’t begrudge him — for long. You kind of want to be him, because drinking with Doug Stanhope sounds fun and dangerous, but then you remember that being somebody else is impossible and you drink another beer or, in my case, another six beers and you start thinking about how insignificant we all are.
Wow, that got deep. Sorry.
I asked Valencia, who is on a Midwest tour that will take him to the Skyline Comedy Cafe in Appleton, Wis., Sept. 27-29, to answer seven questions I had prepared for him, and he did.
Here’s the transcript:
TC: I read in the piece you wrote for Laughspin that emcees mispronounce your name a lot. Anybody ever introduced you as Carlos Mencia (an admitted joke stealer)?
CV: If I got a penny for every time I’ve been introduced as Carlos Mencia, I’d be a magician that can turn life events into material objects such as copper coins. But I’m not, so I just have to accept every Carlos Mencia introduction for free.
Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of Carlos Mencia, so having to be introduced as him isn’t the greatest thing in the world. I imagine it would be a little better if my name was something closer to Richard Fryer.
I’m used to it by now though, so whenever I get introduced as Mencia, I just apologize to the people that are disappointed and reassure them I will be doing my own material.
TC: When they get your name wrong, how do you handle it?
CV: Aside from the Mencia instances, I pretty much just ignore it, unless it goes beyond a mispronunciation and they’re just saying something else altogether. I mention my name a couple of times during my set, so if I get introduced as Ricky Velendes — as I was in Florida — then I have to correct it so the audience doesn’t think I’m trying to pull a fast one on them by claiming to be someone different from who the host said I was.
TC: I saw you open for Stanhope in Raleigh, N.C. — great set, by the way — and loved your bit about Milwaukee’s Best being “beer-flavored water.” What’s your drink of choice and can you hold your own with Stanhope, a man known not only for being a brilliant comedian, but also a prodigious drinker and drug-taker?
CV: My drink of choice fluctuates between how broke I am at the time. My favorite beer is “What’s on special?” I make fun of the Beast and PBR, but I drink shit like that all the time. That’s just because I’m broke though. Yuengling is my beer of choice, unless I’m getting free beers, then I get a Newcastle. If I’m getting free alcohol, then I usually go for shots of Patron, Scotch or vodka-soda.
I actually just started drinking vodka-sodas recently because that’s what Stanhope was drinking on the road. We’d always travel with a few bottles of vodka and some mixers, so I started drinking what he was having and I ended up liking it.
I could never keep up with him though. In the Laughspin piece, I quote our mutual friend, comic Andy Andrist, as saying, “Drinking with Stanhope is like trying to keep up with African marathoners.” I think Andy’s right. Even though I drink at almost every show, my drinking doesn’t usually commence until after I’ve gotten over the previous night’s drunkenness. Doug never seemed to have this recovery period problem and was always good to go in the middle of the afternoon the next day.
TC: Has your career gotten a boost after opening for Stanhope during the Southeast leg of “The Big Stink” tour?
CV: For sure. Doing those 17 shows with him expanded my drug connections to about 17 more cities. Career-wise, working with Stanhope has been great because I get to be exposed to bigger, better crowds and more people are likely to pay attention if you’re working with a veteran, respected comedian. Pretty much, I’m trying to leech as many fans off of Stanhope as possible is what I’m saying.
TC: You live in Atlanta. What’s the comedy scene like there and have you met (large Atlanta comic) Bruce Bruce?
CV: I started my comedy career in Charlotte and moved to Atlanta about three years ago. Charlotte could barely support a small scene and didn’t even have a comedy club open at the time. Atlanta has a vibrant scene with a lot of great comics and several clubs for them to perform in.
Only drawback about Atlanta is that once you get out of the city, you’re pretty much surrounded by shit. To the north, you have South Carolina, to the west you have Alabama and rural Georgia is all around. I’m not saying South Carolina, Alabama and rural Georgia are filled with dumb rednecks…well, actually, I probably am.
I’ve met Bruce, but I’ve yet to meet Bruce.
TC: In these interviews, people always ask the comic who their favorite comedian is, but — as I learned in the Laughspin column — I know Stanhope is your favorite (and mine). Who’s a comic you like who the masses might not know?
CV: Kerry White helped me out a lot when I was starting out, but beyond that, I always enjoyed watching him perform. We would do rural, Southern, redneck gigs and he would challenge them on everything from NASCAR to racism. Along with Stanhope, he’s the most fearless comic I’ve ever worked with, but unfortunately he doesn’t perform anymore. It’s a shame more people didn’t get to see him live. He’s got some good clips on YouTube some of which I recorded and edited.
Of the guys who are still working, but aren’t famous, I love guys like Paul Hooper, Matt Davis, Mike Stanley and the guys Stanhope picked for the tour are all great too: Geoff Tate, Junior Stopka and Brett Erickson.
TC: You’ve now been doing stand-up for seven years and counting. Do you love it more or less than when you started?
CV: I love it more when it’s not being cunty. Unfortunately, the longer I do it, the more often it’s a cunt.
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have trouble thinking of new things to say.
— Alex Baze (@bazecraze) September 23, 2012
Follow @Castleberry74 if you’re a good American.