Aries Spears Says Joe Rogan Single-Handedly Destroyed Carlos Mencia’s Career

The ‘MADtv’ star accused Rogan of hypocrisy when it comes to joke-stealing scandals
Aries Spears Says Joe Rogan Single-Handedly Destroyed Carlos Mencia’s Career

That vein in Joe Rogan’s forehead might finally burst if the anti-woke comedy king ever finds out another podcaster called Carlos Mencia, “The first comedian that ever got canceled.”

The showdown between Rogan and Mencia one February night in 2007 at the Comedy Store in Hollywood is etched in comedy history. After years of attacking the Mind of Mencia star online and on-stage over Mencia's alleged plagiarism of other popular comedians’ material, including the works of George Lopez, Ari Shaffir and Bobby Lee, Rogan confronted Mencia with a slew of derogatory remarks and pointed accusations for which Mencia could only offer tepid rebuttals. The next year, Comedy Central canceled Mind of Mencia, and the comic whose meteoric rise seemed to have no ceiling quickly slid out of the comedy zeitgeist. Today, many humor fans remember Mencia mainly for the joke-stealing scandal and his ensuing clashes with both Rogan and Lopez, but Aries Spears recalls a bit more of the story.

On a recent episode of the podcast VladTV, the MADtv star said that Rogan’s campaign against Mencia was solely responsible for the disintegration of the latter’s career and offered a measured defense of Mencia and other similarly accused comics, saying, “People will sometimes see somebody do something on television, and then when they see another comic do it on the road, they say, ‘Oh you stole that,’ and I always go, ‘Just because you saw him do it first don’t mean they did it first.’” 

Well, I definitely saw Chappelle’s Show on TV before Mencia did it worse.

“Joe Rogan, by the way, I think, single-handedly destroyed his career,” Spears said of the recent VladTV guest when his name came up. Spears said that, like many comedians, he, himself, has faced joke-stealing allegations early in his career. “I might have lifted a line from somebody – Greer Barnes,” he confessed, though he said, “I’m not trying to make an excuse, but I was 14, it’s my first time getting my feet wet, and I just didn’t know any better.”

Mencia, Spears admits, did know better — and, though many comedians cover similar subjects, when you’re caught repeating someone else’s joke “verbatim, word for word,” there’s going to be consequences. “The reason why that stuck to Carlos like that was because there was footage of Ari Shaffir doing a joke, then you cut to footage of Carlos verbatim, there was footage of George Lopez doing a joke — Carlos verbatim,” referencing the video Rogan posted online following the famous confrontation with side-by-side comparisons of Mencia’s material to that of his alleged plagiarism victims.

However, Spears later said that he takes issue with how Rogan handled the aftermath, saying that he didn’t bring a similar career-killing fire to later instances of alleged joke theft. “Here’s what bothered me about the Joe Rogan thing,” Spears said, “He basically ended Carlos’ career, but where was that same energy with Amy Schumer?,” referencing Schumer’s own public controversy when “her” jokes were similarly edited alongside comics such as Kathleen Madigan, Tammy Pescatelli and Kevin Nealon doing them first, word for word.

At the time, Rogan defended Schumer, calling the similarity between the jokes “parallel thinking.” Said Spears, “So for Amy Schumer, it’s ‘parallel thinking,’ but for Carlos, it was, ‘He’s a thief?’”

With this, Spears poses an impossible conundrum for Joe Rogan fans: Call out Rogan for hypocrisy, or cut Schumer some slack?

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