In this era of constant internships and side hustles, most of us have idly dreamed of making a living out of watching wrestling, playing video games, smoking weed and talking shit, without ever following through and making it happen.
American comedian, actor and writer Ron Funches is someone who has successfully committed himself to this lifestyle, as he freely informed audiences during his recent Melbourne International Comedy Festival run – and it looks like he’s having the last giggle.
You might best know Funches from his on-screen appearances on Kroll Show, in which he plays a lawyer defending Dr Armond (Nick Kroll) on a murder charge; the “street musician” in an episode of New Girl; Shelly in Undateable; Jojo in Get Hard; and as the voice of Cooper in Trolls.
As an act, Funches exuded laugh-out-loud laughter. Those who have witnessed his praiseworthy weight loss might have expected a concurrent loss in cuteness or a difference in delivery style, but that is simply not the case. As Funches tells Catalyst: “I probably speak a little quicker because I weigh a lot less. I’ve always just written about my life so nothing has really changed in that regard.”
His routine covered his rags-to-riches story, and especially well-placed for his Australian audiences was an anecdote at the start of his set about buying a house. (Another joke involving the transposition of Hungry Jack’s into a bit involving a fast food restaurant was also warmly received.)
Perhaps it was the night that Catalyst attended, but both Funches and his warm-up act at The Comic’s Lounge, Ciaran Lyons, tested the waters with jokes involving their mums and various sexual scenarios.
As Funches says, comedy has always pushed the boundary between being amused and offended: “You just have to try hard and write what you truly think is funny. That’s timeless.”
Raising a son with autism and “completing” his first marriage at 27 (i.e. getting a divorce) is seemingly too challenging to turn into comedic material, however Funches did so with pathos and authenticity. This is reflective of his thinking process, which he generously shared with Catalyst:
Life is funny in general and I enjoy mining the positive out of negative situations. I see no point in ignoring the negatives in life, if it exists, I want to talk and joke about it. I’ve found people really relate to my material about my son and representation matters. My son is the most important part of my life so it would be weird not to talk about him.
With Funches concluding his Australian tour at the end of April, it’s clear that he convinced his Melbourne audiences that, as well as being funny, Funches is “a sweet human and positive force”, and someone whose audiences have left “happy and re-energised for the world.”
With Funches set to feature in upcoming movies and TV shows, it’s also clear that he’s applied one of his main lessons from working with people like Kroll and Eric Andre, which he says is “To really enjoy and care about what you’re working on because it’s a battle every day to get it to make the air. To trust my sensibilities and my friends.”
We should look forward to Funches’ development through his continued work “on becoming a better comedian, actor, writer, businessman, and person.”
Asked by Catalyst for any advice to up-and-coming comics, Funches replies “Enjoy where you’re at in your career at all times. It will always be a struggle. The best gift we have is our time with each other.” One can’t help but think that being able to replicate just a little bit of Ron Funches’ gregariousness will also work wonders.