Decked out in all its RSL glory, The Comic’s Lounge is a buzz of activity as patrons sit eagerly awaiting a Ron Funches giggle fit. Filling the room for his debut tour in Australia, it’s a crowd of all ages and genders – proving the likeability and reach Funches has as a performer.
The show begins with a support act from triple j regular Ciaran Lyons. His playful, self-deprecating humour and youthful enthusiasm helps set the tone for the show, even if he has a little trouble getting a reluctant Wednesday night crowd to get rally behind him.
Funches soon takes the stage with a casual energy, telling us he’s excited to visit Australia while chuckling that it looked like a fun place. Granted, all his knowledge is gained from that one episode of The Simpsons. He quickly remarks that it’s not like that at all, and is surprisingly pretty much the same as the USA, but without as many black people. He hits the ground running with some local riffs involving stores he’s seen and how copyright infringement mustn’t be an issue in Australia as there’s no way Biggie Smalls would’ve endorsed a kebab shop.
Pacing back and forth along the stage, Funches takes some time to assess the crowd, openly telling us he’s feeling us out. His material is so silly and playful, it’s hard for him to gauge whether we’re entirely with him or not as he moves through his act. Slowly but surely, the crowd begins to turn as he gleefully exclaims, “now you’re all getting on board with how silly I am.”
While his silliness could easily take control of the entire act, he brilliantly tells a series of personal tales, periodically punctuating them with playful absurdity and his trademark giggle. He’s been through a lot of changes in his life recently, having lost a bunch of weight and had both his mother and Canadian girlfriend move in with him and his son. These new experiences serve as the basis for the show, as Funches takes us through this new chapter of his life, always focusing on the positive nature of things.
It’s the positivity in his material that really allows the audiences to latch onto Funches as a performer. While his soft demeanour easily lends itself to a more light-hearted approach to comedy, the way in which he dissects and presents his opinions of the world is pure joy.
Throughout the show, he continually brings us back to the overarching idea of having dreams and goals, no matter how big they may be. He constantly reiterates that it doesn’t matter if your dreams are hard or unattainable, as long as you strive for something in your life. This is an affirming message to hear, especially from such a cheerful and confident individual whose current goal is to get LeBron James to fuck his Mom.
The show follows a unique and personal path, as Funches discusses his love for Japanese video games (Persona 5, in particular) and reality TV shows (The Great British Bake Off being the greatest of all), but it really picks up when he discusses the relationship he shares with his 16-year-old autistic son. Sharing stories of embarrassment and hilarity about their relationship and how it’s changing and his son gets older, it puts Funches’ heart on full display and the audience can’t help but fall in love with the man.
Throughout his act, Funches never veers far from his message of dreams and goals. He’s a performer that deals in positivity and joy rather than cynicism. With an incredibly varied and impeccably timed set, ranging from dealing with food addiction to his love of professional wrestling, its clear Ron Funches is the type of comedian we all need right now.
Highlight: His amazingly thought out of plan to get LeBron James in bed with his Mom.
Lowlight: The audience taking so long to come around to his sense of humour.
Crowd Favourite: The story of his son eating a pizza with no pants on (and the resulting injuries).