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Ron Funches Brings Funch-a-Mania Tour to Turner Hall Ballroom

Aug. 7, 2017
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Photo via ronfunches.com

Chicago, our closest true “big city” neighbor, can be a rough place to grow up. It’s been dubbed “Chiraq” in recent years due to the high rate of violence in the city, which has even prompted a response from the President. This is a fact comedian Ron Funches hilariously points out in his 2015 album The Funches of Us saying, “That’s a really tough place to grow up in, especially if you’re the only brother on the block that’s into bumping Alanis Morissette.” 

Funches’s standup expertly blends both of these worlds: his rugged hometown, and his natural oddball personality. He is equally comfortable cracking jokes about his love of “ignorant rap music” as he calls it (“If you can rhyme titties, with titties, I’ll buy your whole collection,” he jokes) as he is taking on abstract, goofy subjects like having to prove you aren’t a robot to your computer. 

He named his latest tour Funch-a-Mania, a nod to his lifelong professional wrestling fandom. “I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was about five years old,” he tells me. “I grew up in a house that was all ladies, and my uncle would take me out to go see Hulk Hogan, Earthquake and The Nasty Boys. Then I fell in love with wrestling, and I have been ever since. That’s why I called this tour Funch-a-Mania. To me the biggest entertainment event in the world is WrestleMania, so I was like, ‘Hey, here comes the big comedy event. You don’t want to miss Funch-a-Mania, and we’re going to keep it going hopefully for 40 years just like WrestleMania.’” 

For Funches, wrestling is more than just the inspiration for a catchy tour name. He sees a direct connection between the two art forms. “They are two different art forms that people kind of make fun of you for getting into when you start,” he says. “Then you kind of make money off of the fact that people think it’s silly and fake. It’s very similar. Wrestlers are very funny, but most comedians can’t wrestle.” 

Off the stage, Funches has made his mark in a variety of comedic mediums. He has made memorable appearances on iconic late night shows like “Conan” and “The Tonight Show,” along with newer upstarts like “Desus and Mero” and “@midnight,” where he has won more than 20 times.

He has chalked up writing credits on “The Eric Andre Show,” “Kroll Show” and a number of pilots. His voiceover catalogue includes Trolls, “Bob’s Burgers,” and “Adventure Time,” and he has had supporting roles on “New Girl,” “Blackish” and “Transparent.” 

When we talked, he was especially proud of an episode he shot for the new season of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” While he’s not sure if his scene will make it to the final version, it’s an experience he cherishes. “I shot an episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and met Larry David,” he says. “That made me happy and I'll always have that memory.”

Even with his success on the screen and in the writer’s room, standup is still what he holds closest, even if there are some drawbacks. “I like standup the most because it’s the most fun and the most immediate,” he says. “There are much less rules, and I like that, but it doesn’t pay as much as acting. People don’t know you as much for standup unless you do a little bit of acting. They both have their plusses and minuses, but I want to do both until people don’t want to see me anymore. Which I hope is a long, long time from now.”

Ron Funches will perform on Thursday, Aug. 10 at Turner Hall Ballroom. You can purchase tickets here.

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