Comedian-actor-writer Ron Funches was in Chicago last night for a packed show at the historic Thalia Hall. The visit, one of many stops on his Funch-A-Mania Tour, was a trip home for Funches, who was raised in The Windy City many years prior to his burgeoning career as a comedian and sitcom fan-favorite. The former Undateable co-star and frequent scene-stealer showed love for his childhood home, taking the stage to thundering applause while donning an old school-style Chicago Bulls satin Starter jacket.
Funches kicked of the Friday night all-ages event, saying he had better bring the laughs or his mother, who was also in attendance at the show, would force him to go get a job at Aldi. Family was one of the many topics hilariously explored throughout the night as Funches willingly shared bits and pieces of his off-stage life through a series of quips and long-form stories. While jokes at the expense of his mom, who could be seen taking it all in stride from a side-stage booth, brought many a laugh, it was a hilarious extended anecdote involving his 14 -year-old autistic son Malcolm and an extra saucy pizza that brought down the house.
There were dozens of laugh-out-loud moments throughout Funches’ set, several of which came during an account of a fight he found himself engaged in while attempting to buy some pot in Canada. The “funchspiracies” portion of the evening, which saw the comedian calling into question the all-too-familiar negative effects OS updates (accompanying the latest iPhone releases) have on your current device, also had fans rolling.
One of the many highlights of the evening came in the form of material centered on Funches’ apparent infatuation with blockbuster action movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, whom he hilariously coined “the Beyonce for boys.” The venue erupted in its entirety as Funches shared details of a fantasy, involving his eating ice cream while riding on the shoulders of the man he refers to as “the greatest actor of our generation.”
Prior to Funches taking the stage, fans enjoyed some comedic musings from Second City alum Martin Morrow, whose set pinnacled with a funny bit about a time he got booed while opening up for Katt Williams. Gabe Dinger followed with a strong set of material, covering everything from his hatred of babies to the perceived benefits of being a young child of divorce. The comedian drew big laughs on more than one occasion, particularly with an extended anecdote about underwear shopping, prior to welcoming friend and fellow comedian Funches to the stage.
Though currently more widely known for his onscreen work, Funches is on the verge of carving out a solid live comedy reputation with an ever-growing audience. He has many desirable attributes, one of which is his ability and willingness to make a sincere connection with fans. Unlike the bulk of his peers, he has honed a unique skill-set that allows him to break down the invisible wall between audience and performer, creating a one-of-a-kind live show experience that’s comfortable, welcoming and utterly hilarious.
Funches’ niche interests, obscure references and inclination to pull comedy from mundane topics all help fuel a stand-up routine that’s fresh and offbeat. If you like jokes about poetry, shepherd’s pie and outdated television shows like Quantum Leap, Ron Funches‘ Funch-A-Mania is the show for you.
(Photos by Laurie Fanelli)