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Review: comedian Ron Funches slays Pyramid Scheme crowd

The 33-year-old comic played four shows at the Pyramid Scheme on March 12 and 13. His offbeat humor and affable demeanor had the crowd laughing for the entirety of his nearly hour-long set.

Wearing a hoodie and jeans, with one hand in his pocket and standing nearly motionless, Ron Funches delivered a fantastic set touching on everything from the WWE to masturbating with coconut oil. The California-born comedian is known for his muted delivery and amiable persona. His material covers a broad range of topics, prone to sharp turns and non sequiturs.

Funches has seen a surge in popularity in the past few years after releasing his first standup album, “The Funches of Us,” and landing a recurring role on NBC’s “Undateable.” Some of his best material from the evening dealt with his newfound success, a topic he approached while still sounding impressively grounded.

Funches’ strongest moments of the night were often improvised. He interrupted a bit to tell a woman to “shut the f--- up,” after she dropped a glass, and the crowd exploded. The angry outburst was a stark contrast to his usual teddy bear-like demeanor—his disarming appearance and high-pitched giggle help him get away with jokes that might turn a crowd against a different comic.

At this performance, the crowd saw a more confident Funches than they might have a few years ago. He himself brought this up, attributing it to his recent surge in popularity and weight loss. His comedy is much better for it. While his delivery was as slow-paced and stoned (literally) as ever, he commanded the crowd in a way we haven’t seen him do before. The packed venue was totally silent during his many dramatic pauses, only to erupt into laughter after each punchline. His high-pitched giggling after some jokes drew nearly as many laughs as the joke itself.

While his comedy draws on many different topics, much of it has to do with marijuana. He joked that he is always high when performing and told a story about getting into a fight in a Canadian pot store. At the beginning of his set he warned the crowd to expect “some left turns” because he was “pretty stoned right now.”

Funches is a great comedian because one never knows what to expect from him. Even though some of the topics he brings up in his act have been covered by countless other comics (smoking pot and relationship struggles, for example), he does it in such a unique and refreshing way that the material still comes off as original.

This is in sharp contrast to the opener, Matt Lauria. Lauria’s jokes were well-crafted and drew moderate laughs from the audience, but his material was often clichéd. He stuck to topics that have been beaten to death by comedians, like vegans (what’s up with those people?), the struggles of being married (I can only have one beer!) and smartphone autocorrect (Don’t you HATE that?). While his material failed to break new ground, most of his jokes landed. His set was finely tuned and put together, but it felt pedestrian compared to Funches.

Despite Lauria’s shortcomings, the night was a success. Funches kept the crowd in stitches for the whole night, putting on one of the best performances I’ve seen him do. His lack of movement and muted delivery sometimes led to a bit of a lull, but he never lost control of the audience.

Ron Funches’ new special, “The Funches of Us,” is available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon now. 

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