While many comedians have decided it’s their duty to make biting, cynical commentary about the all-consuming, never-ending bleak news cycles, stand-up comic Ron Funches is staying true to his positive outlook and brand of observational humor.
Best known for his ability to craft hilarious jokes on the spot on Comedy Central’s late-night competition “@Midnight,” Funches beats his competition and wins over the audience with a well-placed giggle and an unexpected zinger. His sweet demeanor and teddy-bear persona has also earned roles on sitcoms like “Undateable,” and recently canceled “Powerless.”
Yet, while there’s no doubt he’s a true talent, the comedian told amNewYork we shouldn’t expect him to make a political rant that will skyrocket his career like Samantha Bee or Hasan Minhaj. He’s going to keep finding success telling his own story, like his relationship with his son who has autism, when he comes to The Bell House in Brooklyn on June 8.
Sorry to hear about “Powerless.” What’s up next?
Right now I’m just kind of working on a couple of my own projects. I’m working on a cartoon that I pitched to a couple of places, and I’m working on my own sitcom. I’m writing about my son and I, and then doing a lot of stand-up and random shows on TV.
Tell me more about your sitcom idea.
It’s about my son and I — my son has autism — and it would be about raising him if I had never done comedy. It’s basically a buddy comedy, where my buddy is my best friend and he has autism. I’m writing it and pitching it out — it’ll be a while before anyone sees that. [It’s one of my] biggest goals to have my show with my son — not necessarily career-wise, or acting-wise, but when I go out on the road, a lot of the feedback I get is from people who have kids with autism or people who just have autism in their lives, and their stories are very interesting to me, and I just want to help spread that awareness.
Where would you like to see your career go?
I think my main goal, and I don’t care how it sounds to you, but I [tell myself], “You’re the new Billy Crystal, Jack Black — you’re weird!” People are going to be like, ‘Why is that a leading man?’ But it will work, because I’m sweet and I’m different and I’m lovely. Especially now that people are really hoping you’ll talk political things, but I don’t really do that. My comedy is more of an escape from regular day life, and sometimes people aren’t into it, but I get so much love from the comedians I grew up watching.
Who are your comedic influences that keep you on your track?
The same comedians that I always looked up to: Dave Chappelle, Tig Notaro, Bill Burr. There seems to be a top 10% or top 15% of comedians who just do their thing, no matter what and they don’t really go with the trends. And then the other 85% that follow the same path, and you start to hear the same kind of jokes, and right now those are Trump jokes. I want to be like that 15%, even if it’s not fashionable, I want to be myself.
How do you like doing stand-up in New York?
I like it for a multitude of reasons. In general New York is New York . . . It’s truly a worldly city, so when I do shows there, it’s nice to get feedback from people from everywhere, who happen to be in New York at the time. And, sometimes you guys can definitely be a little bit meaner, than West Coast shows normally. I don’t love it, but I respect it and I enjoy the challenge of it.
If you go: Ron Funches is at The Bell House on June 8 at 7:30 p.m., 149 Seventh St., Gowanus, thebellhouseny.com, sold out