Funnyman and actor Ron Funches takes the stage at the Outside Lands festival this weekend. While music is the main attraction, the Barbary Stage hosts a plethora of comedians. This year’s line-up includes veteran stand-up comic, Tig Notaro, and the renowned comedy houses The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade. Performing among them is our current favorite comic, Funches, who was kind enough to take some time to chat with us about his acting, his vices, and what he has in store for Golden Gate Park this weekend.
RF: No, I’m at home. I’m in LA.
WT: When do you plan on coming up here?
RF: Me and my son are gonna come up here Friday morning. He’s excited. He wants to see Kendrick Lamar.
WT: What two words would you describe your comedy as besides [the words you use on your website], “unique” and “lovable”?
RF: Oh, okay, besides “unique” and “lovable.” Uhhhh, I would say it’s weird…probably, and, ummm, what’s another word I would use? I like rhythm. There’s a very distinct rhythm to my jokes. So probably a weird rhythm. That’s fun. That’s fun to say.
Undateable co-stars, left to right: Ron Funches, Rick Glassman, Bridget Mendler, Brent Morin, Chris D’Elia, David Fynn, Bianca Kajlich.
RF: Yeah, its exciting. It’s gonna be bringing the best of what makes our show unique, which is kind of the fact that we are always improvising and messing around with each other. To just have a show be live will get people closest to what it’s like to be there, and we’ll get to see Brent [Morin] mess up and other people mess up, but not me, I’m gonna nail it.
WT: How have you guys prepared for the new season? Have you ran lines or anything?
RF: I’ve mostly just been eating sandwiches and relaxing. We haven’t even started preparing yet. We saw each other yesterday to do promo pictures and stuff. I think they’re mostly trying to figure out who they’re gonna get to be special guests now and get excited about that.
WT: Your first film you’ve appeared in is Get Hard, which came out this summer. You’re next film is Killing Hasselhoff. Can you tell us a little about that?
RF: Yeah, basically, you know how sometimes people have celebrity death pools, who they think will kick the bucket next. And it’s basically about a group of guys who take it one step further. One guy, the main character, played by Dr. Ken [Jeong] from Community, he very much needs that money because the pool has gone to a very substantial amount and he takes it upon himself to make sure that his celebrity, which is David Hasselhoff, kicks the bucket that year. Basically [it’s] his journey to try and kill David Hasselhoff, and so it gets a little weird.
WT: Have you guys started filming yet or are you guys in pre-production or post-[production]?
RF: Yeah, it’s all completed and it’s in post-production. [We’re] trying to finish it up and maybe erase Hulk Hogan from it.
WT: [Laughs.] I was told not to mention Hulk Hogan.
WT: So how is it now that you’re getting more film roles?
RF: I like it alot. It’s really exciting. It’s just like any new experience. I just shot a new fall thing where I play a transsexual prostitute with Bruce Willis, so that was pretty fun and interesting and I got to shave my legs, so that was a weird experience. I’m probably not gonna keep it, maybe for the summer, who knows. But yeah, I really like acting, it’s a lot of fun.
WT: You’ve been doing comedy for a while, but, before you were acting, you were a writer for Kroll Show. How does it feel that you’re on the opposite side [of the camera] now?
WT: I’m an aspiring comedy writer, but now that you tell me that you get free lunch if you’re an actor, I might switch careers now.
RF: Well, if I can persuade you either way, you know it’s just really what you’re feeling that’s for you and what’s more natural for you. It’s more natural for me to act. Writing for me has been more of a chore. It’s like pressing coals against diamonds, it’s a lot of work. Acting is a lot of work too. Auditions suck, so it’s really what you would rather do, go on auditions or, you know, sit in a room with a bunch of people pitching jokes all day. I’d rather be in auditions.
WT: Great advice.
WT: So this is your first year doing Outside Lands. What do you have planned for us? Are you doing new material, are you using your current setlist?
RF: I got some new material. I try to just mostly look at whatever’s going on [at the show]. I’ll probably check out some new music or whatever else I see going on there, people who are also on all the drugs that they are always on at those festivals, so I’ll probably just talk about that type of stuff and just try to have a really good time with my friends that will be there.
WT: Speaking of friends, are you friends with any of the comedians performing?
RF: [Giggles.] I’m friends with just about all of them. That’s the best part of doing this festival is just getting to hang out with people that I hang out with in town [Los Angeles], but in new places. It’s exciting. I’m trying to get lunch with Andy Kindler, but he’s ducking my lunch request.
WT: Besides Kendrick Lamar, who else are you and your son trying to see?
RF: Is it Elton John who’s there? I definitely want to see Elton John.
WT: I feel like you’re a big Mumford and Sons fan.
RF: [Laughs.] Thank you very much. I’m definitely gonna see Mumford and Sons. I think Billy Joel’s there, right? [Note: Joel performs at AT&T Park on Sep. 9th. More on that later.] I don’t remember, but I want to see Elton John for sure.
WT: He’s a national treasure. [Note: Not necessarily our national treasure.] So the stage you’re performing on is the Barbary Stage, which is named after the Barbary Coast, [a historic neighborhood] known for people’s vices. What are some of your vices?
RF: I like to smoke a lot of pot and I like butts a lot. Butts and pot. Those are my main vices.
WT: Do you have any favorite luxury items?
RF: Mmmm. Ooo, I like this Moroccan hair oil that I keep at my house all the time that makes your hair real shiny and soft. I recommend it. That’s about it. That’s the only luxury I keep in my house, that and Fiji water. I put Fiji water in my bong. That’s probably really pretentious.
WT: Super classy. I love it.
WT: So do you and your son have any plans in the Bay Area while you’re here?
RF: Chinese food!
WT: Any specific spots you want to hit up?
RF: No, I just want to make sure I get as much Chinese food as possible, and maybe some clam chowder. That’s it.
RF: I’m gonna go to Denver on the 21st and 22nd and record my album. My debut album. That’s exciting. Gettin’ rid of all the old material and move on to a new era, so that’s pretty much what I’m focusing on.
WT: We’ll definitely be looking forward to it.
RF: Please. Thank you.
WT: I hear you were born in California when you were a kid before moving to Chicago and Portland. Where were you born if you don’t mind me asking?
RF: I was born in Gardena.
WT: And how do you like living in LA right now?
RF: I love it. You can’t beat the weather. Again, I love the pot. It’s fun to be able to get access to that, and it’s really good. The ladies are beautiful and it’s just full of artistic people, some of which are full of [it], but some of them aren’t, and so its fun to figure out who’s who.
WT: Last couple questions and I’ll let you go. What’s your favorite current ignorant rap song?
RF: Oooooo. There’s a lot. Let’s see. There’s this one I really like. I’m gonna look through my phone so I can tell you for sure.
WT: No problem. [Cue: musique d’ascenseur.]
RF: Hello, I’m back. Do you know who Dej Loaf is? She’s a lady from Detroit and she has this song called “Back Up Off Me.” That’s my favorite ignorant rap song right now, because it just tells everyone to back up off you, and I feel like that’s fun to do if you just standing around and be like, “Hey, back up off me,” even if nobody’s really in your face. That’s my favorite one right now.
WT: Last question, which Green Lantern is the best?
RF: The black Green Lantern! [Laughs.]
WT: There’s another one. There’s two now.
RF: I know, but John Stewart [is] the original black Green Lantern and also the original John Stewart. [He’s] better than Jon Stewart from The Daily Show. I love that black Green Lantern. He’s the best. He’s my favorite. I think you already knew this.
WT: I just had to ask.