Ron Funches is funny, but I’ve always found his whole “white people love a black wimp” persona really grating. Maybe because it feels disingenuous? I don’t know the guy, so at this point I’m just shooting at bullshit. Still, I know the dude’s funny, it’s just that watching him always made me really… sad. I don’t really like performers who baby voice me. Tell me I’m bad; tell me I’m fucking scum. I’ve always said Lisa Lampanelli was our generation’s only good comedian.
There’s a wrestling theme to the special, Funches being a noted fan. Ric Flair cameos in the opening (one day we’ll stop starting stand-up specials with unnecessary sketches). Funches takes the stage in a smooth velvety looking Flair robe before presenting a very beautiful suit. Kudos to this man’s barber and stylist.
“A lot of dudes like bikinis, but I’m a winter coat motherfucker. Let me use my imagination!”
I was honestly scared to review this special, because I don’t trust approachable people, and that’s Ron’s whole thing. He’s a nice guy. He’s soft. He wants you to be comfortable watching him.
“Oh you know how niggas be. We was just gettin faded supporting each other spiritually and shit.”
Towards the beginning of the special, Funches begins describing a “vision board party” he had a few years ago. While the bit is aspirational and climaxes with an applause break about him achieving the goal of a new house for his family, the intro kind of bothered me? Far be it for me to criticize someone expressing their blackness, but one of the big jokes is basically “isn’t it wild how niggas can do vision boards too!?” and it feels antiquated and tap-dancey. What’s next? Black people eating kale?! Wild stuff.
Funches is super deliberate about his timing and presence, so material like that seems beneath him. Luckily, it’s the lowest point of an otherwise good set.
Another bit early on has him describing what he does compared to what other adults do, and I love it. Stand-up comedy is stupid, and comedians are lazy dumb losers. I’m not even generalizing—literally every comedian that has ever lived is a moron. It’s kind of nice to see someone finally admit this, even if just personally.
“I just kinda get high and then mumble into a microphone. Did you know that was a lucrative profession?”
This special isn’t trying to solve the world’s problems, and because of that Funches doesn’t look as stupid as a lot of comedians today. My dude isn’t waxing on about art and society and not understanding trans people, he’s just talking about watching Naked and Afraid while waiting for his kid to get home from school.
Someone in the crowd yells out “You look great, Ron!” allowing him to playfully segue into a bit about how he’s lost 140 pounds and counting, but his friends aren’t supporting anymore. It’s a cool play on the “fat guys are more fun” stereotype that we all know is 100% true. Nobody skinny is fun or has a good heart—I’m six feet tall and 140 pounds and I cannot smile.
“Now all you wanna do is eat oatmeal and workout…Ugh.”
I don’t want to recount the special bit by bit, and this review is long enough. Something started happening halfway through the special. Funches started digging more into his drastic weight loss, his belief in conspiracy theories, and his autistic son, and I found myself kinda loving the guy. Sure, he’s not going for the throat with every punchline, and I did go like a whole ten minutes in the middle without laughing once, but I never felt like I wasted my time. The autistic son stuff is the best part, and I wish we had just gotten there sooner and ended with it; the rest of this felt like something anyone else could’ve said. Nothing funny on TV should be longer than 30 minutes—I’ll say this in every review from here on out until I die.
“Eat shit, Daddy.”—Ron Funches’ autistic son with what should’ve been the name of this special, in my opinion.
I mean, yes, I am paid to write these, so I literally was earning money off of him, even if indirectly. It’s a fun enough watch, but I don’t think it’s for me. Giggle Fit is comfortable, but not super captivating, and it goes on too long. Like nearing the end, Funches spends a way too much time sucking off Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with jokes that basically amount to mid-2000s Chuck Norris facts, and it’s kind of boring, because we all love The Rock. Talk more about your compulsive exercising, your endearing son, about what makes you you. Because Ron Funches is at his best when he’s being Ron Funches.
Yusef Roach is Paste’s Assistant Comedy Editor and the cohost of the podcast Death is Imminent. He’s on Twitter @yusefroach.