The headlines these days often seem dire, from natural disasters to mass shootings.
But for comedian Ron Funches, having a positive attitude comes easily.
“I just kind of see the positive aspects in most things, and that’s kind of how my comedy is created,” says Funches, on the phone from his Los Angeles hometown.
Funches is known for both his laid-back, stoner wit and usually sunny demeanor. This combination has gotten him TV gigs on the short-lived sitcoms “Undateable” and “Powerless,” as well as appearances on “Conan,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and the now-defunct Comedy Central game show “@midnight,” where he was a constant regular.
He says he’s always had a knack for being upbeat, even when he was growing up on the rough streets of Chicago’s South Side. And when he moved to Portland to pursue stand-up, he slid that positivity right into his act.
“It’s usually me trying to mine the positive and the good out of bad situations, and that is exactly what I try to bring,” he says. “I don’t really do a lot of political material. I don’t really do a lot of aggressive things. You won’t come to my shows and see me be aggressively mean to women or anyone really. I just like to talk about what I like and what I love, and focus on that.”
Lately, Funches has been keeping both his body and mind in tip-top shape. He used to weigh 360 pounds, until he started working out and eating right. Now, he’s down to 230. (“That’s up from 225, so I’m mad!” he jokes.)
Last month on Twitter, he took part in what he called “Sober October,” where he gave up smoking marijuana for 31 days. (When he resumed smoking on Nov. 1, he found that “a little bit really goes a long way for him now.”)
He started losing weight as his knees started to hurt and he wasn’t as active as he wanted to be.
“I didn’t like it,” he says. “And my mom mentioned it and it just kind of woke me up. So I just kind of was like, oh, I’m wasting a lot of my blessings now, you know, being able to act on TV and all these other positive things that happened to me that I never thought about. And I was like, well, let me see: If I focus on my health and try to live a lot longer, let me see how many different things I can do.”
There’s another reason why he’s in such good shape: He’s training to become a professional wrestler. Funches, a pro-wrestling enthusiast, says he’ll be attending wrestling school in January, in preparation for some matches he already has lined up.
“I’ve really only had two passions that I wanted to pursue,” he says. “At a very early age, I knew I wanted to get into comedy at about four or five years old. And, then, the only other thing I was interested in was pro wrestling. … I didn’t think either was possible, and I found out that comedy was. And, now, I’m gonna try the other one – you know, until I get hurt.”
If the wrestling thing doesn’t pan out, he has projects in Hollywood. He recently shot guest spots for “Black-ish,” “The Goldbergs” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He’s also developing a show with Seth Rogen and his production company based on Funches’ life as a single father with an autistic, teenage son.
And, of course, he continues to hit the road doing stand-up. He’ll be doing shows this weekend at Goodnights. So, if life is giving you too dang much, Funches is here to take the load off.
“I kind of consider myself, like, a little break, a little oasis from the things that are going on in the world,” he says. “So if you are fed up and you’re sick of hearing about it, then my show is probably a good place to come visit.”
Who: Ron Funches
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10-Sunday, Nov. 12; 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Where: Goodnights and Factory Restaurant, 861 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
Cost: $25; $22 Sunday
Details: 919-828-5233; goodnightscomedy.com