Ron Funches’ laugh is infectious. It’s not how he usually reacts to his own jokes (which is good, because comedy), but when a titter does escape him, it’s hard not to giggle yourself.
He released his first comedy album, Funches of Us — which even includes his own audio commentary — late last year to critical acclaim. He’s graced hit shows such as Portlandia, New Girl, Bob’s Burgers, Drunk History, and others. He also plays Shelley on the NBC series Undateable.
Funches is funny, but he’s also wiser than he sometimes lets on. A video game fanatic, he described Fallout 4 to International Business Times thusly:
“It’s almost like life where you get dropped in and you’re completely overwhelmed and everybody is better than you and you just get killed over and over and over and then, eventually, you just kind of slow down and relax and go at your own pace and you’re like, ‘Man, this game is awesome!’”
Leafly sought out more kernels of wisdom during a conversation with Funches around cannabis, comedy, and, of course, video games.
Leafly: It’s tough to read any interview with you, or look at your Twitter or Instagram accounts, and not see something about video games. What are you playing these days?
Ron Funches: Right now I’ve been playing a lot of the UFC games. It’s very thrilling, and it’s fun to make your own character. I have a fun lady named Ronisha Funches who’s working her way through the UFC, beating up Ronda Rousey and things like that. That’s been pretty fun.
I’m in a lull right now. I’ve been going back and playing some old games and waiting for a game I really like called Uncharted. They’re doing a new Uncharted game, and I’m waiting for that to come out.
If you were going to suggest video games that pair well with cannabis, what would some of them be?
It’s just fun to play, like, Peggle. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Peggle? You shoot little dots, and there are unicorn farts, and— it’s like pachinko mixed with Bubble Bobble, I guess, in a way. It’s real fun to play when you’re stoned.
Most games are fun. I like Red Dead Redemption just to hang out and smoke pot.
Ooh! A really good game was Legend of Zelda, the one where he has the boat — Wind Waker — because he has to sail around for a while to get places. So you can just take a couple bong hits while you go from island to island.
I wish that had occurred to me. That part was always such a time suck.
Yeah, it was!
OK, so you’re doing bong rips while you travel between make-believe islands on an animated sailboat. Safe to say you’re a fan of cannabis?
Yeah, no, I like pot quite a bit and enjoy it very much.
And no need to blow smoke, but have you used Leafly before?
Yeah, I’m familiar with Leafly. I’ve definitely used it. It’s a pretty good thing so you could check out strains so you know what you’re getting. I use it if I’ve never heard of a strain before; I’ll go look it up and check it out.
Do you have favorite strains?
Yeah, of course! I like a good little classic Jack [Herer]. It’s just really classic. Let’s see, what else do I really like? I like a strain that’s more here in town called Mega Wellness. It’s like a place’s private strain. And I like Sour Diesel. I like Trainwreck. I like all different types.
So you’re not a strictly indica or sativa guy?
No, I like both. I like sativa for the day, indica for the eve!
I like variety, I like different flavors. I’m always trying different strains and checking them out. As long as they’re real strains, you can check it out on Leafly. I hate it when the places are just making names up, you know?
So you’re from Chicago, you grew up in Oregon, and now you live in Los Angeles. You have an unusual perspective. What’s cannabis like in those places, from your experience?
I know Portland’s changed quite a bit recently since they’ve gone straight legal. It’s always been pretty laid-back and lenient from my time there. And the quality? I would say that the quality in those three places has been the best for me in California, but that more people and more of my friends would smoke in Portland. Which seems weird; there are so many dispensaries down here.
Chicago also seems like a very popular, very good place to get stuff, but it was more low-key. The police there are more aggressive.
Last year you recorded your first hourlong album, Funches of Us, after almost a decade of telling jokes. Does it feel different at all to perform in a longer format, and with tape rolling?
It’s just fun. It’s a collection of jokes that I was telling, so it was nice to put them together and really polish ‘em up, then put them out and move on. It was great, the response I got from it. It ended up on a lot of different websites and magazines as one of the top comedy albums of the year. That’s the best that I could hope for. If people don’t have it, I recommend they go get my album, Funches of Us… which is also another video game reference.
Tell me about @midnight. I hear you have a pretty killer record.
It’s a show hosted by Chris Hardwick, just basically Twitter with a game show. I’ve won, like, 15 times, which I think is the most. Or tied for the most. Or at one time it was the most. Either way, I’m the best at it, is what I’m trying to say. It’s on Comedy Central at midnight.
Wikipedia tells me you got into comedy when you were 23, after a series of jobs you “weren’t suited for.” Can I ask what that means?
Sure! I worked at a bank for a while, and then I worked at a tax service as one of those Statues of Liberties that stand around. So that was fun. But no job was going to work for me besides comedy, really. So I’m glad that it’s working out and that people like my standup and some of my acting.
And since you’ve gotten into comedy, it seems like you’ve been all over the place: Conan, the movie Get Hard, the web series Getting Doug With High, a few movies, and a ton of TV shows. Most of us don’t live that life. Any stories worth telling?
Not really. It was just real fun to do, and they’re real cool people to hang out with. Everything you would think it was.
I did go to Justin Timberlake’s recording studio and do some stuff with him recently, and that was the coolest thing I ever did, and he’s very nice and he smells good.
What does he smell like?
He smells like the cologne that I can’t afford.