Ron Funches is one of the fastest rising stars in comedy today. From his unforgettable appearances on @midnight with Chris Hardwick to his undeniable likability on Undateable, you can’t help but instantly become a fan of Funches upon discovery. A writer, a comedian, and now an actor, he also boasts the credits of Kroll Show, Get Hard, Bob’s Burgers, New Girl, Drunk History, and Portlandia.
We recently spent some time with Funches to discuss his new animated series from Dreamworks, Home: Adventures with Tip & OH which is based on the animated feature Home, C&C Music Factory, Killing Hasselhoff, and what he’s looking forward to video game-wise for the second half of 2016. Without further ado, The Laugh Button interview with Ron Funches.
Congrats on the brand new project from Dreamworks, the Home: Adventures of Tip and Oh. It’s very cool. You, once again, get to live the dream of being animated as a crazy character named Sharzod. Did you get to pick the name? Did you have any say?
No! I wish, I wish… I think they just, I don’t know how they picked that name. I don’t know where you get that name from, but I’m so happy that you get it. It’s so much fun to just be immortalized as a cartoon, and just live forever in an animated frame, get to be a sassy space alien lady and just yell and be sassy all the time. I mean, I don’t know what a better job could be.
Tell me about this character a little bit because you are playing a woman, if you will, or at least a female character. So, is this you kind of pulling your version of a Tyler Perry? Did you look to him for inspiration?
I would never say that, and you know that!
So tell us about Sharzod a little bit. You get to be sassy, but what’s the background here?
Realistically, it’s kind of just a big send-up of kind of the women I grew up around, my mom and my sister who aren’t necessarily as loud and sassy as Sharzod, but were very confident women, very in-your-face, and just happy about themselves, and that’s kind of what this character is about – a lady who’s very confident in her own body and is just going to get whatever she wants. And is sassy and loud and in-your-face. I think it’s a great character and I’m happy to play her.
Now, you and your own personal life, Ron, do you remember the first thing you were really sassy and loud about? That you just had all the confidence in the world and it was the first time you realized, “you know what, this is my jam and I’m going to make sure everybody knows.”
(laughs) Yeah, probably C&C Music Factory!
Oh, that’s a great one man, that’s great. So, did you have to sit down with their songs and really memorize the words and then you went to school and you made sure everybody knew in the lunchroom you were aces and you went top to bottom with it or what?
I don’t know if I was that confident as a kid, but as it came on I could definitely lip-sync to it and hit all the dance moves – that and ‘Whoop, There It Is.’
I love it! So, when you get ready to do your V.O. – you know, this is one of my favorite questions – what’s the atmosphere, what’s the aura, what does a Ron Funches wear in the V.O. booth? Do you like a certain smell in there? Do you hang up a poster for inspiration? Do you go in naked?
No, I just kind of go up. I wear my regular clothes, that’s the best part of the job, is you kind of come up, sometimes I just like to wear some shorts and hang out and I get loud and sassy in the booth and my hands are making all kinds of circular motions and it’s just… I get really into the character. They let me improvise a bit, but there’s no candles or anything. Sometimes there’s some bakery items.
What’s the pastry of choice for you, Ron? What’s your go-to?
I usually like, they make these little potato balls that are like these fried mashed potato balls that are stuffed with different meats and spices, that’s like my favorite. I’m more of a savory guy.
You like it for the flavor, right? Not the sweets, not the sweets.We’ve got to discuss your IMDb photo. I don’t know if you’re aware of what’s actually up there currently, but let’s just say it’s you in a feather boa.
That sounds about right!
…And a big @midnight belt around not only your waist, but the entire photo it seems. So, you spent quite some time on @midnight and you are also quite the champion at said showcase. Explain how fun that show is and what it’s like to sort of just riff on what’s going on in the world.
Yeah, it’s just a good place. I don’t really do that many topical jokes in my act, I’m more of a selfish performer, I just talk about me and what’s going on in my life. So it’s nice to have a place to just talk about what’s going on in the world and a showcase for your sense of humor but not necessarily for the jokes that you’re still developing, you know? You don’t really have to go on TV a bunch and burn through your material. You can just go up there and be funny in the moment and I always brought like two of my friends. It’s just a good showcase for a lot of comedians. I think it’s been – like Chelsea Lately has been like the best showcase for new comics so that people can learn about them and learn about their sense of humor and they can get new fans and it’s been real helpful on the road so I’ve been real appreciative to Chris and that whole show.
Between @midnight and of course Undateable, a nice light was being shown upon you. Would you say those two shows were the major turning points for you?
Undateable especially, and just doing that with @midnight a bunch of people were able to learn about my style of humor because, especially with Undateable they let me just kind of have ownership of that character and work on my own jokes and things of that nature. And Conan has always been a big supporter of me. He was the first person to put me on TV to do stand-up, and then they put me on panel, like a real movie star! So you know, I think it’s Conan and Undateable and @midnight, and the Kroll Show as well, Nick Kroll has been a big help for me, so I’d say those things.
Well, Ron you’re almost too damn likable! It’s not fair, the first time I met you was real briefly down at South by Southwest and before we even shook hands and said hello I thought to myself, ‘this guy’s already my best friend, and I forgot his birthday and I can’t remember what I got him last year and I’m gonna be in trouble and he’s gonna call me out on it?
You’re a bad friend!
We’ve got to talk about another project real quick, that’s coming up for you. It’s a movie called Killing Hasselhoff. And you’re in this movie with a bunch of awesome comedic stars. So what can you let the world know about Killing Hasselhoff?
Well, it’s a comedy. It’s where a bunch of dudes are basically kind of jerk-ish and we have a pool about which celebrities are gonna die. It stars Dr. Ken, Dr. Ken Jeong from Dr. Ken. And Rhys Darby, it’s just full of a lot of great comedians. We just… basically one of us kind of really needs that money and so they decided to make that death pool a reality and that David Hasselhoff needs to go. So it’s a little cavalcade of celebrities and movie stars and comedians, I think it’s gonna be really good, I’m excited for it to come out.
I’m very excited for it too, and I’m glad you’re a part of it. It sounds like it’s gonna be an awesome comedy. Well, before we go here Ron – and again, thank you for the time, we really appreciate it – are we gonna see Ron Funches as Sharzod from Dreamwork’s Home: Adventures of Tip and Oh doing a set of comedy on stage? Could we make this happen, could we have you go out as the character Sharzod and deliver, like, 20 minutes?
I mean, that’s going to have to be a whole new set, but we’ll see! We’ll see what happens; we’ll see how the show goes. If they want to take it out as a live show, I’m willing to go do it on ice, if they ask! I’ll put on some ice skates and we’ll do it that way.
Ron Funches doing Ron Funches on ice sounds amazing. Look, I’m not gonna question your skating abilities, I don’t know if that’s something you’ve done in the past, but on paper… already a home-run. I want that to happen. Now, the last thing before we go, Ron, you know – look, the stories out. You’re an avid gamer, right? You like to play video games. I mean, you can’t hide it. What are you most excited for coming up in the second half of 2016? Are there any games that you’re eyeballing? That you can’t wait to get your hands on?
Uh, I’m really excited for No Man’s Sky, for that coming out. I mean, it’s been a great year in games in general. I’ve been playing Inside, I don’t know if you’ve played that one but that’s great, from the people who made Limbo. I’m excited for No Man’s Sky a lot and then I’m just really hoping for a new Red Dead Redemption sometime soon because I’m playing the old one right now because I’m so addicted to that game. I mean, mostly just No Man’s Sky. I’m hoping that that’s really good.
So, it’s on tap. It’s like an IV drip for you, right? It’s like your IV drip.
Well, congrats again on the new Netflix series. It’s always a pleasure to not only talk to you but also just to hear your voice, and everybody’s gonna be able enjoy your voice in this new show, so congratulations on that and looking forward to everything else that you’re working on coming our way. We really appreciate what you do in the comedy universe and, you know, don’t ever stop. Promise us that, alright?
That’s why I started working out and stuff! So I can keep doing it for a long time!
That’s right! Congratulations on all the weight loss that’s been going on now, and I don’t know how far you’re gonna take it. Just don’t go to the point where you become two-dimensional, alright? Just at least keep yourself in that third dimension.
I always gotta be squeezable!
Be sure to check out Dreamworks: Home Adventures with Tip & OH premiering on Netflix July 29th. Here’s a look at Ron Funches’ character, Sharzod.