All good things, it seems, must eventually move to Hollywood: Ron Funches, one of Portland's best standup comics, is taking his talents to Los Angeles next month. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, the 29-year-old comedian relocated to Oregon to escape persecution for being "the only brother on the block into bumping Alanis Morrisette." Juxtaposing a disarmingly childlike demeanor with jokes about smoking weed and raising an autistic son, Funches reached a national audience last year via a successful appearance on Conan. His final local performance is Thursday, June 28 at Hollywood Theatre.
WW spoke to Funches about what he'll miss most about Portland, his wish for the local comedy scene, and what the inevitable Ron Funches sitcom will look like.
WW: What are the things you'll miss most about Portland?
Ron Funches: My friends for being kind and caring. The audiences for being intelligent and critical. And Big Ass Sandwiches for their big-ass sandwiches.
What are the things you'll miss the least about Portland and why?
Shows full of talented comedians with no audience. That's it.
What is your ultimate goal in moving to L.A.? How will you know, personally, that you've "made it"?
I just want to work in entertainment and L.A is where the jobs are. I will "make it" when people discuss if I was one of the greatest comics of all time. So that may take awhile.
Tell me about the experience of being on Conan.
It was a literal dream come true. I dreamed about it for years. It was amazing and I'm glad a lot of my friends got to share it with me. Conan is tall and majestic.
Of the time you spent doing comedy in Portland, what was the most significant moment for you?
There is no particular moment. Richard Bain praising me after one of my first sets stands out, as well as going shirtless at the first Bridgetown, but what I'll remember most is all the back-alley smoke chats with my friends.
What is your parting wish for the Portland comedy scene? In other words, if you return in two years, what do you hope has changed?
I hope people just recognize the rarity in creating a relevant scene and work hard to maintain it. Seattle had a boom as well and when the first wave left, the second wave wasn't ready to take their place. I want my friends to be ready to take my place.
Since you're going to L.A., give us a synopsis of the inevitable Ron Funches sitcom.
Extremely handsome nice guy tries to bend the world to his views. World fights back, so guy sleeps with tons of models. The end.
Ron Funches performs at Funny Over Everything at the Hollywood Theatre on Thursday, June 28. 9:30 pm. $10.