In August 2017, Ron Funches threw cookies and stole hearts at Turner Hall. In the roughly two years since that long-overdue stop in Milwaukee, the comedian and actor amassed tons of film and television credits, he put out a hilarious new Comedy Central special, he continued his amazing journey down the path to health and wellness, and he even came to town with Conan O’Brien to perform last fall. Sunday night, the incomparable comic returned to Turner Hall to take a few hundred folks on a fun and freewheeling ride with 45 minutes of affable and entertaining material about the Midwest, his mother and new live-in girlfriend, fatherhood, the softness of wallabies, and everything in between.
Before Funches took the stage, however, he treated the ballroom to enjoyable opening performances by two of his (in his own words) “weird” comedian friends and frequent openers. Blair Socci kicked things off with a short-but-sweet set about medium rare steak, her MMA fighter ex-boyfriend, growing up as the only girl in a supremely masculine family, and her staunch anti-Triscuit views before giving way to Gabe Dinger. Just as he did before Funches’ last appearance at Turner Hall, Dinger set the table in impressive fashion. His roughly 20-minute set landed quite well, as he delighted with jokes about the flaws in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, dating in your mid-30s, and the shame of having his “B.H.” waxed by his then-girlfriend. After Dinger departed, the well-prepped audience welcomed the guest of honor.
Sporting his ever-present grin and a letterman jacket, Funches wasted no time before injecting some localize flare into his performance when he listed the reasons he—a Chicago native—loves the Midwest: great fireworks and ice cream, waterslides, and “women clearly raised on dairy products.” Before venturing into his pre-written material, he also took a moment to wish Milwaukee a happy Giannis Day. “I’m really proud of Milwaukee to be so quick to learn an immigrant, black person’s name,” Funches said, punctuating it with his patented laugh.
From there, the already-captivated crowd was taken on a (mostly) innocent jaunt through Funches’ inimitable comic perspective. The journey touched on the comedian’s trip to Australia and the softness of certain native wildlife he encountered there. He talked about “Rogue Ubers,” the challenges and triumphs of raising his autistic teenage son, trying to get gifts from his Canadian girlfriend by making up American holidays, and not being paid for his cameo in one of the recent Fyre Festival documentaries.
Thankfully, a sizable portion of the well-crafted and wide-ranging set was devoted to jokes about trying to make his mom’s dream of sleeping with an NBA superstar come true. Out of respect for Ron’s upcoming shows, we won’t say much more than that. However, he did ask the audience to use the #LeBronPleaseFuckRonsMom hashtag to help make his dream for her a reality. When paired with his soft, innocent delivery, the uncharacteristically raunchy turn—from a comic who had just likened himself to “a Disney bear that teaches you about responsibility”—seemed to go over especially well.
Once a stranger to the city’s stages, Funches has now performed in Milwaukee in each of the last three years. Based on the response he received on Sunday night, there’s no shortage of people who’d love for an outing by him and his comic cronies to become an annual affair. Until next time, let’s get #LeBronPleaseFuckRonsMom trending, people.