You can never have enough Funches. We talk to Ron Funches a lot (like here and here) because he is both incredibly funny and one of the most likable people in the world today. If you’ve seen his stand-up, his sitcom Undateable, his appearances on @Midnight, or even his brief cameos in Get Hard, Selfie, Enlisted, Mulaney and who knows what else, you probably immediately fell in love with the man. He’s irresistible.
Just as irresistible is his new stand-up album, The Funches of Us, which is out today from Comedy Dynamics. If you play videogames you probably recognize that album cover. It’s an homage to The Last of Us, a pretty great game from a couple of years ago. Somebody who likes games enough to name his album after one obviously likes games a lot, so instead of just talking to Funches about his comedy again, or about the new album, I decided to interview him specifically about videogames. It felt right: I’m not just the comedy editor here, but the games editor, too. Like, there are four things I can talk about with some authority, and Funches hits three of the four (if you hate wrestling, don’t worry—our chat about PWG, Kenny Omega and Greensboro, North Carolina will have to run another day). I knew the videogame focus was a good call when Funches picked up the phone and told me he was in the middle of playing Fallout 4.
Paste: What do you think of Fallout 4??
Ron Funches: It’s Fallout. It’s Bethesda. They always make these crazy big worlds and sometimes they’re not necessarily that technically fun but they’re just so engrossing and you end up just doing your own thing. I’m in love with it so far. I don’t know if I love it as much as Fallout 3 but so far I’m into. It’s keeping me away from Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I’m mad about, because that game looks really good.
Paste: I’m surprised they released it the same week as Fallout. You’d think Fallout week would be a no-go zone for any other game.
RF: I know. I would think so. I wouldn’t put out another game when this one was coming out, but whatever. I’ll get to Tomb Raider eventually.
Paste: How far into Fallout 4 are you right now?
RF: Not that far. Just a couple of hours. I’m helping people build a settlement. And now I’m killing some raiders to tell people that the Minutemen are back. How far are you?
Paste: I reviewed it, so I finished it earlier this week.
RF: So you’re all done. What did you think of it? Does it get better? What’s going to happen? Don’t tell me what’s going to happen but did you love it or what?
Paste: I lived in Boston for a while and I really miss the city, so I love the environment and how they rebuilt so much of what I recognize from the city in the game.
RF: I’ve only been to Boston a couple times but I already think it’s very familiar. Cool, I’m glad you like it so much.
Paste: So why did you want to name your album after The Last of Us?
RF: I had a couple of different titles that I was kicking around. Some of them were kind of cheesy. The artist who did the work, Barry Blankenship, who mostly came up with the concept because we worked together a few times and every time we did it’s always been something videogame-centric or Muppet Babies type of thing. He was like “hey I have a great idea for a poster but I don’t know if you need it for anything.” He told me the idea, and Naughty Dog is my favorite developer, like I love Uncharted, I love The Last of Us, I love Crash Bandicoot—me and my son still play that. So when he told me idea I was like “well yep that’s it and that’s the name of my album and we’re going to go with that.” I love it because it’s a beautiful piece of art that I think makes people interested in the album and it tells people what I’m about without really revealing too much.
Paste: And I’m guessing that’s your son with you on the album cover?
RF: Yeah. That’s him. That’s Malcolm. And I love that.
Paste: Did you two play Last of Us together?
RF: Oh no, he’s not into anything scary. He was not into that. But I loved it. It’s one of my favorite games. I missed it on the PS3, actually, so I picked up the remaster. I love it. It’s beautiful, a great game.
Paste: So I’m not a parent. Do you think Last of Us speaks to you more because you are a parent?
RF: [laughs] Yeah, definitely, like the first ten, maybe fifteen minutes I was like “I don’t know if I want to play this!” When he loses his daughter, oh my God! I was like “no thank you!” But yeah I definitely wanted to protect and care for someone. It’s like the Telltale Walking Dead first season, with Lee. Those are things that definitely speak to me.
Paste: I thought it was amazing that the Walking Dead’s lead was a college professor from the University of Georgia.
RF: That’s one of the thing about having the online distribution. Not every lead character has to be a buff marine.
Paste: Do you mostly play on PS4?
RF: We have a little bit of everything. We don’t go too far back. But I have every current system and my son has the PS3 and 360 in his room from when we upgraded. We play everything. We’re not biased here.
Paste: What do you think about Nintendo? Do you have a Wii U?
RF: Yeah! We definitely have a Wii U. It gets pulled out whenever there’s a new great game coming out. We played a little bit of Yoshi’s Woolly World but that was a little too… he liked it, we did a little bit of co-op, but it faded out real quickly on it. He’s really into racing games so he’s playing the new Need for Speed mostly. But I like the Wii U. I’m exciting for Nintendo’s new system. If they’re actually going to mix the handheld and the console market, I’m exciting to see what they can do. I love Nintendo, I’ll never not love Nintendo. I want to play new Zeldas, basically.
Paste: Something I’ve noticed with my nieces and nephews and my friends’ children: the kids often aren’t as into Nintendo as their parents are. Do you find that with Malcolm?
RF: He’s not into the controller, I’ll tell you that. He’s definitely more into the standard Xbox or PlayStation controller. He likes a lot of the characters—he loves Amiibos, that’s for sure. He has a bunch of Amiibos. That’s one thing I love about my son—he’s just a gamer at heart, he loves everything. He’ll still play Pole Position, or just old things at an arcade. He just loves games. He’s not a graphics snob at all. I love him.
Paste: You mentioned Need for Speed—so Malcolm’s playing the new one right now?
RF: He’s playing the new Need for Speed and he’s playing the old Need for Speed. He’s playing Need for Speed: Pro Street on the 360. He mixes it up.
Paste: There are enough Need for Speeds that he’d never need to play another game his entire life.
RF: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I wish they’d bring out another Burnout. Or do they even make that series anymore? I miss Burnout.
Paste: I think the people that made Burnout now make Need for Speed, Criterion or something like that.
RF: Yeah, that is it. But it’s not the same. I miss crash mode and doing stuff like that.
Paste: So you’ve taken Malcolm to arcades before?
RF: We love going to arcades. That’s pretty much what we do on weekends. He loves anything racing. Anything that has a big car cabinet he can sit in. He loves Daytona USA. He’s all about just racing cars.
Paste: So he probably loves Dave & Buster’s.
RF: No! Because he’s a little bit of a snob! He doesn’t like the cellphone games. We’re both in agreement over that.
Paste: The arcades I’ve been to in Los Angeles are like those hip bar arcade style places, with DJs and you’re drinking a cocktail while you’re playing Galaxian or whatever. Do they have good old-fashioned all-ages arcades out there still?
RF: Yeah! There’s one, Neon Retro Arcade, that I go to, and you just pay for your time and go in and game it up. They don’t have drinking at all, just sodas and stuff. I hate it when—there’s a place where I used to live in Salem, Oregon where they have an arcade and at no point are kids even allowed. They serve alcohol the whole time. To me that’s ridiculous. I would be so mad if I was a ten-year-old kid. “I love videogames more than any adult and you’re going to tell me I can’t come in because you’re serving alcohol? You can go fuck yourself!” I’m sorry I said that. But I don’t care for that!
One of the best experiences I had lately was I got to take Malcolm to E3. I just love seeing all the signs that are like “no one under 18 allowed” and I’m just bringing a little kid over. That’s who E3 should be for, not some 30-year-old dudes like myself. I’m putting myself down. But that’s who it’s for, the kids.
Paste: Who was your E3 hook-up? Who got you in?
RF: Xbox. Kumail Nanjiani is big in the Xbox world and he introduced me to a couple of people and now they’ll send me random games. They sent me Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I still haven’t gotten to. They sent me Halo. And they sent me the Xbox, or I wouldn’t have had one yet. But don’t tell them that!
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.