JFL42 Reviews: Gettin' Better with Ron Funches and Seán Cullen

Filed under: Reviews, Festivals

Getting Better with Ron Funches

September 22, 2019 • 5:30 PM @ TIFF Bell Lighthouse

Conditions were perfect for the kind of mellow gold that only Ron Funches can deliver. The seats were comfy, my herbal tea quietly steeping in the cup holder, my hair being gently tussled by the air conditioning. I was ready for essentially what was a meditation session with jokes. I was not the only one who felt this. As I looked on either side of me, I saw people taking their sweaters and using them as lap blankets. Ron Funches has a brand.

Gettin' Better with Ron Funches

The guest was Ron's longtime friend Kate Berlant (a favourite -- please check her out). Kate opened up about feelings of guilt and burnout towards stand-up comedy this year. What happened next was Ron validating her as the perfect guest for this hour of affirmation, encouragement, and giggle fits.

It is at this moment that I want to take a second to thank my editor for giving me this assignment. I needed this. In a year that has mostly been working multiple jobs, still trying to perform, and dealing with various health issues, I needed to hear every word of this.

What I needed to hear:

  • Take stock of what you've already accomplished.
  • Have a healthy support network of friends.
  • Nobody sees how hard you work but you.
  • Take breaks to build your life experience.
  • Adrenal fatigue and Himalayan sea salt may or may not be a thing, but please remember to sleep.
  • Productivity is not necessarily correlated with quality or success.

I walked out of the theatre that day feeling rested, seen, and with a pocket full of free stickers. Ron Funches softly killed it and was very on brand.

Sean Cullen

Seán Cullen

September 23, 2019 • 7:00 PM • Comedy Bar

Seán Cullen is one of those rare Canadian performers who has fans across any age group. People were excited to shake his hand and give him a hug as he sauntered to the stage last night.

For followers of the comedian's long career, this was a decidedly deeper and more intimate evening. As a comedian who is well known for pure silly, he was refreshingly open about... himself, for the first time. Cullen bared his soul, speaking to struggles with loneliness, depression, and weight. But it's still Seán Cullen, so it took the form of a song called "Shit-storm", wearing ghost pants, and reflections on dating a raccoon. We were safe in his silly, even stopping to have a conversation with a criminal defense lawyer about the pros and cons of depression vs. homicide.

It was honest, and present, and felt just for us. Much like the conversation he and I had last week that you can listen to or download below. I am the king of segues...

JFL42 runs from September 19??"29, 2019 at multiple venues in Toronto. Individual tickets can be found at jfl42.com/choose-your-pass.

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When ShowbizMonkeys.com gets a chance to interview someone cool, then it falls to our long-running (and always insecure) Kinda Sorta Maybe Like a Podcast. With no discernible format besides a good conversation, we do get to check in with some really awesome folks, including some of the industry's top comedians, musicians, actors, and filmmakers.

Usually hosted by either Managing Editor Paul Little or stand-up comic Andrew Lizotte, other contributors to Kinda Sorta Maybe have included Matthew Ardill, J.D. Renaud, and Mark McLeod.

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Tags: JFL42, Ron Funches, Kate Berlant, Seán Cullen, Comedy Bar, stand-up, podcasts, Toronto

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