Read the original review on www.pastemagazine.com.
Yusef Roach wants us to know he thinks Ron Funches is funny, so he tells us exactly that twice in the first paragraph. But the thing is, he says "Ron Funches is funny" the way other people say "I'm not racist": you can feel the "but" coming like the rumble of an approaching train. He finds Funches funny, but his persona is grating and it makes him sad. That's a hell of a but. That's a but that goes to the gym and never skips leg day. That but is thicc as hell. And Roach is just getting warmed up.
I don’t really like performers who baby voice me. Tell me I’m bad; tell me I’m fucking scum. I’ve always said Lisa Lampanelli was our generation’s only good comedian.
Man that escalates quickly, and it's still only the first paragraph. The baby voice thing is potentially valid criticism, or at least a valid statement of bias, but it reads entirely differently considering what comes next. As a reader of a stand-up comedy review I do not need to hear about the reviewer's kinks. I don't really even need to think of the reviewer as a sexual being. Although, if he wants to be told he's bad, it might explain why this entire review is so scummy. The further we get into this review, the clearer it becomes that it isn't about Funches or his special at all. I've seen bad reviewing take many forms, but masochistic grovelling for punishment is a new one. If he gets gratification from being publicly humiliated, he must've spent the whole weekend reading his @s one-handed.
Finally, we get to the coup de grass, that Lisa Lampanelli was "our generation’s only good comedian." Not best, only. Good Christ man, I'm gonna need you to take about 20 percent off there. That kind of hyperbole is usually only vomited out by sports commentators and Apple devotees. Nothing against Lampanelli, she's great at what she does, but it has no relevance here. Even taken at face value, all this statement does is further disqualify his opinion. Man Who Only Likes One Comedian Reviews a Different Comedian and Doesn't Like It. Well blow me the fuck down, what eagle-eyed sentry could've seen that coming?
He then goes on to describe the intro to the special, commenting that "one day we’ll stop starting stand-up specials with unnecessary sketches." Which I kind of agree with, Rory Scovel's megalomaniacal fantasy sequence is the only intro sketch that I can even remember. But then it's back to Yusef Roach's weird ideas about comedy.
I was honestly scared to review this special, because I don’t trust approachable people, and that’s Ron’s whole thing. He’s a nice guy. He’s soft. He wants you to be comfortable watching him.
Y'know, if he'd just started with this and written a normal review without all the weird personal crap, we could accept that he's not in Funches' target demographic but is trying to be impartial. Maybe one day we’ll stop starting stand-up special reviews with unnecessary polemics. But that day is not today, and Roach is not trying to be impartial. Quite the opposite.
Stand-up comedy is stupid, and comedians are lazy dumb losers. I’m not even generalizing—literally every comedian that has ever lived is a moron.
Is this a bit? Is this more masochism? Who is he really talking about here? Because saying comedians are morons is the opposite of true. There's science. This is so dumb, it feels like a trap. Am I being trolled? There are a lot of justifiable criticisms of standup comedians: they're immature, narcissistic and have untreated mental illness. Stupid is not one of them. In fact, comedians' above average intelligence, and how our society reacts to it, might explain the other stuff. So calling all comedians "lazy dumb losers" can only be read as IMAX-level projecting.
Something started happening about halfway through the review, and Roach started to come around. He still didn't like it, but he did have to grudgingly give credit. How grudging? Well.
Nothing funny on TV should be longer than 30 minutes—I’ll say this in every review from here on out until I die.
This is something he's said in other reviews, so he's not kidding about repeating it ad nauseam despite how little anyone might care. You could be forgiven for assuming a comedy editor would be prepared to watch a lot of comedy, and might even consider that a perk, but in this case his job seems to mostly consist of cataloguing his retweets for the week. For somebody who both performs and writes about it, Roach seems awfully put out by having to actually watch comedy. And by saying this, he entirely undercuts himself when he later says the special went on too long. Of course he thinks that, he thinks every hour special is too long. So who the fuck cares? Most fans want at least an hour from their favourite comedian. Stewart Lee's last special was two hours, which might be enough to give Roach an aneurysm, and I didn't hear anyone complain. Like his deification of Lampanelli, this blanket statement accomplishes nothing other than to underscore that his opinion has no relevance beyond himself.
"Eat shit, Daddy."—Ron Funches’ autistic son with what should’ve been the name of this special, in my opinion.
Man, who the fuck cares? We get it, you don't like the way Funches does comedy. But his way got him an hour special and yours got you a job reviewing it, so maybe shut the fuck up about what he should've done differently.
Every sentence in this review is predicated on the assumption that we should give a shit what Roach thinks, and I just don't. Why would I? "The intro kind of bothered me." Who cares? "I wish we had just gotten there sooner and ended with it" Who cares? "I don’t think it’s for me." For real, who the fuck cares?
This entire literary kidney stone doesn't even feel like a review, and it's entirely possible that's because it isn't. Here's what I think happened: Roach's boss told him to review Funches' special. He didn't want to, and so like a petulant child he wrote a Livejournal post about how mad he was about having to do his job, with just enough of the familiar trappings of a review that it wouldn't get spiked and he'd still get paid. And I get it, I've had jobs I hate, but if you're gonna self-immolate then whole-ass it. Either write something bad enough to get yourself fired or else do your fucking job.
Talk more about which bits really worked, what the audience connected to, about what makes Ron Funches Ron Funches. Because Yusef Roach is at his best when he’s not talking about Yusef Roach.