The Untold Truth Of Chopped 420 Host Ron Funches

"Chopped 420" is a unique and somewhat controversial spin on the Food Network's cooking competition franchise. Over the course of five episodes, four "cannabis chefs" will go head to head in creating the best cannabis- or CBD product-infused dishes. The winner will receive a $10,000 grand prize.

According to a press release from discovery+, all five episodes will be available to stream beginning on Tuesday, April 20 on discovery+. Judging the chefs' creations will be chefs Esther Choi, Luke Reyes, chef, and Sam Talbot, drag performer and cannabis activist Laganja Estranja, and comedian Tacarra Williams.

Hosting the show will be popular comedian and actor Ron Funches. Described as "razor-sharp yet soft and cuddly like a baby's blanket" (via The Comic's Lounge), Funches – who has had roles in NBC's "Undatable," ABC's "Black-ish," and Fox's "Bob's Burgers" (via IMDb) – often jokes about his marijuana use. In one of his standup bits, the self-deprecating comedian says, "I just got to get high and then mumble into a microphone. Did you realize that's a lucrative profession?" (via The Comic's Comic).

He definitely seems like the perfect host for the newest "Chopped." But, there's more to Funches than his on-screen comedy. Here are some interesting facts about this actor, comedian, husband, and dad.

Some people think his voice is fake

When Funches first began to gain fame as a comedian more than a decade ago, audiences were surprised by the soft, light, and lilting voice that came out of this big guy. On the podcast "Insight," host Chris Van Vleet asked Ron about his unique voice, and Funches revealed that some people think his speech is an affectation. His voice is quite real, however, and has been helpful in getting cartoon voice work (via YouTube).

On a more serious note, Funches shares that he was bullied as a kid for his voice. Today, he takes pride in having turn that experience on its head "to make money and to have a career" with that very way of speaking, he told The Atlanta Voice.

Vulture opines that Funches "has the best voice in comedy," but, surprisingly, like the rest of us, it makes him a little uncomfortable to listen to himself. He told Vulture: "It's the worst ... Everybody's always like 'I love your voice' and then I hear my voice back and I'm like, Uuughh I sound like a whiny child." He joked that he has to be careful with his delivery because after 15 minutes his sing-songy rhythm can make audiences sleepy. "It's like brainwashing," he said.

His favorite food is candy

A big kid at heart, Funches admits his favorite food is candy, especially gummy candies. "I always want ice cream and candy," he shared with the website Guy MacPherson in 2017. More diet-conscious now than he was a few years ago, he recently sent friend and actress Busy Philips a package of his favorite low-sugar gummy bears (via Twitter). 

Like the rest of us, Funches has a favorite movie snack. His is Raisinettes with popcorn (via The Sporkful). Another sweet treat Funches enjoys is Kix cereal with milk, topped with a dollop of Nutella. He also joked with the podcast about his fondness for cheesesteaks and midnight pizzas and told Conan O'Brien that he was a "junk food scientist," once mixing Burger King with McDonald's (via YouTube).

Speaking of fast food, we learned that Funches's favorite quick service meal is Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Ron recently appeared on an episode of "Fast Foodies" (via Youtubewhere he challenged the chefs to recreate the tasty sandwich.  

He experienced Hollywood body-shaming

In 2015, Funches drastically changed his eating and exercise habits, eventually dropping 140 pounds from his 360-pound frame (via "The Sporkful"). He's very honest about what drove him to lose weight, citing both his career and his health. In 2019, Funches told "The Sporkful" that casting directors held his weight against him, never seriously considering for any type of "leading man" parts, only homeless people, gang members, and other such roles. Tired of being the butt of jokes, he recalled the unhappiness he felt when, after having spent years on his comedy and acting skills, producers wanted him to just "take off his shirt and gyrate" (via Simplemost).

Concern about his health was another impetus behind the weight loss. Funches told "The Sporkful" host Dan Pashman that he realized he would die if he didn't change his ways. He said he was suffering from sleep apnea and other ailments, and his family was worried about him. In 2019, he said his typical meals were oatmeal with almond butter, lean meats, and vegetables. He said moderation wasn't his strong suit: "Anything I love I usually take to the hilt."

Ron Funches includes his special-needs son in his comedy

Ron Funches and his partner of several years and wife since 2020 Christina Dawn (via Facebook) are parents to a special-needs son, Malcolm, now in his late teens (via PopSugar). Ron has made some controversial jokes about his son's autism, comparing having a child with autism to taking care of your best friend "after they've done way too many 'shrooms while you, yourself, are on a moderate amount of 'shrooms" (via YouTube).

Funches also joked (via YouTube): "He has autism, which can be difficult. He's also a huge a**hole ... Some people don't like it when I call my 10-year-old disabled child an a**hole, to which I always respond: If you only use 30 words, and your three favorites are 'more pancakes, beyotch'... actually that's pretty cool."

Because kids with autism often have strong food preferences, as a toddler, Malcolm's regular breakfast was two Oreos and three slices of bacon in the shape of a smiley face. Funches observed on an episode of "The Sporkful" that Malcolm would have starved himself if not for Oreos and bacon, so fair game.

In a serious moment, Funches said he's privileged to have "been trusted to take care of a beautiful soul" (via YouTube). Affirmations are a big part of Funches's approach to parenthood. "I'd always tell him he was kind and smart and strong and a wonderful person and that he needed to go into the world feeling that way," he told Exclaim

Lucille Ball Inspired Him

The iconic and hilarious redhead Lucille Ball was a big influence on Ron Funches. In fact, a lot of women have inspired Funches. On the surface, Funches and Ball might not seem to have a lot in common, but Funches counts her among his showbiz heroes. Speaking to Straight, he said I Love Lucy was his introduction to the world of comedy. He added that her contribution to women in the field of show businesses was inspiring, particularly having her own production company and portraying an interracial couple in the 1950s. "She's just one of my biggest influences overall as a human being," Funches reflected.

Comedian Tig Notaro also helped Funches, particularly in getting comfortable with his comedic voice. The famously straight-faced, soft-spoken, and deadpan comedian taught Ron you don't have to be loud to command a room. He told Vulture that Notaro made him come to the realization: "Oh, I can be me ... I can just be my weird little self and I'll be fine."

Funches said he likes challenging gender perspectives. A mentor once noticed that women liked his jokes, and so Funches stopped thinking of other men as his audience. He said, "I end up with a lot of women who like my act, which I love, because usually they're smarter."

He loves wrestling but challenges masculine norms

In one of his funniest stand-up bits (via YouTube), Ron Funches throws shade at friends who "inform" him that the pro wrestling he enjoys watching is fake. "Well no s**t it's fake," he says. "What type of psychopath would I have to be if I wanted it to be real?" At one point Funches was so enamored with what he called "the pageantry and the fireworks" that he took wrestling classes. He joked with Conan O'Brien (via YouTube) that he considered a wrestling career because stand-up comedy was "getting a little too stable." He added that as a life-long wrestling fan, he said to himself, "Let me try it before I'm too old."

Wrestling aside, Funches challenges traditional masculine norms. He told Vulture he's a rare species of male comics who discusses his love for "The Great British Bake Off" and "RuPaul's Drag Race"Funches enjoys challenging people's perspectives on gender. He explained that growing up with a mother and sister as well as a close aunt and female cousin shaped him. Moreover, an abusive boyfriend of his mother's gave him an aversion to "dominant," "oppressive traits." Instead, he learned from his mother's brand of strength: the ability to survive difficult circumstances and emerge better. "That is what I want to play with in my comedy," he told Vulture. "What is really considered masculine and what should be. What type of man I want my son to be and what type of man I want to be."